We all knew it was coming. Jameis Winston had done everything this season except lead the Bucs on a game-winning touchdown late in the 4th quarter of a game.
Why not wait until the most important game to do it?
With about seven minutes to go, and the Bucs down 19-16, Winston was ready to lead his offense and his team to a win...not a tie.
“For you that know him, it’s not like we are totally surprised that he would come through with a big play like that," Lovie Smith said of Winston's miraculous 3rd and 19 run. "He seems to surprise us daily with some of the things he can do. In times like that we needed one of our best players to step up and make a big play. He did it.”
For the past several years, I have been very critical of the overall makeup of the Bucs roster, and most importantly, its leadership. As a fan sitting in the stands, it was so apparent to me that I cared way more about whether the Bucs won or lost than the players on the field did. That time is over.
Jameis Winston wasn't interested in kicking a field goal on that final drive. He wanted a touchdown. He needed a touchdown. He knew he was going to get a touchdown.
“This is the story that everybody needs to talk about," winston said. "I go into the huddle – after that long drive, guys are tired – I said, ‘Who wants a touchdown?’ I smiled and said, ‘Who wants a touchdown?’ Mike said, ‘Me, me me!’ [laughter]. I said, ‘All right.’ And that’s the honest to God truth. That’s what literally happened. I said, ‘Who wants the touchdown?’ I wish the center was mic’d up, but Mike said, ‘Me, me, me!’ There were a couple other guys who said, ‘Me,’ too, but Mike was like a kid – ‘Me, me, me!’ – and I got him the ball.”
The Bucs would go on to win the game and keep their playoff hopes alive, but, more importantly, Jameis Winston became the guy. Winston entered the class of Derrick Brooks, Mike Alstott, Warren Sapp, and others who lived each day to win a game. Winston is just on a different level than any other player on the field when it comes to his overall will to win a game. It's a characteristic that only a few of the very elite carry. It's a characteristic that helps someone like Tom Brady win four Super Bowls and three Super Bowl MVP awards. It's a true desire to win.
“That’s all that matters to Tom is winning and that’s what we get from Jameis," Logan Mankins said after being in huddles with both Brady and Winston. "He just wants to win whether it’s handing it off or him scrambling or him throwing a touchdown pass to win, whatever it takes to win he’s going to do it.”
Sunday was a nice welcome for Bucs fans into relevant football in December. It had been a LONG time.
"When guys want it, when guys are out there, fighting and battling together, that’s what we’re here for. That’s what we play football for. That’s what y’all come to see," Winston said.
You better get used to seeing it because as long as Jameis Winston is the leader of our organization, he will find a way.