The Buccaneers’ Jameis Winston does everything big. After all, he led the NFL in both throwing yards and interceptions during the 2019 season. Although he’s been in the NFL for some time, he has a little fine-tuning to do before he can be called a reliable quarterback.
In one game against the Texans, Winston surpassed legendary quarterback Peyton Manning for an NFL record. This “achievement,” however, is not one he’ll want to boast about.
Jameis Winston’s season
Winston’s 2019 campaign was one of the most bizarre seasons an NFL quarterback has experienced. He showed an ability to take risks and get the ball down the field; he also showed a reckless streak that made it hard for fans to know what will happen at the other end of a throw.
In some ways, Bruce Arians brought out the best Winston we’ve seen so far. He threw 33 touchdowns — five more than his prior career-high — and made them productive, with 243 first downs on the season. In all, Winston threw for 319 yards a game. He has arm strength like few other quarterbacks, but his accuracy is another story.
Despite throwing 626 passes on the season, Winston still only completed 60.7%, the worst since his rookie season. As far as interceptions, it’s hard to discount a 30-touchdown season, but Winston also threw for 30 interceptions.
The Buccaneers finished with a sub-part 7-9 record, and Winston showed he is still just as likely to disappoint as he is to amaze. With his final interception of the season, however, he gave detractors a field day.
What was Jameis Winston’s record?
As The Ringer points out, the Buccaneers were tied with the Falcons in overtime on December 29, 2019. Winston threw the ball across the field to Falcons linebacker Deion Jones, who returned it for a Falcons touchdown to win the game.
It was Winston’s seventh pick-six of the season, planting him as the sole owner of the record. He landed directly ahead of the former record-holder, Peyton Manning, who had six pick-sixes in one season.
Had the team stopped Jones or Winston merely missed the pass, he could’ve tied with one of the greats, but this ending to his season seems oddly perfect. Winston, for all his strengths, is too much of a wild card. If there’s one thing he can learn, it is that his career is still young. It is not too early to make a change.
Manning’s lesson on pick-sixes
Manning set his pick-six record in 2001 when he was still getting his feet in the NFL. Several good players have records they won’t brag about, and Manning has done more than enough to help people forget this dubious honor.
In his fourth season when he broke the record, Manning had seen a mixed bag when it came to success. He won jut three games as a rookie before having two winning seasons. That fourth season was a step back.
Manning’s touchdowns were down and his interceptions were up. He wasn’t yet throwing for the accuracy he later displayed. Winston may be the target of jokes, but he is in a similar boat. He hasn’t seen Manning’s success, of course, but he’s shown some promise.
If Winston can use this season as a learning experience, it could be a crossroads for him. If he doesn’t, however, it could be seen as an inflated season that showed all of the negatives that could keep Winston from ever reaching his star potential.