ATLANTA — Jameis Winston’s four-touchdown game looked big in the statistics.
Winston said credit belonged to big plays made by his teammates, including running back Charles Sims III and wide receiver Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The two backups flashed their athleticism on highlight-worthy touchdowns in Tampa Bay’s 31-24 win over Atlanta on Sunday.
The Falcons led 13-10 late in the first half when Winston checked down to Sims on a play from the Atlanta 23.
Sims did all the rest. The third-year back made a cut that caused two Falcons defenders to crash into each other. He slipped away from attempted tackles by defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux and safety Ricardo Allen. After breaking Allen’s tackle, the spinning Sims kept his feet and scored.
“It just shows you when you’ve got guys who actually do that running stuff for a living and give them the ball, good things can happen,” Winston said.
The touchdown gave Tampa Bay a 17-13 lead they would not lose and momentum that carried into the second half. It was the start of 21 unanswered points by the Buccaneers.
“What a run by Charles,” said Bucs coach Dirk Koetter, the former Falcons offensive coordinator who received a game ball from Winston after winning in his debut. “He must have broken four tackles.”
Sims said he had no idea how many tackles he broke.
“I was just in the moment,” Sims said. “I just wanted a touchdown. That was all that was on my mind.”
Another dynamic play by Seferian-Jenkins helped the Buccaneers stretch the lead on their first drive of the second half.
Seferian-Jenkins (6-5, 262) beat linebacker Sean Weatherspoon as he took advantage of his big frame to reach for Winston’s 30-yard touchdown pass.
Winston said to expect more big plays from the tight end.
“When you’ve got a guy like 87 who can run the way he can run, as big as he is, that’s what we’re expecting all the time,” Winston said.
Seferian-Jenkins said Winston told him exactly how the play would develop.
“He told me what’s going to happen before it happened,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “All I have to do is my part and I don’t have to think and I’m not here to think. I just play. He does the thinking, tells me what’s going to happen and told me how to go get it.”
Seferian-Jenkins said Winston is the league’s “best quarterback and I’m happy to have him.”
Winston overcame a slow start. He overthrew Mike Evans for what would have been a touchdown pass on the Buccaneers’ first possession. Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant slipped on the play.
Trufant made up for his slip by intercepting a pass from Winston later in the opening quarter.
Asked how he regrouped from the slow start, Winston said “I think it’s just I’ve got tremendous faith in my teammates to help me.”
Winston completed 23 of 33 passes for 281 yards with four touchdowns — the second-most of his career.
“It’s not often that you have young guys like him with that kind of poise at such an important position with all the eyes on him,” said Tampa Bay center Joe Hawley. “He really shows a lot of poise for such a young player.”