Jameis Winston knew his 2019 season was going to be a big deal for himself and his future with the team. The Buccaneers had just elected to pick up his fifth year option, and the team was now under the tutelage of head coach Bruce Arians. If Coach Arians’ history has taught us anything, Winston was in for a huge 2019 under Arians’ offensive vision.
The fanbase was ready to throw in the towel on Winston early on in the season. The turnovers were coming at a rapid rate while the losses started to pile up. The team was looking as if they might finish with a worse record than the two previous years. Then everything started to click, not just on offense, but on defense as well.
The Buccaneers defense started making plays, the kicker was making kicks and most importantly the quarterback started to settle into the new system. The ship appeared to be heading in the right direction.
After settling in, Winston started to show the talent that led to him being a first overall draft pick. While the team was on a 4-game win streak, Winston was putting up numbers not seen in a Buccaneers offense before, and he hasn’t slowed down. Not to mention breaking his own franchise records while making NFL history.
Winston’s back to back 450-yard games put him on pace to join some elite company. Coming in at 4,573 yards with two games left is outstanding and already a franchise record in a season by a quarterback. Realizing he is only 427 yards away from 5,000 on the season is phenomenal for any quarterback. Then you start to do the math, you average his yards per game and see that Winston is on pace to hit 5,226 yards for the season. That’s a huge number, one that would put Winston in elite company.
Just to compare Winston’s 2019 yards to others, here’s a list of the top 5 passing yardage performances in league history:
1. Peyton Manning, 5,477 yards (2013)
2. Drew Brees, 5,476 yards (2011)
3. Tom Brady, 5,235 yards (2011)
4. Drew Brees, 5,208 yards (2016)
5. Drew Brees, 5,117 yards (2012)
Winston’s current pace (5,226) would put him fourth on this list. That is definitely elite company to be with. Especially when you factor in all those quarterbacks put those numbers up after their 32nd birthday. Look at that prior sentence again.
The question that needs to be asked is can Winston keep this pace up without the use of his 2 best receivers in Pro Bowlers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin? The good news is the Texans have the 28th ranked pass defense surrendering nearly 270 yards per game. We all get to see Saturday at 1 pm if Winston can take a cast of relative unknowns and not only march his team to its 8th win but put his name amongst the elite quarterbacks of the modern era. Remember back in 2016 and 2017? Who was catching passes from Winston then?
Photo credit: Tampa Bay Times