Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has an impressive group of pass catches to spread the ball around to including wide receivers Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Chris Godwin and tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. He has thrown for 760 yards in his two starts this season, but has thrown 2 interceptions in each game, including when he relieved Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 4. The Bengals came into this season with the goal of creating more turnovers defensively. This game gives them a great opportunity to do just that.
Late in the 4th quarter of their game against the Chicago Bears, Winston tries to complete a pass to Brate in the season. Bears safety Deon Bush is over the top of Brate so Winston can’t lead the tight end. He fails to see linebacker Aaron Lynch in the throwing lane and it results in an interception. The Bengals linebackers will have similar opportunities and must get good pass drops underneath routes.
Right in Winston's throwing lane pic.twitter.com/wZmXkKVvbd— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) October 25, 2018
Here Winston wants to get the ball to Godwin on a crossing route. Cleveland Browns linebacker Jamie Collins is up on the line of scrimmage and runs with Tampa Bay running back Ronald Jones as he gets into a route. This puts him right underneath Godwin’s route. Winston never sees him and throws an interception. This is a fortuitous situation for the Browns’ defense, but one they take advantage of. If the Bengals’ defense gets an opportunity like this, they must capitalize.
In the second quarter, Jackson is running up the numbers with Falcons cornerback Robert Alford trailing. Winston attempts to make the throw completion, but does not account for safety Damontae Kazee who brakes on the ball and makes the interception. If you look at Winston’s head you’ll notice he is initially looking to the right, but pretty quickly turns to the left and fixates on Jackson. Bengals free safety Jessie Bates will have similar turnover opportunities if he reads and reacts to Winston.
Here in the red zone, Winston seems to have decided pre-snap where he wanted to go with the ball. He tries to zip it in to Godwin who is tightly covered by linebacker Duke Riley. The ball ricochets off Riley and is intercepted by cornerback Brian Poole. This is another bad decision by Winston who seems to lock on to one receiver.
On this next play, Browns safety Briean Boddy-Calhoun gets wide and Howard is wide open in the seam to the top of the screen. If Winston puts some air on this ball and hits Howard in stride it may even be a touchdown. Winston however throws it behind Howard where linebacker Christian Kirksey is sitting in the passing lane. Kirksey makes this interception in what could have been a big play for the Buccaneers.
OJ Howard is wide open here... pic.twitter.com/SQLabxhcDQ— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) October 25, 2018
Winston decides before the snap where he wants to go with the ball. He does not read the defense well after the snap and does not use his eyes to manipulate defensive backs or even see linebackers sitting in his passing lanes. The Bengals will have opportunities at interceptions in this game. When these opportunities arise, they must make a play. They cannot afford to have dropped picks.