Winston tosses 5 TD passes, Buccaneers beat Eagles 45-17
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jameis Winston and Doug Martin have put the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoff hunt a year after they were 2-14.
Winston tied a rookie record with five touchdown passes, Martin ran for 235 yards and the Buccaneers beat the Philadelphia Eagles 45-17 on Sunday.
The Buccaneers (5-5) have won two straight games for the first time since 2013. They’re only one game behind Atlanta for the second wild-card spot and already beat the Falcons once.
“We’re relevant again,” Bucs coach Lovie Smith said.
Winston completed 19 of 29 passes for 246 yards and had four of his TD passes in the first half to four different receivers. He tied Matthew Stafford’s rookie mark in the third quarter on an 8-yard toss to Cameron Brate, the fifth receiver to catch a TD. Winston kept that drive going by smartly throwing an incomplete pass with his left hand on second-and-16 to avoid a sack.
“We are watching a young quarterback grow before our eyes,” Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans said.
Martin had 177 yards in the first half, including runs of 84 and 58 yards. He finished 2 yards short of tying Barry Sanders’ record for most without a TD. Sanders had 237 for the Lions against Tampa in 1994.
Tampa set a franchise record with 283 yards rushing and its 521 total yards were second-most in franchise history in the regular season.
The Eagles (4-6) have lost two in a row, but are only one game behind the New York Giants (5-5) in the mediocre NFC East.
Mark Sanchez threw a pair of TD passes and three interceptions in his first start replacing injured Sam Bradford, but Chip Kelly’s offense couldn’t keep up with Winston and the Buccaneers.
“We didn’t play well in any facet of the game and there’s no excuse for that,” said Kelly, whose team has a short week and plays Thanksgiving Day at Detroit.
Here’s some things we learned in Tampa’s rout over Philadelphia:
MOVING THE CHAINS: Winston and the Buccaneers were outstanding on third downs, converting 9 of 12 while building a 35-14 lead. Winston’s last three TD passes came on third downs. The Bucs finished 10 for 16 on third downs and 1 for 1 on fourth.
NOT ON SAME PAGE: Sanchez and Darren Sproles yelled at each other after Lavonte David’s pick-6 late in the fourth quarter, a fitting end to a frustrating day for the Eagles. Sanchez threw his hands up and shouted at Sproles because he stopped his pattern short. “We got that cleared up quick,” Sanchez said. “We’re all good. He’s a total pro and he’s a great player.”
DOUGIE FRESH: Martin reached 240 yards rushing, but lost yards on two carries in his final series. Martin joins O.J. Simpson and Corey Dillon as the only RBs with two games with 235 yards. Martin had 251 vs. Oakland in his rookie season. His 84-yard run was longest in franchise history. “Everything was clicking,” Martin said.
PATHETIC DEFENSE: The Eagles had the second-best run defense going into Week 7 at Carolina, but James Stewart, Darren McFadden and Martin have each big games against them in the past month. They couldn’t make a third-down stop, missed tackles, had sloppy penalties and made a 21-year-old rookie QB look like Tom Brady. “It’s just embarrassment,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “To come out and play in the fashion that we did is just unacceptable.”
SPLASH PLAYS: David had two of Tampa’s three interceptions, Gerald McCoy had two sacks and the defense held down Philadelphia’s offense after a rough start.
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