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Winston has mixed debut for Bucs


Jameis Winston produced mixed results at best in his first NFL action for Tampa Bay, and Teddy Bridgewater had Minnesota’s passing attack in prime form to spark the Vikings in a 26-16 exhibition victory over the Buccaneers on Saturday night.

Winston, the first pick in the draft out of Florida State, played the whole first half and finished 9-for-19 for 131 yards. One errant pass was intercepted by Antone Exum, and he mishandled two snaps that led to a total of 19 lost yards and threw several passes well off target.

The majority of Winston’s completions came in the second quarter with backup in on defense for the Vikings. The brighter side for Winston and the Buccaneers included a 40-yard completion to Vincent Jackson with Vikings rookie cornerback Trae Waynes in coverage and an 8-yard touchdown run after the pocket collapsed around him on third down.

Bridgewater went 7-for-8 for 86 yards and backup Shaun Hill finished 8-for-9 for 104 yards and touchdown passes to Cordarrelle Patterson and Adam Thielen, and seven Vikings receivers had two catches apiece in the first half.

Winston had his moments on the field, for sure, with Louis Murphy catching four of his passes for 54 yards. Winston showed the most polish at the podium afterward, smiling through most of his news conference and speaking like a well-trained veteran.

“It was preseason so it was kind of low intensity, but it was good to get one under your belt,” Winston said, adding: “Of course, I had butterflies, but that’s just because I wanted to do the right thing.”

Mike Evans was the intended receiver on the interception, and he was tangled up with Captain Munnerlyn right before the ball arrived, out of reach of Evans and into the hands of Exum.

Winston refused to complain about a potential non-call, though.

“My job is to protect the football. In that case I threw it to the wrong guy,” he said.