Jameis Winston becomes founding member of 30/30 club

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

It almost didn’t happen, but the football gods gave us the two Jameis Winston interceptions for him to become the founding member of the 30/30 club.

In a game that few people outside of the Southeastern United States had any reason to care about, everyone who believes they’re a football junkie knew what was on the line when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon. With 31 touchdowns and 28 interceptions on the year, Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston had a shot at going 30/30.

Throwing 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in a season had never happened in NFL history before. Winston’s 2019 NFL campaign has been a wild ride, to say the least. His new head coach Bruce Arians has unleashed Winston so that he can let it rip as often as he would like. On Sunday vs. Atlanta, Winston became the eighth different quarterback to throw for 5,000 years in a season.

That was an incredible accomplishment for the No. 1 overall pick and 2013 Heisman Trophy winner out of Florida State, but everybody not rocking pewter along the Gulf Coast hoped that Winston would give us the two necessary interceptions to make the 30/30 dream a reality. It almost didn’t happen, but it could not have happened in a more perfect fashion.

Tampa Bay and Atlanta battled all afternoon. Winston had the urge to throw the ball deep to wide receiver Breshad Perriman, but couldn’t rely on his placekicker Matt Gay at all. Gay missed three makeable field goals, which allowed Atlanta to stick around in the ball game. The Falcons lived in the red zone, but could never quite punch it in from inside the Tampa Bay 20-yard line.

With Atlanta up 13-7 with 5:12 remaining in the first half, Winston would throw his first interception of the game, his 29th on the season, as Falcons safety Ricardo Allen jumped a route where Winston and wide receiver Justin Watson had a communication breakdown.


Tampa Bay would take a 22-16 lead into halftime, but Atlanta never quit, despite having a terrible time finding pay dirt in the second half. Younghoe Koo would make a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter to force overtime at Raymond James. Otherwise, Winston would have only finished the year with 33 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. Thankfully, fate intervened in overtime.

On the first offensive play of overtime, Winston targeted his tight end Cameron Brate on a curl route. However, Falcons linebacker Deion Jones jumped the route and scampered for six. Atlanta would win the ball game 28-22 on the game-ending interception. Both teams finish the year with a Jeff Fisher 7-9 B.S. record, with Atlanta securing second place in the division with this win.

Tampa Bay has a few tough decisions to make this offseason regarding personnel. Both Winston and defensive end Shaquil Barrett will be hitting free agency. One could garner the franchise tag, while the other might get the transition tag. Since Barrett just broke Warren Sapp’s single-season franchise sack record, he’s getting the franchise tag, while Winston will get the transition tag.

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Overall, it was an exciting year for the Buccaneers, but one that ended without a playoff trip or a winning record. Arians seems to like what he’s got with Winston. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has this defense humming. Tampa Bay can challenge for a playoff spot next year, but so will Atlanta and the New Orleans Saints are still the top dogs in the NFC South. 30/30 happened!