TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — It's only preseason, but Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston is clearly making strides as an NFL quarterback.
The first overall pick in this year's draft scored a 1-yard touchdown run after he was nearly flawless on the first drive of the game, and the Buccaneers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 25-11 on Monday night.
Winston was 3-of-3 passing for 27 yards, leading an 80-yard scoring drive that set the tone for a tough night for the Bengals (1-1), who yielded 52 yards rushing to Doug Martin along the way.
Winston limped off the field, done for the night, two plays after appearing to tweak his right ankle when he was sacked by Geno Atkins and Wallace Gilberry early in the second quarter.
The rookie remained on the sideline, cheering when Mike Glennon threw a 22-yard TD pass to Russell Shepard for a 20-0 lead, and there was no announcement of any injury.
Winston stumbled as he backed away from center before being wrapped up in the arms of Atkins and Gilberry and taken to the ground. He threw an incompletion on the next play, and then was penalized for intentional grounding on third down, forcing a punt.
The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner overcame a slow start in his preseason debut to lead a long scoring drive that he also capped with a TD run against Minnesota. One of his goals Monday night was to start faster, and he accomplished that objective with completions of 9 yards to Martin, 7 yards to Jorvorskie Lane and 11 yards to Austin Seferian-Jenkins on the opening drive.
Martin, slowed by injuries the past two seasons, looked like the running back who was one of the league's most productive players as a rookie three years ago. The fourth-year pro had runs of 7 and 15 yards, before running emerging from a cluster of players and bolting 30 yards to the 1 to set up Winston's TD on a bootleg around right end.
Alterraun Verner returned one of Tampa Bay's two interceptions of Andy Dalton 24 yards for a second-quarter touchdown. Bradley McDougald picked off an overthrown pass on Cincinnati's next possession, returning it 38 yards to set up Glennon's TD pass.
Dalton, who only played one series in the Bengals' preseason opener against the New York Giants, finished 6 of 13 for 46 yards and was sacked three times. AJ McCarron replaced him at the start of the third quarter.
Winston played four series, completing 8 of 13 passes for 90 yards and no interceptions.
McCarron led an 80-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter for Cincinnati. James Wilder Jr., son of Bucs all-time leading rusher James Wilder, finished it with a 5-yard TD run.
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