TAMPA, Fla. -- There was no time to celebrate for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston after a 25-23 win over the New York Giants on Sunday. Despite a three-touchdown, no-interception performance that included not one, but two fourth-quarter comebacks, Winston had to turn the page and regroup quickly.
"We were happy that we got a win, but this is a week-to-week league," Winston said. "Unfortunately, [we] have to put this one behind us quickly because we have the defending [Super Bowl] champions coming in the house on Thursday."
Bucs coach Dirk Koetter had to do the same. His workday was far from over, with the New England Patriots coming to town for the first of Tampa Bay's two nationally televised games this year.
“As soon as we get done with this, I’m heading to the office," said Koetter, who refused to answer any questions about the Patriots last week.
Now he must put together a game plan and install it in four days, while his players try to get their bodies to respond much quicker than usual.
"Thursday Night Football is tough on the players, it's tough," Koetter said. "It’s tough on recovery, but it’s something that we don’t have a choice. We’re doing it, every team is doing it one time and this is our time. So, let’s make the best of it.”
Added cornerback Brent Grimes, who is coming off a shoulder injury: "It's still tough, but [winning] makes it a lot easier. The vibe is a little better. We've got a tough team coming in. Obviously the Patriots -- everybody knows how good they are."
Yes, they might be the Patriots, but the Bucs have a rare opportunity ahead. New England has fallen to 2-2. It had only two losses all of last season. The Patriots' defense has given up an average of 32 points through four games this year -- the most of any team in the NFL.
They have also allowed 128 points through four games, one shy of the 1987 New York Giants for most allowed by a defending Super Bowl champion.
The Bucs have some much-needed momentum on their side too, being 2-0 at home for the first time since 2008. They've won six straight games at home going back to last year.
"We are really trying to emphasize winning at home this year," tight end Cameron Brate said. "We kind of caught fire of that at the end of last year at home, so we are trying to carry that into this year. To win our first two games at home this year is huge. Going into a short week, [it] gives us so much momentum going into that game."
The Bucs are 1-5 in Thursday night games -- the second-worst Thursday night record in the NFL. If you go back and watch their Thursday night performances the past few years, they haven't just been bad -- they've been downright deplorable. Since 2006, they have a minus-90 point margin in Thursday night games, the worst in the NFL. The Patriots' 101-point margin since 2006 in Thursday games is the league's best.
Regardless of history, this is a chance to right some of those awful losses on a national stage. Winston isn't treating it any differently than the 15 other games on the schedule, though.
“Every night is an opportunity for America to get to know us as a football team," Winston said. "We just have to continue to execute, take it one day at a time and, as long as you win, everybody’s happy.”