Jenna Laine, ESPN Staff Writer 17d

Bucs' Jameis Winston gives his game ball to struggling kicker Nick Folk

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston may have thrown three touchdowns and led two fourth quarter comebacks against the New York Giants Sunday, but the most impressive thing he did came after the game.

Winston was presented the game ball from head coach Dirk Koetter, who said, "When our QB plays like that, we're hard to beat."

Instead of keeping it, Winston presented it to kicker Nick Folk, who overcame two missed field goals and a missed extra point to nail the game winner as time expired.

Winston said, "Everybody showed up tonight, but I'm gonna pass it to my dog, Nick Folk, because he overcame adversity and won this game for us."

In the second quarter, Folk had a chance to extend the Bucs' lead to 16-0, but missed from 46 yards out. Then in the third quarter, as the Bucs saw their lead shrink to six, Folk missed a 49-yard attempt. His 34-yarder at the end barely squeaked in.

Winston knows a thing or two about how to elevate a struggling kicker. Against the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football last year, Roberto Aguayo missed kicks from 33 yards and potential game-winner from 46 yards out. Aguayo then kicked the game winner from 38 yards out.

Winston told Aguayo, "Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time moments. I'm going to get you the ball down there, if I don't do it myself. So be ready."

Winston also knows a thing or two about bouncing back, having thrown three interceptions the week before against the Minnesota Vikings. He certainly elevated his team's play Sunday afternoon, and that's what you'd expect from a franchise quarterback.

His ability to elevate the people around him -- the way he did with Folk Sunday and Aguayo last year -- is rare.

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