Jameis Winston throws four picks, takes step back for Buccaneers

TAMPA, Fla. -- Consider Sunday a step backward for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.

Winston threw four interceptions and fumbled a snap in the Carolina Panthers' 37-23 victory Sunday over the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium. Winston's gaffes, on a day when he completed 26 of 43 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns, led to 27 points for the Panthers. The mistakes were a sign of regression for the Florida State product after he showed growth with his decision-making at times during the previous two weeks.

The Bucs knew there would be growing pains when they drafted Winston first overall in April. Still, this was a particularly ugly day for the rookie, who was off on multiple throws in the rain against an opportunistic Carolina secondary led by cornerback Josh Norman.

Since Winston's struggles happened against a division rival, the development should be particularly concerning for the Bucs, who fell to 1-3. Inconsistency will be part of the young quarterback's profile this season, but there aren't many positives to draw from his play Sunday.

What it means: The Bucs missed a chance to earn their first home victory under coach Lovie Smith and gain their second consecutive NFC South win this season. This was a day of missed opportunities, from kicker Kyle Brindza's two wayward field goal attempts to the offense failing to establish a consistent flow. A victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday becomes imperative in order to keep the season afloat.

What were they thinking? Why didn't the Bucs try to test the Panthers' defense more on their last drive of the second quarter? Tampa Bay had a second-and-10 at Carolina's 24-yard line with 16 seconds left. Instead of trying for the touchdown, the Bucs settled for two short passes before Brindza missed a 29-yard attempt.

One reason to get excited: Running back Doug Martin had a standout performance, rushing for 106 yards on 20 carries with one touchdown. It was a nice recovery after he was limited to a season-low 46 yards last week in Houston.

One reason to panic: The Bucs' kicking situation is a mess now. Smith supported the rookie Brindza last week. But it will be interesting to see whether Tampa Bay will look elsewhere after Brindza went 1-for-3 with a missed extra point Sunday.

Fantasy watch: Wide receiver Mike Evans figured to have a bigger day against the Panthers, who entered with the NFL's fourth-best run defense. Instead, he totaled just 32 yards on three catches.