Jameis Winston wills Bucs to victory with memorable run on winning drive

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers knew Jameis Winston had this desire to win from his college days, when he would somehow will Florida State to victory. On Sunday, Winston showed that trait carried over to the NFL.

The rookie quarterback made an improbable third-and-19 scramble for a first down on the decisive drive and later found Mike Evans for a 6-yard touchdown pass to lift Tampa Bay to a 23-19 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

Trailing 16-12 with 6:55 remaining, Winston led Tampa Bay on a 12-play, 80-yard drive. But what people will remember is the third-and-19 play. Winston went back to pass, couldn't find anyone and took off. He was hit by Justin Durant short of the first down but kept his balance and successfully ran for it. Four plays later, Winston found Evans for the go-ahead score.

Linebacker Lavonte David intercepted Matt Ryan to ice the win for Tampa Bay.

What it means: The Bucs are still alive in the playoff race. Although Tampa Bay (6-6) and Atlanta (6-6) are tied in the standings, the Bucs have the tiebreaker and are in second place in the NFC South, jumping one place to seventh place in the NFC. There is still a ways to go, however. Tampa Bay needs to win the rest of its games -- and then still would need help. It helps that only one team with a winning record remains on the Bucs' schedule -- Carolina, the last game of the season.

One reason to get excited: Winston seems to be the real deal. The latest evidence: that march for the go-ahead touchdown, fueled by his third-and-19 run. It is the kind of drive and play that turn good players into great players.

One reason to panic: This team relies on its defense a lot, but the injuries are starting to pile up. Tony McDaniel and Will Gholston (two sacks) played great, but the team needs defensive linemen Gerald McCoy and Jacquies Smith to return to have a chance down the stretch.

Fantasy watch: Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins returned after missing nine games and had a good day -- but it could have been a great day. He had three catches for 31 yards but missed a chance for a touchdown when he couldn't hold on to a pass in the third quarter.

Ouch: Starting cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah suffered an elbow injury in the third quarter and did not return. He had four tackles up to that point. Former starter Johnthan Banks replaced Adjei-Barimah. It is not known how serious the injury is.