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Bucs WR Mike Evans' hamstring injury 'not good,' Bruce Arians says

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Jameis Winston delivered one of the most confounding, one of the most (0:00)

Jameis Winston delivered one of the most confounding, one of the most bewildering, one of the most 'Jekyll and Hyde' performances of his career Sunday, making his evaluation that much more difficult. Video by Jenna Laine (0:00)

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers overcame four turnovers, the loss of Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans to a hamstring injury, and a small thumb fracture to the throwing hand of quarterback Jameis Winston to defeat the Indianapolis Colts 38-35 on Sunday. The Bucs won their third straight under coach Bruce Arians and improved to 6-7.

It was just the fourth time this season that a team turned the ball over four times and won, according to ESPN Statistics & Information research. Teams that have turned the ball over four or more times in games this season have gone 4-26.

"It's a damn good thing I'm a young cub," Arians said. "Coaching the nicest team in the league is tough. We just love spotting 17 points to the other team, then come back and winning. ... I don't think I have blood pressure anymore."

He likely won't have his top receiver, either.

Evans pulled up as he was outrunning Pierre Desir on a 61-yard touchdown in the first quarter and fell to the turf in pain before limping off and not returning.

"It's not good," Arians said of Evans, adding that he'll undergo more testing Monday. "I'll be shocked if Mike makes it back before the last week."

Winston, who struggled to grip the football coming out after halftime, was replaced by Ryan Griffin for a series before returning in the third quarter.

"They X-rayed his thumb. He's got a little-bitty fracture. Nothing serious. He was able to get his strength back to come back in," Arians said, believing the injury did not affect Winston's throws.

As far as the thumb injury impacting Winston's ability to practice this week, Arians said, "It does not look like it right now. We'll know more tomorrow."

"By the grace of God, man. He willed me through," said Winston, who threw for a career-high 456 passing yards and tied a career high with five touchdowns (four passing, one rushing).

"Our starting left tackle [Donovan Smith] got banged up. One of the best receivers in the world [was] out. I hurt my thumb a little bit," Winston said. "And we still pulled this game off."

But Winston also threw three interceptions, including his fourth pick of the season on the opening drive. He was then pick-sixed 80 yards by linebacker Darius Leonard in the second quarter as Tampa Bay fell behind 24-14.

Those plays, plus running back Dare Ogunbowale's fumble on the second possession, gave the Colts 17 points off of turnovers. The Colts had a chance for more after Winston's fourth-quarter pick by Malik Hooker with 9:57 to go, but kicker Chase McLaughlin, who was signed this week to replace an injured Adam Vinatieri, saw his 47-yard field goal hit the right upright.

"I can 'snap and clear.' I don't focus on the last play. The key is, I have to not be in those situations," said Winston. "That's what I've gotta continue to work at. Being able to bounce back -- that's in my blood. I was blessed to be like that. But I've gotta not put us in that situation, so that's what I'm gonna be working on ... heavily."

Stepping in for Evans was third-year wideout Justin Watson, who went in motion and caught a 17-yard touchdown along the seam from Winston -- the first of his career -- with 3:24 to go in the third quarter to make it 35-28. Watson finished 5-for-8 for 59 yards.

Then with 3:56 to go in the fourth quarter, Winston connected with Breshad Perriman on a 12-yard fade route for a touchdown and the lead. Perriman caught 3 of 5 targets for 70 yards.

"It's crazy," Perriman said. "Just to be a part of this team, this organization that overcomes every single bit of adversity that comes our way -- it's just crazy, man. It just shows us how great we can be if we just minimize mental errors, missed assignments and mistakes."

"[Jameis'] ability to bounce back is remarkable," said tight end Cameron Brate, who caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Winston just before halftime. "Battling through an injury as well -- a pretty significant injury for someone who throws the ball -- I knew he wasn't gonna stay out long. If he can play, he's gonna play. Just made enough plays there in the second half. It was awesome."

"I know for me personally, it helps me a lot," said Perriman, who struggled to develop a connection with Winston earlier this season but had a career-high 86 receiving yards last week. "No matter who made the mistake, he'll come to you and let you know, 'That's over with. Next play. We're still rollin.' That's a great thing to have."

Still, Winston knows the turnovers -- he's now up to 23 interceptions this year -- have to stop if he's to take this team further. The Minnesota Vikings' win officially eliminated the Bucs from postseason contention. But they still have an opportunity to post a winning record for just the second time in the past 10 seasons. Just one of their three remaining opponents -- the Houston Texans - is currently above .500.

"We're gonna fix it on Monday. I guarantee you," Winston said of the turnovers. "We're gonna have some tough talks. I know I'm gonna have a lot of tough talks. But at the end of the day, we willed ourselves to win this game. And it's from [the coaches'] confidence, from their body language on that sideline and giving everyone around us confidence that, 'Hey, I messed up. But what am I gonna do now?' "