Two things can be true at the same time.
For one, Jameis Winston throws interceptions like he’s an angel investor in Turnovers Incorporated. On the other hand, he plays exceptionally well against the Atlanta Falcons, throwing for 2,499 yards and 25 touchdowns over nine career games against the Birds.
It’s an oft maddening affair watching him evade sacks or convert 3rd-and-19s with his legs after fumbling the football, but these are the types of things he’s done with regularity against the Falcons since the Bucs drafted him first overall in 2015.
The football gods desire equilibrium, so it only made sense that it would be the Falcons that restored the universal order and exacted some slight vengeance in the process. They did so by making Jameis Winston the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season.
That’s a load of picks. If Jameis Winston ate Ws at the rate he swallowed INTs this year, his belly would form quite the alphabet soup. Or possibly the worst Scrabble rack you could imagine.
Winston entered Sunday’s game against the Falcons sitting at 31 touchdowns and 28 interceptions, the latter number increasing to 29 via a Ricardo Allen pick late in the second quarter on a pass intended for Justin Watson.
He would play a clean enough game from that point forward, until the football gods decided: It was to be.
The Falcons sent the game into overtime with a 33-yard field goal courtesy of Younghoe Koo’s leg as the clock expired, giving Jameis Winston the opportunity to make ignominious history.
He would not let the enormity of the moment escape him.
The Bucs would win the toss, positioning them for a potential game-winning drive. Instead, Winston would lock eyes with his intended receiver like he was experiencing psychedelic ESP, allowing Deion Jones to jump the route for the pick-six. The interception sent the Falcons back to Atlanta with a win and Winston home with a historic accomplishment that he definitely did not want.
Jameis Winston finished his fifth and possibly final season in Tampa Bay with 5,109 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. He led the NFL in passing, a feat to be celebrated. He also led it in picks. The football gods are angry, yet just, and would not be denied their comedic balance in the Falcons’ win over the Buccaneers.