TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston is making strides as an NFL quarterback. Now he has a home victory to build on.
Monday night’s 25-11 preseason victory over the Cincinnati Bengals may not count in the standings, but it was welcomed by a team trying to change the culture of a franchise that hadn’t posted a win — exhibition or regular season — at Raymond James Stadium since 2013.
Winston was nearly flawless on Tampa Bay’s first possession, going 3-for-3 passing and scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run to finish an 80-yard drive that set the tone for a tough night for the Bengals (1-1), who yielded 52 yards rushing to Doug Martin along the way.
Alterraun Verner returned one of Tampa Bay’s two interceptions of Andy Dalton 24 yards for a second-quarter touchdown. Bradley McDougald picked off an overthrown pass on Cincinnati’s next possession, returning it 38 yards to set up Glennon’s TD pass.
Dalton, who only played one series in the Bengals’ preseason opener against the New York Giants, finished 6 of 13 for 46 yards and was sacked three times. AJ McCarron replaced him at the start of the third quarter.
Dalton sparkled in the Bengals’ preseason-opening win over the Giants, completing all three of his passes and finding Mohamed Sanu for a touchdown on the only drive for Cincinnati’s starting offense.
But Dalton’s first three possessions Monday night ended with punts. He threw interceptions on the next two, and Jeremy Hill fumbled the next time the Bengals got the ball.
Dalton’s first interception skipped through the hands of A.J. Green. He overthrew tight end Tyler Eifert on the second. The offense amassed 49 net yards on 26 plays while Dalton was in the game.
McCarron made his preseason debut after sitting out Cincinnati’s opener because of pulled muscles in his side. He completed 11 of 15 passes for 97 yards and led an 80-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. James Wilder Jr., son of Bucs career leading rusher James Wilder, finished it with a 5-yard TD run.
Bengals: LB Emmanuel Lamur left in the opening quarter with a hamstring injury. S George Iloka departed with a knee injury.