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Buccaneers' Jameis Winston suffered thumb fracture but leads wild comeback vs. Colts

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston missed one series against the Indianapolis Colts with what was called a hand injury. We found out later that Winston would return to the game and play through a fractured thumb, leading the Bucs to a wild 38-35 victory.

Winston added three picks to his NFL-high total of 23. But he completed 33-of-45 passes for a career-high 456 yards with four TD passes — two of them coming after leaving the game with injury in the third quarter. It was not clear when Winston got hurt, as he led an 11-play, 75-yard TD drive before the half and then didn’t come out for the first offensive series of the second half.

Backup Ryan Griffin — who hadn’t appeared in a regular-season game since 2014 — replaced Winston at the 12:02 mark of the third quarter with the Bucs trailing the Colts, 27-21. But Winston was back in the game on the ensuing possession and led a TD drive with a pass from Winston to Justin Watson.

Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers threw two interceptions against the Indianapolis Colts and was replaced by Ryan Griffin. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Winston also completed the comeback without Mike Evans for much of the game. Evans scored a 61-yard TD but suffered a hamstring injury and didn’t return.

Griffin has been in the league since 2014 but had not attempted a regular-season pass until this game. He completed his first two attempts before misfiring on his next two.

Winston’s picks have been a problem all season, and his pick-six total is now at five in 2019 — one short of tying the NFL mark (since 1950) held by the Colts’ Peyton Manning in 2001 and the Bears’ Rudy Bukich in 1966. But his game performance while not at 100 percent health shows that he still gives the Bucs a chance to win.

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