Antoine Winfield Jr. plays Bucs closer with first interception
Rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. came up big again for the Bucs on Sunday. Tampa Bay had just scored on Tom Brady's 4-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin in the fourth quarter to make it a two-score game over the Raiders.

That's when safety Mike Edwards tipped a pass from Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Winfield caught the deflection for the first interception of his career. "You know, it’s a great feeling to get my first interception" Winfield said. "I felt like I should've had it last week (on a pass he dropped from Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers) but you know, it was great finally actually catching the ball and it actually felt amazing."

Winfield, the NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month for September, said Sunday's 45-20 win was in marked contrast to when the Bucs failed to hold a 14-0 lead at Chicago (a 20-19 defeat). "That's one thing I think we learned from that game, that we have to always keep our foot on people's necks" Winfield said. "Just keeping playing at the high level throughout the entire game. Don't slow down at any point in the game."

Edwards, who had an interception called back due to an offsides penalty on Shaquil Barrett, has been around the football for the limited number of snaps he has played. "I saw the ball thrown and I was breaking down the receiver and Mike was in good position" Winfield said. "He was able to defend the ball and it just came straight to me. Not only to get an interception but to close a game out, there’s no better feeling."

Winfield's father, who played 14 seasons for the Bills and the Vikings, had 27 career interceptions. His son says he's coming for all his records. "For sure, I'm definitely going to try and pass him in all his stats" Winfield said. "Beat him in everything. Tackles, picks, forced fumbles - whatever it is I want to have a better game than him."

Rick Stroud, Tampa Bay Times, published 26 October 2020