NFL Week 11 Winners and Losers: Jameis Winston has finally arrived

Before we look ahead to next week, let’s pause and reflect on some things from Week 9 as we take a gander outside the box score.

Loser: Cincinnati Bengals

When it rains, it pours and that’s what the Bengals are currently dealing with. Not only re they perpetually in a position to disappoint their fans, but they have taken a turn for the worse this season. A.J. Green and Gio Bernard are both out for the rest of the season with injuries, thus depleting an already wobbly Bengals offense.

The road was already a tough one for Cincinnati, but the fact that the AFC North is so winnable this year has to add to already mounted frustration with the Marv Lewis regime. Sure, it’s not his fault two of his best players are hurt, but the idea of always coming up just short isn’t a new one in Cincinnati and sooner or later the borrowed time that Lewis is living on is going to run out.

Winner: Jameis Winston

I’ll be forthcoming with the fact that the Buccaneers are my team, which isn’t to say I’m being a homer here but is meant t emphasize this pick. It has been years since Bucs fans have ben able to be excited about something on this team and Jameis Winston is that thing. The Chiefs were banged up and made some inexplicable mistakes — but the Bucs capitalized and won the game.

That’s a new concept in Tampa, and it seems to have a lot to do with the leadership of Winston. He may come across as a glory boy, writing a heartfelt letter to his team about how they inspire him to love the game of football, but it’s working. The Bucs haven’t been fun to watch since 2002, and Winston is helping to change a losing culture that still bears the scars of Raheem Morris, Josh Freeman and Greg Schiano.

Loser: Blair Walsh

You might be thinking gee, isn’t it a little late to harp on Blair Walsh for getting cut? The answer is no and the evidence was all over on Sunday. Walsh was very much a scapegoat for the Vikings four-game losing streak, and to an extent it’s justified. He wasn’t doing his job and it was putting Minnesota in bad spots they couldn’t overcome.

But what I wouldn’t have given to have been a fly on Blair Walsh’s wall this weekend. 11 PATs were missed by kickers not named Walsh. One of those missed PATs came from the Vikings new kicker, the guy who replaced Walsh this week. That’s not to say Walsh is some how exonerated; he was still part of the problem. But we saw this weekend that it was a problem much greater than one guy as it appears judgement day has arrived for kicker in the NFL.