Jameis Winston made a successful return to starting quarterback Sunday afternoon, throwing for 312 yards and two touchdowns in leading the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 27-9 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
Winston, who had been benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick after a four-interception game in Week 8, played error-free ball in helping the Buccaneers (4-7) snap a four-game losing streak.
Rookie Dante Pettis scored his second NFL touchdown for the 49ers (2-9), who were coming off a bye and suffered their second straight defeat.
The loss came in the wake of second-year linebacker Reuben Foster being released by the 49ers following a domestic-violence accusation at the team hotel on Saturday night.
Winston’s 6-yard TD pass to Cameron Brate and two field goals from Cairo Santos had the Buccaneers up 13-6 at the break, before the Tampa Bay defense made two game-changing stops in the third quarter.
After an apparent Jeff Wilson Jr. touchdown run had been overturned on review, the Buccaneers stopped Matt Breida and Nick Mullens on consecutive plunges from the 1, prompting the 49ers, after an illegal-procedure penalty on fourth down, to settle for a 23-yard field goal from Robbie Gould.
Tampa Bay then pulled away, going up 20-9 later in the third period on a 2-yard run by Peyton Barber and then 27-9 when Winston connected with Adam Humphries from 28 yards out with 14:10 left in the game.
Winston finished 29 for 38.
Mike Evans was Tampa Bay’s leading receiver with six catches for 116 yards.
Mullens, who won his NFL debut against the Oakland Raiders but has gone 0-2 since against the New York Giants and Buccaneers, went 18 for 32 for 221 yards and one touchdown. He was intercepted twice.
Mullens’ TD pass was a 13-yarder to Pettis in the second quarter after the 49ers had fallen behind 7-0 on the Winston-to-Brate hook-up. Gould was wide left on the PAT, leaving San Francisco down 7-6.
Breida was the game’s leading rusher with 14 carries for 106 yards. He also caught three passes for 34 yards.
The Buccaneers outgained the 49ers 412-342.
—Field Level Media