The rough-and-tumble Bucs, though, are much more than just their quarterback.
Sunday's 16-11 win over the division-rival Saints was the product of a rising defense allowing just 12.3 points per game since Week 10.
With multiple takeaways in five straight games, the opportunistic Bucs tricked Brees into three killer interceptions, all but making up for a Winston-led offense that generated just 94 total yards in the second half.
"First of all, thank God for that defense," said Winston. "That defense played amazing, man, creating turnovers."
The Bucs are another reminder that final judgments in November often look foolish in December. After falling to 3-5 last month, Tampa was left for dead by the pundits. Instead, they have risen to the tune of five straight wins, enough to notch them atop the NFC South with the Atlanta Falcons.
Where they go from here has as much to do with Tampa's hurly-burly, evolving defense as it does with their starry young signal-caller.