TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -The Denver Broncos are impressed with Jameis Winston and Mike Evans, a couple of rising young stars who are transforming the identity of the once-plodding Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Winston, the first overall pick in the 2015 draft, is tied for the NFL lead with eight touchdown passes.
Evans, the second-year pro’s favorite target, leads the NFC with 21 catches and is the only Bucs receiver to begin a season with TD receptions in three consecutive games.
Containing one of the league’s up-and-coming passing combinations figures to be one of the keys to the Broncos (3-0) remaining unbeaten when the reigning Super Bowl champions visit Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.
The Bucs (1-2) have lost two straight, with Winston attempting 52 passes during a 41-7 loss at Arizona two weeks ago, and 58 more while throwing for a career-best 405 yards in a 37-32 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Tampa Bay’s home opener.
Coach Dirk Koetter knows that’s too many times to put the ball in the air, especially against a defense as talented as the Broncos , who are second in the league with 12 sacks.
But with running back Doug Martin sidelined by a hamstring injury, the Bucs have had little choice except to try to ride Winston’s arm.
Buccaneers will play Broncos at 4:05 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium.