The Buccaneers had the ball with a chance to tie the 49ers or win the game with two minutes to play in Tampa, but they didn’t take very good care of it.
Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon picked off Jameis Winston and returned the ball 25 yards for a touchdown. A two-point conversion extended the 49ers’ lead to 31-17 and that turned out to be the final score.
It was the third interception of the game for Winston and the second that was returned for a touchdown. Richard Sherman took one back 31 yards a few plays after a Richie James touchdown catch in the third quarter and the 49ers were up 20-7 after failing to score a touchdown during the first half of the game.
Winston’s outing is exactly the sort of game that the Bucs hoped to eliminate by bringing in Bruce Arians as their head coach, but there remains a lot of room for improvement on that front.
Jimmy Garoppolo had a bad interception of his own in the first half and Vernon Hargreaves returned it for the first Buccaneers touchdown of the day. He’d finish his first regular season game since last year’s torn ACL by completing 18-of-27 passes for 166 yards.
The 49ers lost running back Tevin Coleman to an ankle injury, which left Raheem Mostert to join Matt Breida as the lead backfield duo. They combined to pick up 77 yards on 24 carries and an extended absence for Coleman would be a blow to an backfield that already lost Jerick McKinnon for the year.