TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Today’s Buccaneers vs. Browns games was straight out of a movie. Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers started strong but eventually got rattled by the Cleveland Browns at Raymond James Stadium Sunday with penalties and injuries, losing two players by the middle of the third quarter: linebackers Kwon Alexander and Jack Cichy, who were both ruled out with knee injuries. But then, at the eleventh hour, with victory within their grasp and defeat at their necks, the Buccaneers turned the tables with a daring final play in overtime.
While the Browns got on the board first with a safety early in the first quarter with Trevon Coley tackling Peyton Barber on the run, the Bucaneers quickly answered with Catanzaro’s 38-yard field goal in the first quarter and two touchdowns in the second quarter–a 14-yard run by DeSean Jackson and a 14-yard scramble by Jameis Winston, respectively–managing to miss the extra point on the first.
The Buccaneers were the more aggressive team in the first half, going 2 for 2 in the red zone and 3 for 4 in third down conversions, despite a sack on Winston in the second quarter. The Bucs sacked Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield twice in the first half: early in the first quarter (11:13) and again in the second quarter.
Winston was 15 for 22 in pass completions (68%) while Mayfield was 10 for 16 (62.5%), but the swift Cleveland defense forced Winston out of the pocket for much of the game, causing him to have more rushing than any other Buccaneer in the first half with 29 yards and passing 184 yards compared to Cleveland’s 62 passing yards.
The score was 16-2 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Ronald Jones II ran in the ball two yards for a touchdown immediately following O.J. Howard’s clutch 24-yard catch. By the end of the quarter, the Buccaneers widened the lead with a score of 23-9.
The Browns made their second touchdown in the fourth quarter. One Browns’ highlight of the game was Mayfield’s impressive 35-yard run with eight minutes left in the game. The second was Jabrill Peppers’ recovery of the Bucs’ ball, followed by Jarvis Landry’s dramatic 16-yard falling catch into the endzone for the Browns’ third touchdown, tying the game at 23 with less than three minutes left.
The Cleveland Browns defense kept the pressure on Winston, forcing him to continue his scramble plays in the second half. Even with less than ten seconds left in the game, and with the Bucs playing for a field goal, Winston kept the ball on the play, losing a yard. Catanzaro attempted a 40-yard field goal, but it was no good, taking the game into overtime with the 23-23 score.
The Browns received for the start and didn’t score on the first series, but when the Bucs took possession, the Browns intercepted the ball, bringing the game to sudden death. The Bucs made up for it with a sack on the third down, regaining possession with four minutes left in OT. Unfortunately, Winston lost all of his nerve, completing none of his passes during the series.
In continuing nailbiting fashion, Cleveland fumbled on their next return, and Buccaneers safety Isaiah Johnson recovered it. The Bucs got another lucky break on the third down when the Browns got a penalty resulting in a Bucs first down. However, Winston squandered it with a sack resulting in a 12-yard loss.
The very next play resulted in another sack, bringing the Bucs to 3rd and 29 on the Browns’ 45-yard line with 2 minutes left. Winston completed a pass to DeSean Jackson before Catanzaro attempted a 59-yard field goal, and miraculously scored it, ending the game with the Bucs win 26-23.
The Buccaneers next hit the road for two weeks, facing the Cincinatti Bengals on October 28 and Carolina Panthers on November 4 before returning home to host the Washington Redskins for Veterans Day (November 11). The Cleveland Browns have one more road match against the Pittsburgh Steelers before returning home to face the Kansas City Chiefs. All of the aforementioned games kick off at 1pm ET.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org