It wasn’t pretty, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to beat the Cleveland Browns in overtime to get back to .500.
After Chandler Catanzaro missed a pair of kicks in regulation, he nailed a 59-yard kick to propel the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Cleveland Browns in overtime, 26-23.
Overtime was a familiar sight for Buccaneers and Browns fans alike. It was a pair of unfit teams trying to find a way to lose, rather than win. In short, it was torture.
Despite the Browns inability to move the ball and adding a turnover to boot, the Buccaneers were unable to put the game away.
Jameis Winston took boneheaded sacks and it forced the Bucs to rely on a struggling kicker to attempt a 59-yard field goal. Somehow, he nailed it.
The kick not only may have saved Catanzaro’s job, but it saved head coach Dirk Koetter a lot of time at the post-game press conference. There will still be questions about his conservative playcalling, but it all worked out in the end.
After Jameis Winston led the Tampa Bay offense down the field on a potential game-winning drive, kicker Chandler Catanzaro shanked a 40-yard attempt and the game headed into overtime.
Tampa Bay’s defense managed to hold strong at the one-yard line, but the Browns defense shut down the Bucs on three plays.
Up by 14 to open the fourth quarter, the Bucs had the game well in hand. Then, rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield led the Browns on a 75-yard touchdown drive. After the Buccaneers would follow that drive with a punt, Cleveland had a chance to tie the ball game.
The Buccaneers defense was on pace to make history for all the wrong reasons as they entered their Week 7 matchup against the Browns.
The team decided to part ways with defensive coordinator Mike Smith after an embarrassing start to the season, and the team found immediate results on Sunday.
With linebackers coach Mark Duffner now at the helm, Tampa Bay’s defense was unrecognizable. Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield looked frightened in the pocket as the pass rush impacted him early and often.
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The Buccaneers sacked Mayfield five times and held him to 215 yards on the day.
The defense showed no signs of slowing down until injuries piled up at the linebacker position. Kwon Alexander suffered an injury late in the second quarter. Rookie Jack Cichy went down shortly after.
During the game, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Bucs fear that Alexander tore his ACL, which would effectively end his 2018 season.
With the offense struggling to put points on the board, the pressure shifted to the defensive side of the ball for the first time all season.
Turnovers were the difference for Tampa’s offense on Sunday. Two fumbles and two interceptions kept the Browns in the football game.
Jameis Winston had a relatively quiet day on the stat sheet but his weapons didn’t do him any favors. Both Cameron Brate and Adam Humphries fumbled the ball, while Mike Evans and O.J. Howard had bad drops late in the final period.
The Buccaneers defense dominated the first half of play. Mayfield looked overmatched as Tampa held the Browns to 74 total yards. Cleveland struggled on third down through the first 30 minutes of the game as well; the Browns converted once on eight tries.
The defensive performance in the first half felt like a miracle for the Bucs. In their last three games, opponents have averaged 30 points in the first two quarters of play.
Although the offense kept the Buccaneers in games so far this season, the roles reversed against Cleveland. In the first half, Tampa Bay’s offense did everything they could to give the Browns momentum.
However, the Buccaneers defense had none of it. After multiple turnovers, the defense stood tall and shutout the Browns heading into halftime.
It wasn’t an ideal start for the Buccaneers offense. After the Browns pinned Tampa Bay inside their one-yard line, Cleveland dropped Peyton Barber in the end zone for a safety. Immediately, Tampa was down 2-0.
Thankfully, that was all the Browns would get in the half.
Tampa Bay will square off with the talented Cincinnati Bengals next week in hopes of a repeat performance from their its defense.