In week three of the NFL Preseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off against the Cleveland Browns. Both teams have accumulated some of the best young talent on both sides of the ball and will look to take the proverbial next step in each teams progress. While this game might not count in a historical sense we will take a look into the history between the two young squads.
The Cleveland Browns own a 6-4 edge against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Most of those wins came before the 2002 season as the Buccaneers earned their first win that year beating the Browns 17-3. Since then Tampa Bay has gone on to win three of the next four matchups.
Baker vs Jameis
Last season was the first matchup between 2015’s number one overall pick Jameis Winston and 2018’s number one overall pick Baker Mayfield. In this week seven matchup the Buccaneers shot out to an early 16-2 lead thanks to rushing touchdowns from wide receiver Desean Jackson and quarterback Jameis Winston. Very unorthodox rushing attack to say the least. The Browns scored a safety after tackling Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber in the end zone.
In the second half Clevelands offense woke up and the teams exchanged touchdowns. in the third quarter came a touchdown pass from Browns quarterback Mayfield to his young tight end David Njoku. Tampa ended the quarter with a rushing touchdown from rookie running back Ronald Jones II. With a 23-9 lead heading into the fourth the Buccaneers looked primed to end the game on a high note.
Like many games last year for the Buccaneers, the play dropped in the fourth quarter. The defense allowed two touchdowns in the quarter and their offense faltered. Baker Mayfield led an early seven play drive that consumed 75 yards and only took 3 minutes to score. The Browns capped the drive with a one yard run from rookie running back Nick Chubb.
Forth Quarter Woes
Tampa Bay did not get a good showing from Jameis Winston in this game as he had two interceptions as well as a fumble lost. But in this fourth quarter alone the Buccaneers had three drives to take control of the game. After their first two drives ended in punts the Browns completed the comeback after a bad punt and big return from safety Jabrill Peppers. Baker Mayfield found wide receiver Jarvis Landry on first down and the game was tied 23-23 after the extra point.
Tampa Bays offense was given a shot at redemption and Jameis Winston did his part. Winston completed six consecutive passes in the drive and got the team to the 21 yard line to attempt the game winning kick. Kicker Chandler Cantazaro’s kick was wide right.
In overtime the Browns had a three and out and gave Tampa their first shot at redemption. In the ensuing drive Jameis Winston nearly lost the game by fumbling on first down. Luckily for the Buccaneers he recovered the ball. After gaining 34 yards on the next two plays the Buccaneers offense blew up. Desean Jackson lost six yards on an end around and then Jameis threw a terrible interception the next play.
The Browns had a prime chance to steal the win now but ended up punting after a clutch sack from defensive end, and former Brown, Carl Nassib. Tampa still couldn’t do much and punted the ball back after three plays but then the the momentum took a turn. On the punt return the Buccaneers got a big play from an unlikely source. Third string tight end Antony Auclair forced a fumble on the return and the Buccaneers recovered. After back to back sacks the Buccaneers offense faced a 3rd and 29. Winston found Desean Jackson on a comeback route, and on 4th and 15 Tampa Bay trotted out the kicker once more.
The kick looked to be wide right again but the ball hooked in at the last second and the Buccaneers earned a stunning win against the Browns.