The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to salvage another last-minute game-winning field goal against the Cleveland Browns. There were many encouraging statistics throughout the game, as well as some concerning statistics.
Regardless, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to win both of their preseason games at Raymond James Stadium.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Cleveland Browns by a score of 13-12. Many of the Buccaneers and Browns’ starters were held out of the game for precautionary reasons. The starters that did dress for the game played the entire first half.
The starting Tampa Bay defense allowed Baker Mayfield to go just 10-26 for 72 yards through the air. Jordan Whitehead recorded an interception off of Mayfield at the end of the first half. This is great to see, especially considering the first-team Buccaneer defense has not allowed a touchdown the entire preseason.
The Buccaneers won the time of possession battle. Tampa Bay held on to the ball for 36:08, while Cleveland was on offense for just 23:52. The defense did a nice job of getting off of the field quickly, and holding the Browns to field goals rather than touchdowns. The defense only allowed 12 touchdowns the whole game, and kept the Browns to just 141 total yards.
Rakeem Nunez-Roches had another terrific game. He recorded two sacks to solidify his claim for a roster spot. He had a great training camp, and has been all over the field this preseason. I would be shocked if he does not make the team.
Chris Godwin and Tanner Hudson both had solid games as pass-catchers. In one half, Godwin recorded four catches for 52 yards. Godwin was on pace for a 100-yard game, which I believe will happen often in the regular season. Hudson also had four catches that went for 49 yards. Since the year 2000, no Buccaneer has recorded more preseason receiving yards than Hudson. He made a terrific one-handed grab in Friday night’s game and has arguably been the most impressive player on the team.
The first-team offense did not look good. Jameis Winston was unable to get anything going and the main reason why was the offensive line. Winston was sacked five times in the first quarter. He finished the first half 9-19 for 88 yards. The Browns are loaded up-front, but the offensive lineman were getting pushed back seemingly every play. Winston needs his O-line to step up if he expects a contract extension after this season.
New punter Bradley Pinion did not have a great night. The Browns had great starting field position in the entire first half. Pinion punted the ball seven times and averaged 42 yards per punt. Considering Bryan Anger averaged 45 yards per punt for Tampa Bay last season, Pinion needs to do a better job of setting his opponents back with his kicks.
Penalties were a major issue in this game. Tampa Bay totaled nine penalties that ended up costing 76 yards. These penalties kill drives on offense, and defensive penalties such as Ndamukong Suh’s roughing the passer keep the defense on the field. I’m sure Bruce Arians let the team hear it at halftime, and the team meetings this week will be fiery while watching film. Hopefully Arians can discipline this team to where these penalties don’t occur as often.