The Buccaneers managed to pull off a 26-23 overtime win in overtime against the Browns. Kicker Chandler Catanzaro hit the 59-yard field goal that gave the Bucs their third win of the season. The loss drops the Browns to 2-4-1.
Honestly, this game shouldn’t have even gotten to overtime. The Bucs lead by 14 points at two different points in the second half. After squandering the lead, the offense looked to win the game when they took over at their 25 with 2:28 to go. Quarterback Jameis Winston marched the team right down the field. He went 4-for-4 passing for 49 yards and had the Bucs at the Browns’ 24-yard line with 45 seconds to go. However, for some strange reason, the Bucs decided to play it safe. They ran the ball twice for two yards to set up a possible game-winning field goal. Unfortunately, Catanzaro, who had already missed an extra point earlier, pulled the 40 yarder to the right.
Don't let that Bucs missed field goal distract you from the fact that Tampa Bay had the ball at the 25-yard line with 45 seconds left, two timeouts & purposefully settled for a long field goal instead of trying to win the game with the better, more talented part of their team.
— 🎃 Trev-or-Treat 👻 (@TampaBayTre) October 21, 2018
The overtime period was a mess. It seemed like both teams tried to lose the game. Winston threw his second interception of the game on the Bucs first drive and the Browns fumbled a punt at midfield that set up the Bucs’ game-winning drive. The Bucs got down to the Browns’ 41 to set up the game-winner from 59 yards.
This game shouldn’t have been close and both these teams have some good things working for them. Below are some of the key takeaways from the Buccaneers win.
Defense Shows Improvement But Lose Kwon Alexander
The Bucs fired Mike Smith as defensive coordinator last week and so far it looks like the right move. Coming into the Browns game the Bucs had given up 30.7 points in the first half during their three-game losing streak. Against Cleveland, they didn’t give up any. The only points in the first half came on a safety. The Browns ended up scoring 21 second-half points but there was an obvious improvement.
One of my keys to the game was to get pressure on Mayfield and the Bucs did just that. As a team, the Bucs racked up five sacks on the day and were constantly in Mayfield’s face. There were long stretches were Smith would only attempt to get pressure with the defensive line. New DC Mark Duffner however constantly sent linebackers blitzing to get pressure, something fans have been begging for.
What was the difference Sunday under new defensive coordinator Mark Duffner? They allowed the Browns to convert on just 21 percent of third downs. They also brought the heat with five sacks. Here's how they did it https://t.co/eon9Utfy5w
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) October 22, 2018
There was a casualty on defense though and its a big one. Linebacker Kwon Alexander went down with an injury and it was revealed Monday morning that he tore his ACL. Alexander was second on the team in tackles with 45 and has forced two fumbles his season. Along with Lavonte David, Alexander is the leader on defense and his loss will be greatly felt.
While the defense showed obvious signs of improvement, the offense was inconsistent. Winston was the catalyst for the up and down play. The fourth-year quarterback threw for 365 yards and was the team’s leading rusher with 55 yards.
For most of the game, Winston was elusive and made great plays. He moved around the pocket constantly and found his targets and hit them in stride. His 14-yard rushing touchdown was a thing of beauty as well. But as the game wore on, his accuracy and decision-making problems reared their ugly head. His two interceptions were solely on him. The first was a bad throw to O.J Howard that was snagged by Christian Kirksey and the second was thrown almost right to Jamie Collins. Winston also had a fumble but that was more on left tackle Donovan Smith getting beat Myles Garrett.
The last time Jameis Winston played a full game without either fumbling or throwing an interception, was Week 2 last year against the #Bears
Overall, I think Winston had an average day. His plays with his legs made his day better, but the Bucs need him to make better decisions overall if they want to build on this win.
Up Next: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-3)
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