It was a rout from the get-go. Cleveland's defense sacked QB Jameis Winston four times, QB Josh McCown went 17-of-23 for 117 yards and 2 touchdown passes, WR Travis Benjamin returned a punt for a touchdown, and Cleveland's defense stuffed the run regularly in a 31-7 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The party started with Benjamin returning a punt 53 yards for a touchdown near the beginning of the first quarter (watch it here). After the Browns' defense forced another quick stop, Cleveland put together a 16-play, 80-yard drive that lasted over nine minutes. The drive was capped off with a rolling 3-yard laser from McCown to WR Brian Hartline.
To end the first quarter, CB Charles Gaines picked off Winston, setting the Browns up with great field position. They had to settle for a field goal to go up 17-0. The second quarter was pretty ugly for Cleveland offensively, and Tampa Bay did have one series that caught the defense off guard: a 26-yard pass to WR Vincent Jackson, followed by a 19-yard touchdown run by RB Doug Martin to make it 17-7.
Head coach Mike Pettine sent the first-team offense back on to the field to start the third quarter, and they responded with a lengthy touchdown drive that was capped off with a 7-yard touchdown pass from McCown to TE Gary Barnidge (watch here). With the score at 24-7, it was time for the backups to enter.
Thaddeus Lewis decided to get in on the fun by hitting WR Josh Lenz on a 50-yard bomb down the sideline, and then burying his head into the end zone for a 7-yard score on 3rd-and-goal to put the Browns up 31-7.
Quick Hitter Observations
- RB Duke Johnson got the start, but suffered a concussion after taking a big-time lick on a third-down throw from McCown. With concussions, you never know when players will be ready to return.
- The depth at the secondary continues to be tested. CB Pierre Desir suffered a concussion, and CB Charles Gaines suffered a hamstring injury. Gaines was playing the nickel role in place of CB K'Waun Williams and was having a fantastic game.
- DE Desmond Bryant and NT Danny Shelton are absolute monsters. This is by far the best that Bryant has looked in a Browns uniform.
- Thankfully, QB Josh McCown was not fazed by this:
Protect ya neck, McCown. Decked https://t.co/MjoP9kOKTJ— Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) August 30, 2015
We'll have some post-game analysis over the next couple of days at DBN, so keep checking back in. What did you think of the third game, Browns fans?