Heading into the third preseason game, we were really hoping the Cleveland Browns would show an improvement defensively. Instead, they ripped apart for 305 yards in the first half alone, facing a 27-10 deficit at the half.
The scoring started on the first drive for Tampa Bay, when they got in range for a 48-yard field goal for rookie K Roberto Aguayo, which he drilled to make it a 3-0 game. Cleveland responded right away, thanks to a 44-yard catch by WR Josh Gordon on a 3rd-and-8 pass by QB Robert Griffin III.
That happened with 11:19 left in the first quarter. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until inside of two minutes left in the half that Cleveland fans could savor another positive moment. The Buccaneers scored 24 unanswered points, including a 3-yard pass from QB Jameis Winston to RB Charles Sims, a 73-yard punt return in which P Andy Lee didn’t even attempt to get in the way, and a 34-yard pass from Winston to WR Mike Evans.
After that, Griffin and Gordon gave Browns fans a reason to smile again, connecting on a 43-yard touchdown pass with under two minutes to go in the first half to cut the deficit to 27-10.
Another storyline of the first half was the play in the trenches. Even though LT Joe Thomas didn’t play the whole first half, the other starters did and yielded five sacks. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers, who were playing with a rather-depleted line, held Cleveland to without a sack, and Winston often had an excessive amount of time to throw.
The backups entered the game in the second half. Mid-way through the third quarter, NT Danny Shelton forced a fumble that was recovered by CB Charles Gaines. Despite the offense taking over 11 yards away from the end zone, they could not capitalize and settled for a 26-yard field goal by K Travis Coons to make it a 27-13 game.
Aguayo hit a 27-yard field goal part-way through the fourth quarter to make it a 30-13 game. Tampa Bay later kneed it out to end the game. Cleveland dropped to 0-3 in the preseason.
We will have the next version of our 53-man roster projection posted on Saturday.
- QB Robert Griffin III: 8-of-14 for 119 yards, 1 TD.
- WR Josh Gordon: 2 catches, 87 yards, 1 TD.
- WR Taylor Gabriel: 6 catches, 60 yards.
- NT Danny Shelton was playing into the fourth quarter.
- CB Tracy Howard made a couple of nice plays in run support.
- The Buccaneers recorded 8 sacks, while Cleveland had 0.
- LT Joe Thomas and CB Joe Haden only played a series or two before exiting the game.
- It was much better to listen to announcers other than Mike Patrick and Solomon Wilcots.