Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quick Thoughts Following Browns vs. Buccaneers

Here are just a few initial things immediately following the Bucs' overtime thriller at home.

View photos of the Week 7 game against the Cleveland Browns.

-Redemption: the other 'r' word that's pretty dang sweet. Kicker Chandler Catanzaro will be the first one to attest to it. After missing a 40-yard field goal that would have sent the Bucs home with a win in regulation, he hit an incredible 59 yarder with just under two minutes to go in overtime to win the dang game for the Buccaneers. It was a drive that saw two major sacks on quarterback Jameis Winston, which backed the Bucs up to a third-and-29 situation. Not great. The Bucs were able to make up some of the yardage and get to the Browns' 41-yard line. I don't know if I can accurately describe the incredulousness of those in the press box as everyone realized the Bucs were going for the field goal. I mean redemption was the goal, but whatever is better than redemption was the result… A win. A win is better. And the Bucs got it.


-I believe it was the Bucs' balance that helped them to overcome four total turnovers in the game. Going into today, Cleveland had the best turnover margin in the league, sitting at +7 on the season. That rang true as quarterback Jameis Winston was picked off twice and the Bucs lost two fumbles, giving the Browns a grand total of four takeaways on the day. The Browns lost a fumble on a punt return in overtime, bringing their turnover margin for the day to +3. It's not often you get that and still get handed a loss. It's a credit to the Bucs' defense as well as the rushing effort by the offense. The Bucs scored three rushing touchdowns for the first time since 2012 in a single game. The run game also helped as far as time of possession. The Bucs had a 37:43 to 30:27 advantage there. The Bucs' defense forced six straight punts to start the game then got a turnover on downs. They finally surrendered their first points in the second quarter. They also came up huge in overtime, recovering a fumble and stopping Cleveland on each possession.

-A place where the defense particularly excelled in was third down conversions. Cleveland was just three-of-14 on third down. Fourth down efficiency was even worse for the Browns as they weren't able to convert on either attempt they made. One attempt in particular was at the goal line and the Bucs' came up huge faced with a fourth-and-1 situation. It was quarterback Baker Mayfield that attempted to force it in from the one-yard-line and as the trenchmen collided, it ended up being linebacker Devante Bond credited with the touchdown-preventing tackle. Bond was in because of a couple injuries to the linebacking corps. Both Kwon Alexander and the rookie Jack Cichy exited the game early with knee injuries. Here's to hoping neither injuries are serious…

-Carl Nassib. That is all.

Ok, not quite. The first-year Buccaneer had a MONSTER day against the team that cut him after the preseason. Not only did he tally his first sack of the season, he got his second, too, and it came at such a clutch time in overtime for the Buccaneers. The Browns had third-and-3 at the Bucs' 38-yard line after intercepting Winston on the Bucs' previous possession. It was sudden death and Cleveland was just about in field goal range before Nassib came in and dropped Mayfield for a loss of seven yards, forcing the Browns to punt. He was all over the field the whole game, even in pass coverage. No, seriously. He had a pass breakup in the second quarter as he found himself playing corner while Mayfield attempted a pass to running back Nick Chubb. Call it redemption, revenge or what have you – either way, it's gotta be sweet.

-The Bucs battled against field position all day. Cleveland's punter Britton Colquitt averaged 51.7 yards per punt today and there were multiple times the Bucs found themselves in a compromising position because of his leg. Namely, their first possession where they started at the one-yard line and the Browns forced a safety for their only points of the first quarter. It wasn't the only time during the game the Bucs had to start at their own one-yard-line either. Talk about making the offense go the long way.

-Just a quick little thing on the Bucs' conservative play at the end… in those situations, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't, in my opinion. Theoretically, a 40-yard field goal shouldn't be an issue. With Cleveland's propensity for takeaways, you don't want to risk coming away with no points by keeping your offense on the field and throwing into potentially dangerous situations. I mean, what if they had and something like that happened? Then it would have been, why didn't the Bucs run the ball to run the clock out and kick the field goal? You really can't win in situations like that where something goes wrong. It all thankfully turned out okay in the end.