Okay, where shall we begin? That was one of, if not the craziest Buccaneers game I have ever watched. This game was the tale of two halves for the second straight week for Tampa Bay. This time it was a different outcome and it took some extra time to find out that outcome. The Buccaneers were able to squeak out a 26-23 overtime win against the Cleveland Browns and possibly save their season. There is a lot to get to in this one, so let’s not waste any time.
How They Started
Well, it was not the most ideal start for the Buccaneers. The Browns got the ball to start the game and the Browns had to punt. So all is good right? The defense stopped them and things are looking up! Not quite. The Browns pinned the punt at the 1 yard line and that was where the Bucs would start their opening drive. The first play was a handoff to Peyton Barber that ended in a near safety, then a false start penalty, then another run. You can probably guess what happened. Peyton Barber was stopped well short of the line of scrimmage and the score was now 2-0 in favor of the Browns. The Bucs had to give the ball back to the Browns after the safety and the defense, led by linebackers coach/interim defensive coordinator Mark Duffner got the job done again and forced the Browns to punt. Tampa Bay got the ball and drove down the field, but stalled just before they hit the redzone. Chandler Catanzaro nailed a 38 yard field goal and the Bucs led 3-2. The defense stepped up again on the next drive and the Browns had to give the ball right back. The Bucs drove down again but this time finished it off with a end around from Desean Jackson for a 14 yard touchdown and the Bucs lead was 9-2 after Catanzaro missed the extra point. The defense would shut out the Browns in the first half. Okay, technically the Browns did have 2 points, but none of those were scored on the defense. Well done. Now back to the action, the Bucs got the ball and had a pretty nice drive that ended with Jameis Winston diving into the endzone for 6. Catanzaro would make the extra point and the score was now 16-2 in favor of the good guys. The Bucs had a chance to produce even more points in the first half, but two turnovers killed them. Bucs have to clean that up and do it fast.
At The Half
At the half, the Buccaneers led 16-2. It was a interesting first half. The Bucs defense actually shut down an opposing team’s offense. The offense was in a good rhythm until Winston under threw OJ Howard just a tad and it was picked off. Winston did a lot with his feet this whole game because the Browns started to play man coverage later in the half, but my only question is why can’t these receivers beat man coverage as easy as they should? Mike Evans is a physical freak, Desean Jackson is still very fast, and OJ Howard is a great mixture of size and speed. Oh well, this game was crazy in the first half. If you thought that half was nuts, just wait.
How They Finished Part 1
Buckle up for this one. The second half did not get off to a good start. The Bucs received the ball and on the second play of the half, tackle Donovan Smith got beat by Myles Garrett and Garrett got to Winston and forced a fumble that was recovered by the Browns. The Browns would capitalize and score their first touchdown of the game as Baker Mayfield tossed a 15 yard pass to David Njoku to cut the Bucs lead to 16-9. Both teams would then trade punts. Tampa Bay would extend their lead after a Ronald Jones rushing touchdown, the first of his career and the Bucs now led 23-9. Everything is good, right? Well the Browns would respond to that with a touchdown of their own and the Bucs lead was now 23-16. Things got real interesting when the Bucs had to punt on their drive and gave the ball right back to the Browns. They drove all the way down to the 1 yard line where the Bucs defense would face a 4th and goal from the 1 and they made a stand! The Bucs finally figured out how to defend the Quarterback sneak and stopped Baker Mayfield short of the goal line. The Bucs got the ball and went 3 and out. That’s no bueno. The Browns would score a touchdown on a pass to Jarvis Landry to tie the game after Baker Mayfield scrambled for a first down on a 2nd and 26. That is unacceptable. So there we had it. It was now a tie ball game at 23 and the Bucs had the ball. Winston was sharp on the drive, leading the Bucs down to the Browns 35 yard line and then Dirk Koetter made one of the biggest mistakes in the whole game. He played too conservative and instead of trying to advance the ball closer, ran with Jacquizz Rodgers and let the clock run down. Chandler Catanzaro would come out for a chance to win the game. Catanzaro’s 40 yard attempt went wide right. Oh boy. We are going to overtime in Tampa.
How They Finished Part 2
Overtime began and the Browns won the toss and elected to receive. The Browns would go 3 and out and now the Bucs had a chance to win the game with a field goal or touchdown. The Bucs drive ended when Winston threw a bad interception right into the hands of Jamie Collins and it looked as if the Browns were poised to win. Then a former Brown that is good with numbers said not today Baker. Carl Nassib got a huge sack on 3rd down, his 2nd of the day, to force the Browns to punt. The Bucs got the ball and went 3 and out. Bryan Anger came on for the punt and booted it to Jabrill Peppers, who fumbled the ball during the return and the Bucs recovered. They had one more chance. Penalties would put the Bucs in a 3rd and 29 when Winston would throw a beautiful pass to Desean Jackson to get in range for Catanzaro. Okay, let’s try this again. Catanzaro was the reason the Bucs were in this position. If he had made the extra point earlier, it would have been the Bucs with the 24-23 lead. If he had made the 40 yarder at the end of the game, overtime wouldn’t have been required. So here we go… the kick is up… it’s curving…. it’s curving annnnd ITS THROUGH!! The Bucs win on a miraculous kick! 26-23 is your final.
Like I said earlier, this was probably one of the craziest games I have ever watched. This game was up and down from the start. The Bucs had to win this game and they did just that. I don’t care how they get it done. They had more points than the other team and that means wins. Should Catanzaro have a job Monday morning? I personally don’t think so, but he will keep his job just because of that kick. I picked the Bucs to win, but not like this. The defense played well until the 4th quarter when they got tired, but man did they come through when the Bucs needed them to. Shoutout to Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib, who both had monster days. On to the offense, Winston was up and down. The first half was great until that interception. After that interception the Browns defense got some momentum and started to figure out what the Bucs were doing on offense. He didn’t play well in the 2nd half, but he drove them down the field late in the 4th quarter for the potential game winner, which was missed and then in overtime, hit Desean Jackson with a nice pass to get them into field goal range. This game was insane. The Bucs keep their season alive with a win. Now can they go on a win streak? This weekend in Cincinnati will be a big one.