Browns 14-3-14-0 — 31
Buccaneers 0-7-0-0 — 7
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Travis Benjamin Takes First Punt 53 Yards to the House
Well, that’s the kind of start the Browns were hoping for. After Desmond Bryant sacked Jameis Winston to complete a three-and-out on the opening series, Travis Benjamin took the ensuing punt and made one man miss before flying down the sideline for six.
Browns Double Their Lead With Clinical Drive
Special teams, defense, offense. The Browns are clicking on every facet right now.
Bryant, who is living in the backfield, again sacked Winston to halt the Bucs’ drive, which started off encouragingly with a 22-yard completion Louis Murphy.
On the subsequent drive, Josh McCown completed six of seven passes for 36 yards, Isaiah Crowell rattled off 19 yards on four carries and the Browns ate up over nine minutes of clock on a methodical 16-play, 80-yard drive. McCown capped it off three-yard touchdown toss to Brian Hartline, who made a spectacular catch in the side of the end zone.
Charles Gaines Interception Sets up Field Goal
The problems continued to pile up for the Bucs, as Winston quickly ended the team’s third possession by throwing an interception to Charles Gaines in his own territory. Winston’s offensive line is giving him absolutely zero help, but he attempted to force the throw on 3rd-and-11, and he was punished for it.
Tampa Bay’s defense held strong in the red zone, and Cleveland settled for the 36-yard field goal from Carey Spear.
Doug Martin Gets Bucs on the Board
After their first three possessions totaled just 31 yards, the Bucs only needed two plays to go 45 yards for a touchdown on their fourth. After a nice punt return from Kaelin Clay, Winston connected with Vincent Jackson for 26 yards, then Doug Martin broke a couple of tackles on his way to an impressive 19-yard touchdown run.
Martin has been turning heads this preseason, and he continues to look more like rookie Doug Martin than last-two-seasons Doug Martin. He finished with 40 yards on eight carries.
McCown Leads Another Long Touchdown Drive
Rivaling his long drive from the first quarter, McCown completed all six of his throws for 52 yards, capping the 78-yard drive with a seven-yard strike to tight end Gary Barnidge.
With Johnny Manziel out with an elbow injury, McCown is solidifying his role as QB1 with this performance.
New Quarterback, Similar Results
Thad Lewis came in for McCown and quickly put together a 62-yard scoring drive. He completed three of four passes for 60 yards, highlighted by a 48-yard reception from Josh Lenz, and he finished the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run.
The route is on.
The Cleveland Browns, who played without eight defensive backs a week ago, are expected to return Joe Haden and Tashaun Gipson back to the lineup for Saturday’s “dress rehearsal.” That gives Mike Pettine two key pieces of what is regarded as one of the best secondaries in the league, but rookie Jameis Winston appears ready for the challenge.
In just his second professional game last week, Winston showed flashes of potential stardom, as he completed eight of 13 passes for 90 yards to go with a short rushing touchdown. The numbers don’t jump off the page, but he was under pressure for much of the night and handled it well. When he got a little bit of time, he delivered throws like this one:
Tampa Bay’s offensive line will be the biggest key to Winston’s success this year. Against Cincy last week, the Bucs started rookies Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet at left tackle and right guard, respectively, and it wasn’t pretty.
They’ll have their hands full again in this one, as guys like Desmond Bryant, Xavier Cooper and Danny Shelton have been living in the backfield this preseason.
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