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Postgame Recap: Buccaneers defeat the Browns 26-23 in overtime

Your weekly knee-jerk reaction to the latest Bucs contest.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t always write our immediate recap and reaction to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers games on Bucs Nation, but when I do, I prefer an overtime victory.

Following their Week 7 contest against the visiting Cleveland Browns, the Bucs now stand at 3-3. The New Orleans Saints are in action this afternoon facing the Baltimore Ravens and the Atlanta Falcons host the New York Giants for Monday Night Football tomorrow.

With Carolina’s victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Bucs currently sit 3rd in the NFC South..

But enough about those guys, let’s get back to our guys.

The Buccaneers defense had struggled at a record pace before this game, but were able to hold the Cleveland Browns on their opening possession and force an early punt. However, good feelings quickly turned sour as Tampa Bay’s offense ran the ball twice with Peyton Barber and were stopped in the backfield both times leading to a safety as the Browns took a 2-0 lead.

One thing stayed consistent throughout the first half though, and it was defense. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense allowed just one first-down following the first drive of the half and held Cleveland to under 100-yards of offense.

For Jameis Winston and the offense, it was a rare situation to find themselves not playing from behind or trying to keep pace in a shoot-out, and they turned their defense’s efforts into a 16-2 lead heading into the half.

It wasn’t all pretty though, as a late first half interception thrown by Winston cut short a drive which likely would have led to points, and then a Cameron Brate fumble gave Cleveland’s offense their best shot at scoring before the break.

Lavonte David continued to be a hero on the defense and showed just one reason he was named a captain on the team this past week as he stripped quarterback Baker Mayfield as he tried to scramble for a first-down conversion with just 26 seconds left in the second quarter.

SECOND HALF

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers began the third quarter much like the ended the second; with a turnover. Myles Garrett got around left tackle Donovan Smith to force a fumble as Winston was preparing to throw the ball.

It was the third turnover of the game up to that point, but this time the Browns turned it into points as Mayfield found tight end David Njoku.

The Bucs got the score back late in the third quarter when rookie Ronald Jones carried the ball across the goal line for his first career touchdown following an incredibly catch by tight end O.J. Howard on the previous play.

With a two score lead entering the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay was in a great position to break their three-game losing streak dating back to Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cleveland wouldn’t go down without a fight though, and with more than twelve minutes remaining, Nick Chubb got a touchdown of his own to bring his team back into striking distance.

The Browns got all the way down to the Tampa Bay one-yard line with five minutes remaining in the game, but the Bucs’ defense held strong and forced a turnover on downs when Mayfield failed to cross the goal line on a quarterback sneak.

Winston and his offense took over inside their own one-yard line but were unable to convert a single first down and ended up punting to Jabril Peppers who brought the 43-yard punt back 32-yards and gave his team another chance on their opponent’s 16-yard line.

On the very next snap, Jarvis Landry found open space in Tampa Bay’s zone coverage, brought in a 15-yard bullet from Mayfield and low-crawled the remaining yard. The extra point was good, and Cleveland had officially completed the comeback.

But, there was still time on the clock.

On the Bucs’ final possession of regulation Winston looked composed and patient rather than displaying the hurried desire to win Bucs fans have become accustomed to. It wouldn’t last.

He helped put his team into a position to win by finding Mike Evans for a 21-yard completion and a crucial first-down. After two runs and with four seconds left, it was all on Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro.

Hue Jackson saved his final timeout of the game specifically for the moment.

After the timeout, the snap was good, the hold was good, and Catanzaro pushed it right.

OVERTIME

I’m convinced the Cleveland Browns are just seeking out ways to circumvent NFL practice rules limiting how long the players can be in pads and how much contact they can have.

It seems like every week the Browns are in an overtime contest, and this week was no different. To compound things for Tampa Bay, Cleveland won the toss and got the ball first with a chance to win it all.

Where the defense faltered in regulation, they stepped up in overtime. A three and out by the Browns and Tampa Bay got the ball back needing any kind of points to win the game.

The drive started on their own 11-yard line and three snaps later they had the ball near midfield with a first-down after DeSean Jackson brought in his first catch of the game for an 11-yard gain.

Looking to move into scoring position, Winston tried to get the ball to Chris Godwin and was intercepted by linebacker, Jamie Collins.

The Browns responded with another three-and-out capped off by former Browns’ defensive lineman Carl Nassib getting to Mayfield for the second-time on the day.

Cleveland scored once off Buccaneers turnovers. Once.

Tampa Bay only got one takeaway in this game. It came in overtime, and the Bucs took it from Cleveland’s 48-yard line to the 41-yard line for another Chandler Catanzaro field goal try. Again, for the win.

This time, the snap was good, the hold was good, and Catanzaro’s 59-yard field goal try with 1:55 left in overtime was GOOD!

It wasn’t pretty. It probably shouldn't have happened. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Cleveland Browns, snapped their three-game losing streak, and are .500 with plenty of season left.