Skip to main content


Final Score: Browns 22, Buccaneers 17


The Recap The Browns were able to outlast the Buccaneers in a back-and-forth, boxing match at FirstEnergy Stadium, topping Tampa Bay 22-17.
competitive teams find ways to win football games. The Browns did just that, winning their fourth in the past five games and improving to 5-3 heading into a key Thursday Night football clash against the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals.
Brian Hoyer had his first 300-yard game of the season, completing 21 of 33 with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Taylor Gabriel had five receptions for 87 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, and Miles Austin added three catches for 54 yards.
After a Hoyer interception early in the fourth quarter, many had pinned the Browns down for the count despite trailing 17-16. The Browns seemed like they weren't matching the intensity nor the play-making ability of the Buccaneers.
When they were pinned up against the ropes, Cleveland responded with a haymaker of their own.
Linebacker Craig Robertson charged through the middle of the formation, deflecting a Mike Koenen punt, altering the flight of the ball and setting up the Browns in scoring position. Two plays later Hoyer lofted a gorgeous pass to wide receiver Gabriel for a 34-yard touchdown for the lead.
Tampa Bay drove to the Cleveland 37 with under two minutes remaining but a pass interference penalty on fourth-and-1 and a subsequent incompletion by Mike Glennon sealed the win for the Browns, who are 4-1 at FirstEnergy Stadium and have won three straight at home.
For most of the game, it didn't just seem like Tampa Bay had a firm grip on the momentum and the lead --they did.
The Buccaneers consistently moved the football for all four quarters, highlighted by a pair of 24-yard touchdown receptions from rookie receiver Mike Evans. Reserve running back Bobby Rainey finished with 87 yards on 19 carries and quarterback Mike Glennon overcame two first-half interceptions to do just enough to secure Tampa's Bay second win of the season.
What's impressive about the victory is that the mistakes piled up for the Browns and the Buccaneers arguably outplayed Cleveland. In the second quarter, a Donte Whitner sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery was wiped out from an illegal-use-of-hands penalty from Desmond Bryant. In the third quarter, Hoyer tripped and fell over his fullback, Kiero Small, turning a manageable third-down into a punt. Special teamer Marlon Moore committed a 15-yard interference penalty on a punt fair catch.
But as coach Mike Pettine says, style points don't matter. The Browns are 5-3 for the first time since 2007.
Best Teamwork
Towards the end of the first quarter, the Browns only led 3-0 and Tampa Bay was arguably playing better on offense – totaling a whopping 40 plays in the opening quarter. The Buccaneers were content on testing Cleveland's secondary, but they paid the price. Glennon's 50-yard pass was underthrow, Joe Haden tipped the ball in the air towards his teammate Donte Whitner. The veteran safety swooped in for the interception and rumbled 54 yards down the field.
Best drive of the game
At one point, there was a window of opportunity for the Browns.
On the opening possession of the second half, the Browns used big passing plays from quarterback Brian Hoyer to both Gabriel (20 yards) and tight end Jim Dray (26 yards) to enter the red zone. But just as they showed in the first half, Cleveland's offense ran into brick wall when they tried to punch it into the end zone. Kicker Billy Cundiff trotted onto the field for another three-point attempt. It would give the Browns a 12-10 lead, but it would be accompanied by a sour taste.
But stop the presses: Buccaneers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy jumped offsides on the Cundiff field goal attempt, giving the Browns a fourth-and-inches chance, which they converted on. Two plays later quarterback Brian Hoyer lofted a pass to running back Terrance West in the flat and the Browns took a 16-10 lead instead.
Special Teams Supremacy
Tampa Bay opened the game with quite an impressive drive – dosing in Rainey with deep fade passes to Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. The Buccaneers found themselves all the way into red zone before the Cleveland defense buckled down and forced a Patrick Murray 31-yard field goal attempt. The kick barely made it off the ground, though, before it was blocked by Browns defensive lineman Billy Winn. The 25-year-old hurdled over two Buccaneers linemen, surging into the direct path of Murray's leg. The Browns turned the big momentum play into three points of their own.
Running game issues still existent
The issues in the running game – both stopping it on defense and reigniting it on offense – were prevalent. Tampa Bay was able to rush for 96 yards in the first half compared to Cleveland's 14. Seven of Buccaneers running back Bobby Rainey's 15 first half carries went for first downs. On the other side, neither Terrance West (15 carries, 48 yards) nor Ben Tate (10 carries, 3 yards) were able to find holes in the Tampa Bay defense.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content