Jameis Winston, Buccaneers Beat Baker Mayfield, Browns on Late FG

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IAugust 24, 2019

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 23: Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sacked by Chris Smith #50 of the Cleveland Browns in the second quarter of the preseason game at Raymond James Stadium on August 23, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)
Will Vragovic/Getty Images

Both Baker Mayfield and Jameis Winston played the first half in Friday night's Week 3 preseason matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Matt Gay nailed a 21-yard field goal with 18 seconds remaining to give the Buccaneers a 13-12 victory at Raymond James Stadium. But it was the defenses that impressed the most.

Pro Bowl defensive end Myles Garrett only played one drive, starting the game for Cleveland and recording a tackle, but the Browns' first-team pass rush made a statement.

On the Bucs' opening drive, starting quarterback Jameis Winston was sacked twice—once courtesy of Olivier Vernon and the other time from Sheldon Richardson:


"The Cleveland Browns' Pass Rush" - A horror movie coming this fall. @Browns 📺: #CLEvsTB on @NFLNetwork Watch on mobile: https://t.co/Gbvyv2FEyq https://t.co/WGLpxcT7D4

Mina Kimes @minakimes

Sheeeesh this Browns defensive line. You can’t double team Garrett anymore.

Winston was sacked five times, with Denzel Ward and Christian Kirksey getting in on the action before a second one by Vernon. Friday marked the second consecutive week his first-team offensive line was outplayed, and he only went 9-of-19 passing for 88 yards: 

JennaLaineESPN @JennaLaineESPN

Last week, the issues were busts in protection. This week, it's just the Bucs' OL getting physically overpowered. This is a unit that did not upgrade this offseason.

JennaLaineESPN @JennaLaineESPN

Friendly reminder: Dirk Koetter used a lot of max protect, which helped a lot on those long-developing plays. Bruce Arians does not. More strain on the offensive line, but more options in the passing game. Ball has to come out though. QB has to be decisive.

The 2015 top overall pick did connect four times for 52 yards with Chris Godwin, including this 15-yarder:


We have a feeling you'll be seeing this Winston to Godwin connection a lot this season. @Jaboowins @CGtwelve_ 📺: #CLEvsTB on @NFLNetwork Watch on mobile: https://t.co/Gbvyv2FEyq https://t.co/IpKDyjojfH

It wasn't until midway through the second quarter that Tampa's defense got to Mayfield. Rakeem Nunez-Roches—who ended the contest with two QB takedowns—sacked the 2018 top overall pick on 1st-and-goal from the 4-yard line for a loss of eight. As a result, Cleveland was held to its third field goal of the half from Austin Seibert.  

Mayfield's evening ended by tossing an interception to second-year safety Jordan Whitehead. In his longest start of the preseason, the 24-year-old 2017 Heisman Trophy winner was 10-of-26 passing for 72 yards, no touchdowns and a pick. Starting skill-position players Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and Nick Chubb were not at his disposal. 


Jordan Whitehead comes up with interception to close out the half for the @Buccaneers! 📺: #CLEvsTB on @NFLNetwork Watch on mobile: https://t.co/Gbvyv2FEyq https://t.co/QzZ6ptcELV

Drew Stanton replaced Mayfield after the break, while Blaine Gabbert came in for Winston. The 29-year-old Gabbert's outing was shortened by a shoulder injury suffered on an eight-yard scramble. 

He was replaced by Ryan Griffin, who produced the game's lone touchdown with a 20-yard pass to tight end Jordan Leggett with 19 seconds remaining in the third quarter:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @Buccaneers

Leggett it, Krewe! #GoBucs | #CLEvsTB https://t.co/nsdYrXbNYs

The Browns notched seven sacks as Devaroe Lawrence added two in the second half:

The Checkdown @thecheckdown

Browns just notched their SEVENTH sack of the night. That whole defensive line is terrifying 😱😱 @Browns https://t.co/gSdDWG3pQw

Garrett is undoubtedly the leader of the Browns pass rush, but he has seen limited action in the preseason. 


What's Next? 

Both teams will have their last preseason games Thursday. The Buccaneers (2-1) are traveling to Dallas to take on the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium, while Cleveland (2-1) will host the Detroit Lions at FirstEnergy Stadium.