ANALYSIS: Browns play in another roller coaster late OT loss

Jake Adams headshot

Jake Adams

The big news leading into the Browns’ Sunday matchup against the Buccaneers was their Friday trade of Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a fifth-round draft pick. I believe the Browns felt rookie Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson Jr. were a good enough one-two punch in the backfield. So, instead of holding onto the veteran running back on a three-year, $15 million contact, they felt it was best to hold onto two solid backs for less money. Also, getting the two young backs more touches was something the coaching staff felt was important. 

Regardless, the Browns came out hot in Tampa Bay. The defense flexed its muscles with an early safety set up by a great punt from Britton Colquitt. As I stated earlier, the Browns wanted to get Chubb and Johnson going, and the playcalling reflected that. Chubb was dealt the duties of a workhorse back, while Johnson was catching passes out of the backfield to get into space.

The Browns’ offense continued to struggle moving the ball. These offensive struggles reared their head on the Browns’ defense as well as the team’s offensive ineptitude resulted in the defense spending most of the first quarter on the field, resulting in DeSean Jackson taking a jet sweep to the house.

After more three-and-outs, the Browns began to collapse in on themselves

The defense was shredded by Jameis Winston with the Florida State alum running in a touchdown that led to him rushing for a 14-yard touchdown

to make it 16-2.  

The Browns intercepted Winston in the waning seconds of the first half and had a chance to scrape some points across the board. Faced with a crucial 4th-and-2 inside the Tampa Bay red zone, rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield fumbled the ball out of bounds on fourth down, a crucial mistake from the rookie who didn’t have the awareness to tuck the ball and slide once past the marker.

Watching the first half, you’d think the Browns were en route to 0-16 again. I don’t know what mindset changed with the offense or Baker Mayfield from the weeks prior, but the Browns offense was lethargic. The line couldn’t get movement for the backs, Mayfield held onto the ball far too long, and the drops continued to plague the receiving crop.

After the half, the defense continued to get turnovers by forcing a Winston fumble, the 19th turnover the defense forced this season. Mayfield rewarded the defense for its effort, finding David Njoku for a 15-yard touchdown pass.

The Browns added another score on a one-yard touchdown run by Chubb, and, in typical Browns fashion, Sunday became a tale of two halves.

The defense came up with a big stop in the fourth quarter with Jabrill Peppers taking the subsequent punt inside the Tampa Bay 20-yard line. Mayfield connected with Jarvis Landry for a 16-yard touchdown pass, and all of a sudden, the game was tied at 23 with two minutes left to play.

It would come down to a Tampa Bay field goal to decide the game.

Chandler Catanzaro missed wide left, and the Browns headed to their fourth overtime game.

The Browns defense forced a key overtime interception and put the offense in prime field position. The offense, however, couldn’t capitalize with Carl Nassib getting revenge on his former team with a key sack on third down.

After a Tampa Bay punt, Peppers fumbled on the punt return, setting up Catanzaro with a shot at redemption — a 59-yard field-goal to win it. The fifth-year kicker snuck the ball over the uprights, and the Browns found themselves 2-4-1.

Jake Adams is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected]