The Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are two teams filled with high expectations and explosive weapons on the offensive side of the ball entering the 2019 season, but you wouldn’t believe that if this was your first time watching either offense play this preseason. Both teams struggled offensively throughout the first game, with the Bucs scoring no points while their starters were in the game and the Browns’ starting unit settling for just three field goals of their own. At the half, the Bucs had compiled just 78 yards of total offense.
With an injury to Blaine Gabbert on the Bucs’ first drive of the second half, Ryan Griffin was forced to take over quarterback duties and playing the lion’s share of the second half he, Dare Ogunbowale and Tanner Hudson were able to spark the reserve offense enough to pull out a 13-12 victory.
OG Alex Cappa The entirety of the Bucs’ first-string offensive line really struggled on Friday night, allowing Tampa Bay to gain just 19 rushing yards on 10 attempts and 78 total net yards of offense while allowing up the Browns to sack Jameis Winston five times in the first half. But Cappa was undoubtedly the low point.
Early in the game, following one sack that was allowed when Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon beat offensive tackles Demar Dotson and Donovan Smith, Cappa was beat by Chris Smith allowing Browns’ defensive end and Sheldon Richardson to reach Winston for a sack that pushed the Bucs back to a 4th-and-26. Three drives later he would give up another sack to Smith and add a holding penalty on the drive after that. The second-year guard was beat consistently, rarely seemed comfortable and hasn’t looked as bad all preseason and training camp as he did on Friday night.
Special Teams Unit It was a rough night for the special teams unit, despite the unit being on the field for a whopping seven punts. The unit tasked with blocking for Bradley Pinion struggled early, allowing the Bucs’ punter to be hit on the team’s first punt while M.J. Stewart allowed a pressure on Pinion’s next attempt that ended up in a tipped punt, giving Cleveland great starting position at the Tampa Bay 36-yard line following a six yard return.
K Matt Gay After starting the preseason a perfect 3-for-3 on field goal attempts, including a 55-yard attempt in Heinz Field in the Bucs’ first preseason game against the Steelers and a game-winning 48-yard field goal against the Dolphins in the team’s second preseason game, Gay lined up for a 36-yard field goal on Friday night and bounced it off the right goalpost.
QB Jameis Winston While Winston was pressured early and often on Friday night and without his top option in Mike Evans, he really struggled throughout the entire first half of the game as the first-string played a full two quarters. Winston missed multiple deep balls to Breshad Perriman and couldn’t get the offense going at any point, leading the Bucs into field goal range just once and leaving the game with no points on the board to show for it. Winston ended the night 9-of-19 for 88 yards, no touchdowns and took five sacks for 29 yards.