It was another defensively dominated game as the Bucs took on the Browns Friday night. Both starting offenses were ineffective, and the Tampa Bay offense in particular could not protect quarterback Jameis Winston. The result of this led to six field goals kicked in the game, with only one touchdown coming form the Bucs. In the end, Ryan Griffin orchestrated a long drive down field to set up Matt Gay for the game winning kick with 15 seconds left, as  lone touchdown as the Bucs won 13-12.

Here were the most impressive players from the game.

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Pewter Player of the Game

DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches
In all of the Bucs pass rushing attempts, it was only Nunez-Roches that was able to get to the quarterback until the fourth quarter. Nunez-Roches recorded two sacks on the night, taking down Baker Mayfield for one and Drew Stanton on the other. He’s been getting more playing time with the injury to Vita Vea and “Nacho” is making the most of it, while also playing for the entirety of the game.

Outside of the stat sheet, Nunez-Roches took on many double teams and helped clog the line of scrimmage against the run. He’s proving that the Bucs can feel more confident in playing him in important minutes if Vea were to miss time in the regular season.

S Jordan Whitehead
The second-year safety was in on the action early and often during Friday night’s game. Whitehead had a crucial pass breakup in the end zone which held the Browns to a field goal. He later followed that up by picking off Baker Mayfield on the last play of the half when the Browns were attempting to get into field goal range.

Whitehead was also the team leader in tackles in the first half with four, making his presence felt both in the pass and run game. Wherever the play was, Whitehead was involved with it in one way or another. He held his own in coverage and made timely tackles in open space with good form if he wasn’t getting his hands on the ball. His final stat line was four tackles, two passes defended and one interception. It was a strong game for a player that is in contention to be Tampa Bay’s starting safety.

WR Chris Godwin
The Bucs offense had a difficult evening protecting against the Browns’ pass rush, but when they did, the ball was finding Chris Godwin. The true highlight play for the offense came on a screen pass to Godwin when he had a nasty stiff arm on the defender and broke free for 20 yards. He was the top target all night for Jameis Winston, being on the receiving end on four of Winston’s eight completions. Godwin’s 52 receiving yards also led the team and was over half of Winston’s total passing yards. He looked like a number one receiver with Mike Evans not playing.

CB Carlton Davis
Davis is another second-year player that looks more comfortable out there with a year of experience under his belt. During a big third-and-short play in the red zone, Davis quickly read a pick play that was designed at him. He instantly reacted and did a great job of getting his helmet on the ball and hands of the receiver as soon as the pass got there. He later had a great recovery on a pass to the back of the end zone that was in Rishard Higgins’ hands, but punched out by Davis. He made a nice open field tackle on a third down to force the Browns to punt, wrapping up a good game.

QB Ryan Griffin
Griffin’s night started a little earlier than expected when Blaine Gabbert exited the game with a shoulder injury. It was no problem for Griffin, though, as he took the Bucs down the field and threw a touchdown pass to Jordan Leggett on his second offensive drive. Griffin has been the quarterback responsible for the Bucs only touchdowns over the last two preseason games. One week after leading a game winning drive to set up the game winning field goal, he did the same this Friday night with three minutes left on the clock. Griffin caught fire and made throws to Justin Watson, Bobo Wilson, Scotty Miller, and more as he navigated the Bucs offense down the field and put them in close field goal range to hit the game-winning kick. That final drive was over seven minutes long and went for 72 yards. His night ended going 11-of-17 for 121 yards and a touchdown.

TE Tanner Hudson 
Hudson continues to have an excellent preseason as he once again was able show off his talent as a receiver. It was another second half for Hudson in which he was a big factor in helping the Bucs drive down the field for a game winning kick. He made some highlight reel plays as well, which included another one-handed catch for a first-down. His most important moment came on a big time 15-yard reception on a third-and-13 that continued the drive. He ended the night with a team best seven receptions and a second best 49-receiving yards, which was only behind Godwin. Hudson has been a star for the Bucs in this preseason and is making this a very difficult decision for the coaching staff.

 

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30 COMMENTS

  1. Hudson once again looked really good and is making it hard to even consider putting him on the practice squad considering a team could scoop him up. Its kind of crazy to me the wealth we have at the tight end position when its likely the shallowest position talent wise in the nfl. Too bad Hudson can’t play right guard lol

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    • Everyone evaluating our right Guard situation need to be educated about current preseason performance. Cappa is actually, very likely our highest rated OL performer this preseason. He was nearly perfect first two games, until Cleveland, when gave up sack. But OT play has been very BELOW average, unfortunately both at RT and LT. If we struggle to win this year, it will be because OL play, and definitely OT’s!!! BA just hasn’t had time to address yet?! (Busy fixing DB’s and D). (OT-Trent Brown, Skins, looking good, trade anyone??? Dont know what value Bucs have for Washington to consider). However, GOOD NEWS so far, RG is NOT our greatest current problem on OL. Sadly, OT and no OL depth will be achilles heel this year, and in fact, proof OL poor; Benenoch will actually make team, and just watch, his performance???, comments NOT required!!!! I am praying Bucs take 4 OL players next year, Round 1-4!!!! Go Bucs.

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  2. With all due respect to Scottie, calling Whitehead a cut and Isaiah a make was one of his weirder initial calls. Jordan looked good last year (kid just flies to the ball), looked jacked in the practice photos I saw earlier in camp, and started off as a starter coming off a 4th round pick where Licht other than kicker almost doesn’t cut his draft picks.

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  3. Excellent Article. I went into this year questioning why we drafted 3 defensive backs each of the last two years. I doubted that any of last years would last after we chose three this year. But Whitehead really did play well last year and this game he was on fire. Carlton Davis looked good too. I wonder if Bunting ends up as a backup, with Edwards being the only viable starter this year of the backs taken last spring? ROJO should get a mention too. Tanner Hudson should easily make the roster.

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  4. All of the defense looked good.

    The Browns started four drives across midfield but the defense only gave up four field goals.
    They did their job and the team won because of it.

    They held Mayfield to 10 0f 26 for 72 yards and 1 interception.

    Bowles kept 7 defensive backs and 5 safeties last year on the Jets. Would not be surprised if we did something similar this year.

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  5. I agree with this entire list.

    I think what can be taken away is that as a unit the defense is ahead of the offense (1st and 2nd string).

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  6. Hudson looks good enough to where we should trade Brate for a real RG, or RT. Speaking of Brate, what’s his deal? I hadn’t heard about him being injured. Before we give to much props to the defense keep in mind Chubb, Odel, and Landry didn’t play.

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    • Trading Brate offers no cap relief to offset the contract of a new RG. His $7m is already on the books.

      Before we give too many props to the Browns, remember that Mike Evans, Justin Evans, Lavonte David, and Vita Vea didn’t play in this practice game.

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      • If we trade Brate his 7 mil contract goes with it. That’s how trades work. If we release him then We are in the hook for his salary.

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        • If traded Brate’s salary and cap number go with him. The poster who posted this info is correct.

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      • You have no idea how the trades and salary works stick to your day job

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        • David1121 I do know how trades work. Every contract is different. Done contracts owe dead money when you Trade them due to bonuses (signing, roster, and work out). Brate holds no dead money if we trade him which means the team we trade him to will be responsable for his full Salary unless he has played regular season games. We could trade him before the first season game and not owe him a dime.

          https://overthecap.com/salary-cap/tampa-bay-buccaneers/

          Make sure in the drop box to the right you change the category to trade after June 1st. You will see brate is owed no dead money and his full 7 mil will be under cap savings.

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    • Keep in mind Mike Evans did not play. We played who we had and they played who they had and we won.

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  7. The defence made Baker M look like he was guessing all night. Great job with their backs against the wall. Offense was truly offensive up and down the line. Winston once again proved he is the worst long ball thrower in the league.Seems to me he would make a really decent West Coast Offence QB. I also didnt like seeing RoJo returning kicks, it should be Dare returning kicks he has better vision and is much shiftier than our other backs.

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  8. Ryan Griffin looked good again this week, Jameis had no protection but seemed to be holding on longer than he use to and is not throwing a long ball to avoid INTS, Winston is being held back by design.
    If that is their definition of QB whispering Well we have all seen the results.
    Good news Ryan Griffin with injury to Blaine will probably make the team.
    Off season of no change on O line is now surfacing. Basically the starters were blown out by the Browns.

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    • Posters here don’t like hearing the truth BAB. The Browns starting Defensive line put on an impressive display of how a pass rush is suppose to look. We..have not had that kind of rush since the Sapp days. Give their starting D line credit. It was awesome and impressive. Jameis still has problems holding the ball way to long. It will hurt him again this season. he has not changed that. I like the kid Griffin. He needs more playing time. It was good to see our RB JOnes run the ball. he seems to have a lot more confidence this year. Like I’ve said, We’d better call Mr. Clowney..Quick. Our 1st team D line looked pretty bad. I didn’t see the vaulted Mr. Suh anywhere..but on the ground. GO BUCS…But you gotta do somethin to improve our D line…QUICK.

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  9. Interesting how we haven’t seen much of WR Spencer Schnell since the Steelers game. Not much of Emmanuel Hall or DeMarcus Lodge either. Practice Squad? I see some improvement in the back-up O-line.

    Most Impressive to me was that, as someone else here mentioned, “in the past we would have lost this game”. I see some signs that the culture is changing.

    The Browns and Baker Mayfield came in here with a lot of hype and media pimping. newly resurrected Browns fans, who of course live right here, showed up in their brand new orange hats because 20 years ago they lived in Akron. Oh sure, while the Brownies sucked, they became Bucs fans……………until last night. Too bad the attempt to have a Tampa Bay Dawg Pound failed and Baker Mayfield didn’t look like he was going to be on the cover of GQ anytime soon.

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    • They’re probably hiding him for the practice squad. Arians has mentioned (or implied) that some folks might not see as many snaps due to this reason.

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  10. Preference the following comments with IMO. Rojo is not a kickoff return man. Who cares if Hudson can’t block or play special teams? Griffin should get a lot of reps with the starters. Ogunboele is a top 2 RB. We might have a kicker. I like BA and staff. Young DB’s are developing into a strong position group. Jameis has had way to many QB coaches in his carreer BUT I like the way he is protecting the ball. Someone needs to tell White that you have to wait till the snap before you tackle the QB. Bad breath does not constitute pass interference. Finally (It breaks my heart to say this) it’s time to part ways with JPP. We need to buy some new OL players or Vita and Suh are going to have to play both sides of the ball.

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    • Great post – agree with it all and mostly the “Bad Breath, PI” – refs are way too involved in the game.

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  11. MJ Stewart balled out. He should be on the list.
    Tanner Hudson dropped a TD

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  12. I’m not going to make judgments (positive or negative) on the offense or the defense as a whole at this point – been to too many Buccaneer preseason rodeos to fall into that trap.

    However, if you want a place to worry, our OLIne still cannot pass protect. It’s not:
    1) chemistry (that was the first excuse when they were relatively new to each other years ago);
    2) coaching (remember the George Warhop witch hunt);
    3) experience (no more rookies)

    Maybe it is talent? Maybe it is Licht’s failing to acquire talent on the Oline…maybe.

    One thing’s for sure – that performance will not do as a dress rehearsal for the season.

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  13. A day later more convinced we need to make changes. Trade, release Brate, JPP, maybe a couple others and do our best to find at least one starting caliber O lineman and if possible more. I get that there aren’t that many out there, but it’s clear we don’t have many either. Really exhausting to have to continue pointing out we drafted a small school CB top of the 2nd round instead of getting a starting O lineman. God for bid we trade some WR’s/TE’s where we are over stocked for players we must have. Starters and back-ups are terrible.

    I really like what Bowles has put together on D. Scheme, coaching, new young talent. They’ll still likely struggle at times, but obvious step forward. Absolutely see no improvement in the offense. And blaming Winston for holding the ball is a joke. Clamoring for the next great RB is stupid. This starts up front.

    After six months of retooling, new schemes and new coaches, this is what we have. Licht and BA have fumbled this so far. Do whatever we can now or just start planning for next offseason.

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    • You want to release Brate? LOL!

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      • Trade Brate, release JPP. Go after starting O lineman and use freed up money to pay for them. Anyone that thinks this O line is going to better is delusional. Same players, same results. Easy bandwagons to jump on are that Jamies and RB’s are the problem. Source of the problem is the line.

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  14. I was “most impressed” with the fact that BA let the offensive line return to the field in the second half as opposed to taking their jerseys and telling them to head for the parking lot.

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  15. I have been saying for quite some time now that Whitehead needed to get a chance to show why he can be a starter..I’m glad that he played well.

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  16. I hate to break up the Love fest here. But where is our Pass Rush? Perhaps you guys were watching a different 1st half? Typical Buc fans..raving about offensive needs when its our Lack of a strong Defensive line which has caused us to miss the playoffs for what? The last 12 yrs. No worries though, You will see clearly this season why I rant so much about having a pass rush or in our case..The lack of one.

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  17. Never mind Cleveland did not start it 2 star receivers, Never mind Bucs were shut out 1 half when starters in, nevermind the Guy or Gay missed a short field goal. Never mind White was blocked out of several plays and went wrong way on a couple pass routes. Never mind Rojo ran 4 times for 8 yards, Never mind Rakeem Nunez-Roches was only Buc with a sack . Never mind Browns had 6 sacks in 2 quarters.
    Never mind Ryan Griffin was only QB that looked like a starter should.
    It was a win and Pewter Boys have hope.

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  18. I told you how good the Browns Defense would be. They are the best I have seen in the NFL this year. They will make a lot of team’s OLs look terrible. But we have a much better defense this year ourselves. Jameis did not fumble and threw no interceptions so that is a positive. I am glad Griffin is now our backup QB!
    BA will pickup some OTs at cutdown time.

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