Browns lack discipline in 26-23 OT loss to Buccaneers

Penalties, missed opportunities costly again as Cleveland falls to 2-4-1

Daryl Ruiter
October 21, 2018 - 5:31 pm
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 21: Chandler Catanzaro #7 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicks the game-winning field goal in a 26-23 overtime win against the Cleveland Browns on October 21, 2018 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty I

(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – There’s no other way to say it: performances like the one the Browns put on Sunday afternoon at Tampa Bay get coaching staffs fired.

But the fact that the Browns rallied from 14 down for the third time this season, this time from a 16-2 halftime deficit to force overtime only to lose on a 59-yard field goal, 26-23, may keep Hue Jackson's hot seat dormant for another week.

The harsh reality is that the Browns played some gutsy, yet undisciplined football Sunday afternoon in Tampa that saw them drop back-to-back games for the first time in 2018, and the excitement that the first 5 weeks of the season generated is now gone.

Credit the Browns for the comeback in a game they had no business being in position to win, but they should’ve still won it.

The Buccaneers racked up 34 first downs, the Browns 17. Tampa Bay out-gained Cleveland 456-305 and ran 26 more offensive plays.

Gregg Williams’ defense gave the Buccaneers 6 first downs by penalty.

The Buccaneers came into the game with the 31st ranked defense, 32nd ranked pass defense and allowing the most points per game in the NFL. They were so bad they fired their defensive coordinator this week.

The offensive masterminds in Hue Jackson and Todd Haley couldn’t get their team to do squat against it in the first half where the Browns had more penalties (5) than first downs (3) and almost had as many penalty yards (44) as passing yards (46).

Williams’ defense gave up a ton of yards but created 4 more turnovers and registered a safety and yet the Browns tallied a whopping 7 points off them. The defense has created 20 takeaways and they’ve resulted in 31 points this season.

The safety by defensive tackle Trevon Coley of Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber was the only lead the Browns enjoyed, 2-0 with 9:18 remaining in the opening quarter. It was the first safety for the franchise since Oct. 5, 2014 at Tennessee when Tank Carder blocked a punt out of the end zone and it was set up thanks to the 23rd punt downed inside the 20 by Britton Colquitt – this time at the 1 – tops in the NFL this season.

Jarvis Landry showed up in a big way after catching just 11 of the last 29 targets from Baker Mayfield by hauling in 10 of 15 targets Sunday for 97 yards and the tying touchdown with 2:28 left in the fourth that saw him stretch the ball over the goal line after making a diving catch at the 1.

Nick Chubb ran 18 times for 80 yards and his third touchdown of the season.

Jabrill Peppers had 46 yards on 2 put returns, except he fumbled in overtime allowing Tampa Bay to win the game.

But it comes back to the penalties and lack of focus, discipline and attention to detail – injuries or not, and that falls squarely on the coaching staff.

Buccaneers receiver DeSean Jackson’s 14-yard touchdown run was taken straight from the Chargers’ playbook last Sunday in their 24-point rout as Jackson went in untouched for a 9-2 lead on the first play of the second quarter.

There’s also a time to be aggressive and Hue Jackson always seems to pick the wrong one.

After linebacker Christian Kirksey created his second turnover – a fumble recovery – of the day late in the second quarter, Mayfield scrambled on a fourth-and-2, picked up the first down until linebacker Lavonte David swatted the ball out of his hand and it rolled out of bounds behind the first down marker.

Mayfield was also stuffed on a fourth-and-goal QB sneak with 5:02 remaining, and 3 points there would've been useful too. 

Had Jackson kicked either field goal, the game doesn’t go to overtime.

Yes, the officials were awful, again. What else is new? They always are when the Browns play this season.

Calls, no calls, replay reviews, Mayfield getting drilled in his ear hole with the crown of a defender’s helmet isn’t a penalty because he hadn’t given himself up as a runner. The official actually said in explaining why the flag was picked up that hitting the quarterback in the head was not a foul.

It’s also still no excuse.

Jackson was able to successfully undermine the performance of Sashi Brown’s talent acquisitions to force changes with the personnel department, but he won’t get away with it now that John Dorsey’s in charge of the roster. The Browns have played better than their 2-4-1 record indicates and the fact they are what their record is, is an indictment of Jackson and his coaching staff despite playing 4 overtime games.

That’s 3 wins, 35 losses and a tie on his resume.

The excuses are gone and there are none for the no show in the first half that put them behind the 8-ball, the costly penalties and the lack of focus and attention to detail we see week in and week out from Jackson's poorly coached team.

With the gauntlet of a trip to Pittsburgh before the Chiefs and Falcons visit awaiting the next 3 weeks, 2-7-1 at the bye is a real possibility and how hard the team plays shouldn’t be enough to save Jackson in a results-based business.

Not this year.