Browns defeat Buccaneers in overtime thriller


Courtesy of Jason Miller/Getty Images

CLEVELAND, OHIO – NOVEMBER 27: Jacoby Brissett #7 of the Cleveland Browns throws the ball during the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Jack Martin, Staff Writer

On Nov. 27, the Cleveland Browns faced off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their legendary quarterback Tom Brady at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns, prior to Sunday, had lost six of their last seven games and sat at the bottom of the AFC North with a dismal 3-7 record.

Per usual, the Browns looked terrific on the opening drive as quarterback Jacoby Brissett and running back Nick Chubb led the team down the field. The possession was capped off with an exciting 31-yard rushing touchdown by wide receiver Anthony Schwartz. Cade York then knocked in the point after touchdown to give the Browns an early 7-0 lead. 

The Buccaneers matched the Browns’ energy early. On their first possession, Tampa Bay running back Rachaad White ran a crowd-silencing 35-yard dash. Tom Brady tied the game after targeting Chris Godwin, who ran a 10-yard touchdown.

Cleveland answered with a 51-yard field goal from York to take a 10-7 lead. Following the impressive kick, things began to go downhill for the Browns.

After trading a few possessions, the Browns had an opportunity to take the lead after a six-minute possession in the second quarter. Following a tough red zone situation, Coach Kevin Stefanski sent out York for a 39-yard field goal. His kick sailed wide left of the goalpost, leaving Browns fans clutching their heads in disbelief. 

With four minutes left in the half, the Buccaneers sent out Brady to do what he does best: beat the clock. The 45-year-old quarterback completed six passes for 55 yards, putting the team in range for a game-tying field goal by Ryan Succop. The teams entered halftime tied 10-10.
After halftime, during which the Cleveland Browns honored local service members, Brady came out just as hot as he ended the first half. He passed the ball five times for 64 yards, eventually connecting with tight end Ko Kieft for a touchdown to give the Buccaneers a 17-10 lead.

The game was rather uneventful for a bit, as the two teams punted back and forth seven times. After receiving the ball from punter Jake Camarda with only two minutes left in the game, the Browns, losing by a touchdown, hoped to send the game into overtime. 

Browns fans made it clear that they wanted Stefanski to put the ball in the hands of his star running back, as the stadium roared with chants for Nick Chubb. Stefanski heard them, calling three straight rushes in which Chubb ran for 35 yards.

After two incomplete passes, the team faced another fourth-and-long situation. With the clock winding down, quarterback Brissett threw to tight end David Njoku, who made a leaping one-handed touchdown reception, sending the game into overtime.

The Browns defense roared to life in the extra period, holding the Buccaneers’ offense to two punts, giving them the ball again with two minutes left in the game.
In what might have been his final possession as the team’s starting quarterback, Brissett immediately looked to star receiver Amari Cooper. The two connected for a quick 17-yard gain, followed by a deep strike for 46 yards, in which Cooper was knocked out of bounds at the 3-yard line.

The stadium again roared with chants of “Chubb” as the team lined up in their offensive formation. With only 19 seconds left in the game, Brissett handed the ball off to Chubb, who dove between his offensive linemen for the game-winning touchdown.

The defense, which has struggled all season long under heavily-criticized defensive coordinator Joe Woods, kept the Browns’ chances alive in the second half. The pass rush played its best game in weeks, as Myles Garrett had a terrific game, recording 1.5 sacks along with several quarterback pressures.

On the other side of the football, the Browns got enough out of its dynamic offensive trio to hold off the Buccaneers. Chubb rumbled for 116 yards and a score, while Cooper caught seven passes for 94 yards. 

In what was admittedly his final game as a starter—Deshaun Watson returns to action next week following his suspension for sexual misconduct—Brissett completed 23 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown. In his 11 games as starting quarterback, Brissett recorded a respectable 2,600 yards passing, along with 12 touchdowns. 

Regardless of his numbers, he was a leader who left it all on the field, and Cleveland Browns fans could not have asked for more. It is safe to say that Brissett has been one of, if not the most, loved and respected quarterback that the team has seen since its return to Cleveland in 1999.

Next Sunday Dec. 4, the Browns, with Watson under center for the first time since the end of his suspension, will face off against the Houston Texans, looking to improve to 5-7.