Videos by OutKick
It was a game almost too good to be true for Cleveland Browns fans. But Sunday’s overtime win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a Herculean team effort led by leader/quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
Brissett set the standard for the rest of the crew by making the necessary splash plays to give Cleveland the upset W, setting up offseason acquisition QB Deshaun Watson and the Browns for at least a shot at the playoffs at 4-7.
Cleveland was able to rebound from a stinker of a second half with a resilient effort in the final minutes and in overtime. Brissett performed when the moment called for it in what may be his final game as a Browns starter. Offseason acquisition and $230 million QB Deshaun Watson returns from suspension next week.
Among the highlights for Brissett was an early-game block that set up a scoring lane for WR Anthony Schwartz to give the Browns a 7-0 lead.
Browns, Brissett Recover From Sluggish Start
No play represented the Browns’ effort like a TOUGH six-yard run by Brown running back Kareem Hunt that required him to drag a Bucs defender.
Facing a 17-10 deficit with minutes left in regulation, Brissett led a march into Bucs territory and connected with former first-round TE David Njoku to tie the game at :34 seconds left. Njoku made a ridiculous one-handed catch on fourth-and-ten.
Big Plays At The Right Time
When Cleveland needed another splash play to seal the L for Brady and the Bucs, a deep Brissett pass to Amari Cooper in overtime put the Browns yards away from the game-winning score.
That was a huge catch for Cooper, not just because of the situation but because of what happened in the fourth quarter on a massive fourth-down play.
Following the Cooper catch, running back Nick Chubb ran it in, and the Browns capped their thrilling late-game surge.
On its surface, the losing record at 4-7 may seem daunting for Cleveland’s postseason odds, but walking away with a must-win game against TB was the final hurdle meant to test Cleveland’s path to a wild-card spot. A hurdle they cleared — especially considering recent matchups against the Ravens, Bills and Dolphins.
Bucs, Brady Fumble Must-Win Game
With the Browns tipping the scales their way on Sunday, Brady and the Bucs hit a low with the loss.
Losing All-Pro OT Tristan Wirfs after he was carted off the field and failing to win a favored matchup will be daunting for a Bucs team (4-6) staggering in their NFC South division lead. The Atlanta Falcons remain close to the No. 1 spot at 5-7.
Brady completed 29 of 43 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns.
Brissett finished with 237 yards of offense, one touchdown and one interception.
The GOAT ultimately failed to keep the offense alive down the stretch, while some errant clock management by Todd Bowles in the final minute of regulation sunk Tampa’s ship.
The roll-out plan for Deshaun Watson — finishing his 11-game suspension — remains murky heading into his first potential start against the Texans in Week 13.
Regardless, the Browns can lean on their Jacoby Brissett contingency plan with much more confidence than the season’s start after this incredible performance.