There was no Johnny Manziel, but the Cleveland Browns provided plenty of action on Saturday night. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers received the ball first, but after a quick three and out, the Browns special teams struck first.
Speedy return specialist, Travis Benjamin, followed his blockers and found the open lanes to score on a 53-yard punt return. Meanwhile, Cleveland never surrendered the lead or allowed Jameis Winston to find a rhythm.
The Browns defense was in full strength with cornerbacks, Joe Haden and Tashaun Gipson playing in the game. The defense got after Tampa’s rookie quarterback holding him to just 90 yards and completing just six of his 15 pass attempts. Additionally, Winston was sacked four times and forced to throw an interception.
Not to mention, Cleveland’s offense appeared in rhythm and moved the ball with ease. Josh McCown looked calm in the pocket, finding open receivers and making smart decisions. The veteran drove the Browns to three red zone possessions resulting in two touchdowns and a field goal. McCown played into the third quarter and finished with 117 yards and two touchdowns.
As for the Browns running game, both Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West produced similar numbers. West carried the ball seven times for 26 yards while Crowell rushed for 27 yards on eight touches. The back added 12 more yards on two catches.
Unfortunately, there was another setback for Duke Johnson as suffered a concussion after a hard hit by cornerback Mike Jenkins. The rookie lost his mouthpiece and looked dazed as he walked towards the sidelines. This is a disappointment as the Browns had big plans for the running back. Additionally, Pierre Desir’s preseason debut was also spoiled due to a concussion.
Despite the injuries, the Cleveland Browns played like a team worth watching. The offensive starters produced 24 points while the defense only surrendered a 19-yard Doug Martin touchdown run. The Browns looked fantastic as they marched onto a 31-7 victory.
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