Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Instant analysis: Breaking down the Bucs' 30-13 win over the Browns

TAMPA — Finally, the Bucs looked like they know what they are doing. That was the big takeaway from Tampa Bay's 30-13 victory over the Browns in preseason game No. 3 at Raymond James Stadium.

Here are some other thoughts immediately following the victory.

• Bucs QB Jameis Winston looks ready to go. Not that we were getting nervous or anything, but after two so-so games in the first two preseason outings, Winston finally looked like the quarterback the Bucs need and, quite frankly, needed to see on Friday night.

He was supposed to play into the second half, but after a 16-for-25, 259-yard, two-touchdown performance in the first half, the Bucs did the smart thing and sat down Winston for the second half. And, you would assume, the rest of the preseason. Next up for Jameis? Atlanta on Sept. 11.

• Hey, how 'bout that Roberto Aguayo! The embattled kicker, who had missed two field goals and an extra-point in Tampa Bay's first two preseason games, was put to the test on the very first drive of the game.

All week long, the buzz in the newspaper and on sports-talk radio (and pretty much every outlet that talks NFL) was how the Bucs used a second-round pick to take a kicker and that kicker turned out to be, so far, second-rate. And speaking of buzz, you could feel a buzz in the air as soon as the Bucs failed to convert on a third-and-short on the first possession because that set up what everyone knew was going to be a field-goal attempt.

Aguayo trotted onto the field and, surprisingly, was greeted with nothing but loud cheers and applause. With the crowd fully behind him, Aguayo calmly split the uprights on a challenging 48-yard field goal. For the moment, crisis averted. The fans cheered. And you can bet GM Jason Licht exhaled.

Aguayo went on for a perfect night: three field goals and three extra-points. Now he's the greatest second-round pick ever, right?

• The Bucs certainly have found themselves a reliable third-down receiver. Adam Humphries, who seemingly came out of nowhere last season, seemed to be everywhere Friday night.

For much of the first quarter, Humphries could be found running loose and wild downfield in wide-open pockets of the Browns secondary. You even get the sense that Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston is almost looking for him exclusively on third down. And who could blame Winston if Humphries is going to catch anything in his general vicinity?

Oh, did we also mention that he ripped off a 73-yard punt return for a TD?

• Oh, the Bucs have a No. 1 receiver, too. Mike Evans had five catches for 115 yards. No drops. All beast.

• Still not sure what to make of cornerback Brent Grimes. He was burned for a touchdown pass last week in Jacksonville. On Friday, he was toasted twice. The first was a 44-yard completion from Robert Griffin III to Josh Gordon on Cleveland's first possession. True, RG3 had about two days to throw the football because of a complete lack of pressure, but Grimes was turned around so badly that it's a wonder he didn't get motion sickness.

In the second quarter, RG3 and Gordon hooked up again for a deep completion, this one for 43 yards and a touchdown. And the guy he beat? Grimes.

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