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Bucs rookie Kwon Alexander wows with hit on Josh McCown

Bucs rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander does a dance after an impressive hit on Browns QB Josh McCown in the first half.
Bucs rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander does a dance after an impressive hit on Browns QB Josh McCown in the first half.
Published Aug. 30, 2015

TAMPA — Not much went well for the Bucs in a 31-7 loss to the Browns on Saturday night, but the "wow" play came in the final minute before halftime, when rookie LB Kwon Alexander delivered a crushing hit to QB Josh McCown.

McCown, last season's starter for the Bucs, escaped a potential sack from DE Henry Melton and scrambled left, directly into the path of Alexander, who dropped him for a 2-yard loss and Tampa Bay's only sack.

"I saw the whole thing coming," said Bucs LB Lavonte David, who had a team-high six tackles. "I saw Kwon chasing after him, and I thought Josh was going to get down. I guess he saw him at the last minute, and it was lights out from there."

Alexander, the fourth-round pick from LSU who entered as the Bucs' leading tackler in preseason, had five tackles in the first half, including two for losses.

"I love to hit. You're going to see that from now on," Alexander said. "You see me, you're going to see me hit. That's what I was really trying to do, bring the momentum up. When we have the momentum, we play well."

Missed opportunities: Newly signed K Connor Barth, brought in to challenge Patrick Murray, missed a 43-yard field goal wide in the second quarter.

Murray, who missed an extra point and field goal in Monday's win over Cincinnati, converted his PAT in the second quarter. Murray got the next field-goal try but he, too, missed wide, on a 44-yarder in the fourth quarter.

"Just focus on Miami now," Murray said of Thursday's preseason finale. "There have been a lot of things I've been working on. I just have to get back to the basics."

The Bucs gave long looks to the two punters challenging Michael Koenen Jake Schum averaged 51.3 yards on four punts and Karl Schmitz averaged 41.3 on four. Schmitz's first punt was returned 53 yards by former Miami star Travis Benjamin for the first points of the game.

Bright spot: Bucs RB Doug Martin had minus-1 yard total on his first four carries then found his rhythm, getting 41 yards on his next four carries including a 19-yard touchdown for the Bucs' only points. Backup Charles Sims had 9 yards on three carries and Mike James was the third back, rushing four times for 14 yards.

Making a case: Rookie WR Kaelin Clay left with a rib injury, opening the door for other rookies in the return game. UCF's Rannell Hall, who alternated on kickoff returns with Clay, averaged 31 yards on his three kickoffs, and Clemson's Adam Humphries got 12 yards on one punt return.

Silver lining: After being penalized 14 times for 153 yards Monday, the Bucs were much improved in that department, with just two flags for 10 yards.

This and that: The Bucs played without starting S Major Wright, who missed Friday's practice because of a family matter. D.J. Swearinger started in his place. … Other Bucs out were DE Jacquies Smith (shoulder), WR Mike Evans (hamstring), WR Kenny Bell (hamstring), DB Leonard Johnson (ankle), OT Kevin Pamphile (triceps), C Josh Allen (ankle), OT Demar Dotson (knee) and DT Akeem Spence (back). WR Robert Herron also did not dress.… Former K Martin Gramatica led the players out of the tunnel before the game. … With Evans injured, former Lakewood and Florida WR Louis Murphy started, catching two passes for 26 yards in the first three quarters.

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Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

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