Browns grades for Week 12 win vs. Buccaneers

The Cleveland Browns cannot afford to lose any more games, and they responded with a big win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 23-17, in overtime at home in Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season. Now at 4-7, the Browns are in third place in the AFC North. They still have a mathematical shot at the playoffs, but again, they can’t drop any of their remaining games. At least they did well enough to win here. Here we will look at our position group grades for the Cleveland Browns in their Week 12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Browns forced overtime in this game as Jacoby Brissett connected with David Njoku for a 15-yard touchdown on fourth-and-10 with 32 seconds left. In the extra session, the Browns defense forced two punts before Brissett’s massive connection to Amari Cooper set up Nick Chubb’s game-winning touchdown.

The win snapped a two-game losing streak for Cleveland. It was a good outcome, especially for the Browns defense. Keep in mind that when Cleveland’s attack remained silent for most of the second half, the defense kept them in the game. To illustrate, the Browns, led by Myles Garrett, sacked Brady three times after halftime.

The Browns’ offensive quintet of Brissett, Chubb, Cooper, and Njoku made just enough key plays. Brissett held up against severe pressure to complete 23-of-27 passes for 210 yards. Chubb ran for 116 yards, including a 28-yard rush that set up Njoku’s score. Cooper caught seven receptions, the longest of which was 46 yards in overtime.

The Browns will travel to Houston next, where Deshaun Watson will most likely make his season debut.

Let us look at our grades for the Browns in their Week 12 win over the Buccaneers.

Passing Offense

Despite a lot of pressure, sacks, and other challenges Browns QB Jacoby Brissett maintained his cool. He never gave up and showed how much he desired this victory against old comrade Tom Brady. The stat line won’t stand out, but Brissett certainly fought hard in what we expect is his final start of the season. Take note that he struck a wide-open Amari Cooper for the game-winning touchdown for the Browns. Brissett’s game was not very pretty, but he prevailed. With the return of Watson, going out on top is a wonderful tale for Brissett.

Another notable was David Njoku, who made the bravest and finest one-handed catch in Browns history to tie the game towards the end of regulation. We also had two Anthony Schwartz sightings today, both of which were excellent. Schwartz scored the game’s first touchdown on an end-around from 31 yards out. That was Schwartz’s second score of the season. This should serve as a catalyst for more production from the second-year wideout.

Grade: B

Rushing Offense

Nick Chubb worked hard for every yard he gained today. He ran for 116 yards during the game, but his most significant run was the overtime score that sealed the victory. It was the sixth time he ran for over 100 yards this season.

Aside from Chubb, Schwartz, Brissett, and of course, Kareem Hunt also got in on the action. That trio combined for 73 yards on the ground.

The Browns’ offensive play calling was better today, as they stuck with the run even when the Bucs’ defense shut it down at times. By the game’s end, the Browns were +93 in rushing yards compared to Tampa Bay.

Grade: B

Passing Defense

Browns CB Martin Emerson Jr. was on fire today. He forced Brady to make tough passes in this game. Remember that Emerson was targeted 11 times, yet he only allowed three receptions for 19 yards total. He didn’t give up a single first down and also forced two incompletions. He was one of the defense’s MVPs.

The other MVP was Myles Garrett, who recorded 1.5 sacks that contributed to the Browns’ victory. He needed to step up in this contest, and he did exactly that. Garrett was always in Brady’s face. He also applied pressure and a QB hit on the Buccaneers’ final possession. Garrett set a good example for the rest of the defense, finishing with one tackle for loss and three QB hits.

Remember that the Buccaneers were only 4-of-15 on third down due to the pass pressure. It also resulted in the Bucs punting on their second overtime attempt, which set up the Browns’ game-winning drive.

Grade: B

Rushing Defense

The Browns ground defense was solid. They allowed just 96 total rushing yards for the Bucs while also keeping any Tampa Bay rusher from finding the endzone. Rachaad White led the Bucs with 64 on 14 carries, while Ke’Shawn Vaughn had just 15 yards on 4 carries.

Grade: B+

Special Teams

Browns kicker Cade York missed another field goal in this game. In retrospect, the Browns would not have required overtime if York had hit a 39-yard field goal early in the contest. The kick was not close, and the inconsistency of the kicking is becoming a source of concern. York has missed six kicks this season, which does not include two extra points.

Grade: C

Coaching

The Browns kept their playoff chances alive with this overtime victory, but even if that’s the case, head coach Kevin Stefanski might still be feeling a ton of pressure.

The only way to save this season is to sweep all their remaining games with Deshaun Watson under center. That will be easier said than done. In all likelihood, we are looking at a wasted Browns, considering the elite talend the organization has on its payroll.

Still, as far as this game goes, Stefanski did just well enough to get the W… even if they had to play in OT.

Grade: C+

Overall

What a fitting finish to Brissett’s tenure as the Browns’ starting quarterback. He was satisfied with the outcome after a comeback triumph that included the game-tying TD Njoku and the overtime dart to Cooper.

Brissett showed guts and tenacity during his eleven games after taking the starting snaps amid such a shaky year for the Browns. His future is uncertain, and so is the Browns’. Still, whether he returns or is paid to be a bridge quarterback elsewhere, he will be remembered as a Cleveland fan favorite forever.

As for the team, this was a much-needed W. It was just what they wanted as they open the Deshaun Watson era in Northeast Ohio.

Grade: B

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