CLE-TB grades: Winston, Evans, Hargreaves all star in Bucs win
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30, Cleveland Browns 13
Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 30-13 win over the Cleveland Browns.
Quarterback grade: Jameis Winston, 78.2
Jameis Winston bounces back from last week’s rough outing
After a tough game last week, Winston got himself back on track with a strong performance (85.1 passing grade) while seeing the most action he’s seen all preseason. He showed great poise when dealing with pressure, completing 5-of-9 passes for 68 yards and avoiding any sacks. In fact, both of his touchdowns came while he was hurried. What was most impressive, however, was the touch Winston showed on his deep ball. On passes thrown more than 20 yards downfield last night, Winston completed 5-of-6 for 158 yards and a touchdown.
Top offensive grades:
WR Mike Evans, 81.1
C Evan Dietrich-Smith, 80.5
QB Jameis Winston, 78.2
C Joe Hawley, 75.6
T Donovan Smith, 68.8
Mike Evans leads all offensive players with game-high grade
Last night Mike Evans showed everyone that he’s already seemingly in mid-season form. He was targeted six times and caught five of those for 115 yards and a touchdown. He could’ve had even more if he hadn’t lost his balance and stepped out of bounds on his 47-yard completion over the head of Browns’ CB Justin Gilbert. What’s even better is that so far this preseason Evans has yet to drop a pass (eight targets), hopefully a sign that last year’s 15 dropped passes are a thing of the past.
Top defensive grades:
ED Jacquies Smith, 81.9
CB Vernon Hargreaves III, 80.4
LB Luke Rhodes, 80.3
DI Travis Britz, 79.3
LB Kwon Alexander, 79.1
Rookie CB Vernon Hargreaves III is looking like a star already
While expectations must be tempered when it comes to preseason success, there’s been a lot to like with Bucs’ rookie CB Vernon Hargreaves, and that continued last night. Hargreaves saw the most snaps he’s seen all preseason and his strong play didn’t let up at all. He was targeted just four times in 27 coverage snaps, and allowed just one reception for two yards. That reception was a check-down throw as the Bucs played soft defense on a third-and-long. Hargreaves is our highest-graded corner this preseason, and his 0.04 yards per coverage snap allowed is far and away the league’s best mark.
Get the Bucs’ in-depth 2016 season preview right here.
Quarterback grade: Robert Griffin III, 75.1
Leaky offensive line leads to an up-and-down performance from Robert Griffin III
While his play wasn’t exactly high-level last night, it’s tough to fault Robert Griffin III completely. He was under pressure very often, on 42 percent of his dropbacks to be precise. He was sacked five times and never quite looked comfortable in the pocket because of it. There were bright spots, however, as he gave a preview of what could be coming later this season, connecting with WR Josh Gordon down the right sideline twice for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Top offensive grades:
WR Josh Gordon, 78.0
T Alvin Bailey, 76.8
T Joe Thomas, 75.9
QB Robert Griffin III, 75.1
G Joel Bitonio, 73.2
Josh Gordon doesn’t need to do much to remind people why he’s still playing in the NFL
It only took two catches for Josh Gordon to show that he’s back and that it looks like he was never even gone. He ran just nine routes on the night, but he caught two deep passes down the right sideline for 87 yards and a touchdown. Once he ran straight past Bucs corner Brent Grimes and made him look silly. The other he just completely outmuscled him at the catch point for a seemingly effortless touchdown.
Top defensive grades:
DE Emmanuel Ogbah, 82.5
CB Charles Gaines, 82.1
ED Nate Orchard, 80.3
LB Justin Tuggle, 78.8
DI Chigbo Anunoby, 78.2
Rookie D-lineman Emmanuel Ogbah was all over the field, earning his game-high grade
Coming on later in the game, rookie defensive lineman Emmanuel Ogbah put forth his best performance of the preseason in the second-to-last game. He recorded a hit, a hurry, a batted pass and also had another play where he beat Bucs tackle Donovan Smith badly but the ball was quickly gone before he could record a pressure. He also showed a few strong moments against the run, twice beating his man and stopping the play for no gain. Ogbah now ranks highly in both pass-rush productivity score and run-stop percentage among 3-4 DEs this preseason.
Get the Browns’ in-depth 2016 season preview right here.