Yes, It Gets Worse

Mistakes, the Buccaneer defense, and the oppressive heat worked together to decidedly stuff the Cleveland Browns in Tampa today. Due to special teams blunders on the part of the Bucs, the final 17-3 score is hardly an indication of the magnitude of the Browns defeat.

With temperatures nearing 120 degrees on the field, even greater heat came from Warren Sapp and the Buccaneers defense as the Tampa Bay squad cruised to a 17-3 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The Bucs defense is on a pace to give up fewer points per game than the 2000 Ravens, and the struggling Browns offense was not able to put up much of a fight against it.

The Browns rushing attack was again unimpressive, with Jamel White leading the Browns with a paltry 35 yards, followed by William Green's 22 yard effort.

Despite the ineffectiveness of the Browns running game, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians repeatedly felt compelled to use it, holding explosive Dennis Northcutt out of all but two plays until five minutes left to go in the game. Tim Couch wound up the day 21 of 40 for a mere 147 yards.

The Browns were unable to take advantage of a laughably ineffective Tampa Bay kicking game, which yielded one field goal, one miss, one block, and one fumbled snap. With the Bucs failing to score field goals against the Browns, Butch Davis' team found itself still competitive well into the second half. The Bucs then unleashed Mike Alstott, however, who averaged almost eight yards per carry running over a tired and discouraged Browns defense. Alstott finished with 126 yards on 17 carries, with two touchdowns.

With the Browns unable to muster a credible offensive threat, the Buccaneers wound up resting Warren Sapp for the last several defensive series of the game. While Sapp jawed happily after the victory, the Browns will need to muster their resources to take on the expansion Houston Texans in Cleveland next week. The Texans scared Buffalo today before falling 31-24.

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