The third preseason game is the highlight of a six week stretch of practices and exhibition games. The third preseason is supposed to be as close to a regular season game as you can get. If that is the case, it could be another long year for the Bucs.
Sure, much of the focus on how this 31-7 loss to the Browns played out will be on Jameis Winston, but the entire team played a role in this poor excuse of a performance. For Jameis Winston, he was 6-15 for 90 yards, no touchdowns, and a horribly thrown interception. It was easily Jameis Winston's worst performance of the preseason, and probably gave us some foreshadowing on how teams will attack him this season.
The Browns brought pressure all night on Winston and the Bucs offense. Early on, it was Ali Marpet who had a stretch of three bad plays, which included a sack given up and a penalty. Marpet would rebound and deliver the key block on Doug Martin's touchdown run. After that, it was the veterans Eric Smith and Logan Mankins who became the biggest liability. On Winston's interception, the Browns brought a blitz right at Mankins and Smith. While the two Bucs linemen focused on double-teaming one Browns defender, Mankins failed to peel off to the blitzing Browns player, which led to pressure on Winston, which ultimately led to the interception. Winston was sacked 4 times on the night.
It's easy to say this was just one game and try to not overreact, but the fact of the matter is that we've all seen this song and dance before. It was a joke of a game by the Bucs. We can only hope that the Bucs coming off a short week and the Browns having 10 days to prepare for this game played a role. For many fans, it will be easy to think we're seeing the "same ole Bucs" again.