Fri Aug 23 11:09pm ET
By FRED GOODALL
AP Sports Writer
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins (81) can't hang onto the ball after getting past Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis (33) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) eludes a tackle by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Carl Nassib (94) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon III Hargreaves III (28) knocks the ball away from Cleveland Browns wide receiver Derrick Willies (84) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback M.J. Stewart Jr., (36) knocks a pass away from Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins (81) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith (50) sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward (21) knocks the ball away from Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Breshad Perriman (19) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Jameis Winston (3) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cleveland Browns Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Matt Gay kicked a 21-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining, giving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a 13-12 preseason victory over the Cleveland Browns on Friday night.
The rookie's game-winner capped a 16-play drive lasting more than seven minutes. Cairo Santos booted a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter and third-string quarter Ryan Griffin threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Leggett for the Bucs (2-1).
Rookie Austin Seibert kicked four field goals for the Browns (2-1), who led 9-0 when Baker Mayfield and the rest of Cleveland's starters left the game.
Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick from the 2018 draft, started and played the entire first half after getting just one series of work in Cleveland's preseason opener against Washington and sitting out last week's game at Indianapolis.
Playing without starting receivers Odell Beckham Jr. (hip) and Jarvis Landry, the second-year quarterback led three short field-goal drives and was not particularly sharp while completing 10 of 26 passes for 72 yards and one interception.
Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston had an even tougher night, though it wasn't all his doing.
Gay missed a 37-yard field goal and Tampa Bay's leaky offensive line had difficulty protecting Winston, allowing five sacks while the fifth-year pro was in the game.
The No. 1 overall pick from the 2015 draft, who's closing in on becoming the franchise's career passing leader yet still trying to prove he's the club's long-term answer at quarterback, finished 9 of 19 for 88 yards without an interception.
Winston played seven series after seeing limited action the previous two weeks against Pittsburgh and Miami. Backup Blaine Gabbert started the second half and led the Bucs into field goal range before falling awkwardly at the end of an 8-yard scramble and heading to the locker room with a shoulder injury. Griffin's TD pass to Leggett gave Tampa Bay a short-lived 10-9 lead late in the third quarter.
Browns: Starting CB Denzel Ward made his preseason debut after missing two games with a minor leg injury. ... Coach Freddie Kitchens doesn't view the third preseason game as a dress rehearsal for the regular season. He's more concerned with keeping players fresh and healthy for the Sept. 8 opener, so his plan was to determine playing time for regulars on a case-by-case basis.
Buccaneers: WR Mike Evans, ILB Lavonte David, DL Vita Vea, TE Cameron Brate, S Mike Edwards, ILB Devante Bond, OLB Anthony Nelson and OLB Kahzin Daniels did not play. ... Backup TE Antony Auclair (calf) left the game in the first half and did not return. ... ILB Deone Bucannon (knee) and S Kentrell Brice (shoulder) were injured during the second quarter.
With field goals of 54, 36, 30 and 35 yards, Seibert may have made some headway in the competition for Cleveland's kicking job. Incumbent Greg Joseph has struggled and Seibert, a fifth-round draft pick out of Oklahoma, had not been consistent before converting all three of his attempts Friday.
Tampa Bay's kicking situation is unsettled, too, with Gay, a fifth-round draft pick from Utah, competing against incumbent Cairo Santos. Gay kicked a 55-yard field goal against Miami last week, but hasn't been as accurate on shorter kicks. His 37-yard attempt against the Browns hit the right upright and bounced away.
Browns: Preseason finale at home vs. Detroit next Thursday
Buccaneers: Close the preseason next Thursday at Dallas
Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (undisclosed) returned for the second half of the Week 2 game against the New York Jets. He jogged off with an apparent lower leg injury near the end of the second quarter.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are acquiring defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a 2020 first-round pick, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Fitzpatrick requested a trade late last week and it was reported that the Dolphins wanted a first round pick for the 11th overall selection in the 2018 draft. As a rookie, he totaled 80 tackles, two interceptions, and nine passes defended. The 22-year-old can play safety and slot corner, but the Steelers Defense could use help at both spots so it will be interesting to see how they utilize him. Pittsburgh has a Week 3 matchup with San Francisco, but it's not advisable to stream them in a road matchup.
New York Jets WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) aggravated his hamstring injury in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns and he will not return.
Fantasy Spin: Thomas is clearly not 100 percent, was rushed into action and he is now hurt. Avoid him in all fantasy leagues until he can return to health, get familiar with the playbook and show a little consistency.
Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (lower leg) suffered an apparent lower leg injury late in the second quarter after landing awkwardly in the end zone in Week 2 against the New York Jets. He attempted to get up, couldn't walk, and went back down to his backside. He then jogged off to meet with the training staff before trotting to the locker room right before halftime.
Fantasy Spin: Beckham looked to be in obvious discomfort initially, but he ran rather briskly into the locker room on third and long, suggesting he might be OK to begin the second half. We'll keep an eye on it.
Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku (concussion) suffered a concussion in the first quarter of the Week 2 game against the New York Jets and he will not return.
Fantasy Spin: Njoku was upended on a pass play and landed awkwardly after having his legs taken out, hitting his head on the field turf surface. Demetrius Harris, Ricky Seal-Jones and Pharaoh Brown are the next men up at the position, with Harris likely to see the most targets.
New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian (ankle) suffered what looked to be a serious ankle injury in the second quarter on Monday night against the Browns. Siemian was hit hard and got his ankle caught underneath him while being taken to the turf. Somehow he was able to walk off the field under his own power and is being taken to the locker room. We'd be surprised if he were able to come back into this game. Third-stringer Luke Falk is now in the game. The Jets haven't been able to get any offense going and are leaning heavily on running back Le'Veon Bell. Siemian was an embarrassing 3-for-6 for three yards before he departed.
New York Jets QB Trevor Siemian (leg) was hit in the second quarter of the Week 2 game against the Cleveland Browns and it appeared he suffered a lower leg injury. The telecast immediately cut away after the replay which showed the gruesome injury.
Fantasy Spin: Siemian was started in place of Sam Darnold (mononucleosis), and he didn't even last until halftime. The Jets will now turn to Luke Falk, the sixth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2018, takes over under center. Siemian was able to walk off gingerly to the locker room with the help of the training staff.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (concussion) suffered a concussion in the first half on Monday night against the Jets and will not return. Njoku was targeted just once on the play that resulted in his injury in which he went up in the air to receive the ball and was upended. The tight end came down hard on his head and neck and was taken to the locker room for evaluation. With Njoku out the rest of the way, Demetrius Harris and Ricky Seals-Jones should share repetitions. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are in for more targets in the second half.
New York Jets LB Jordan Jenkins (calf) suffered a calf injury during the Week 2 game and is considered doubtful to return.
Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku (head) left the Week 2 game early and is being evaluated for a concussion.
Fantasy Spin: Njoku will need to be medically cleared before he can play again, so he may not return to the game. He can be considered a low-end No. 1 tight end when he is healthy.
The Miami Dolphins are likely to trade defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick by Tuesday, and the team is expected to receive a first-round pick in exchange for him. The Redskins, Cowboys, Chiefs, Steelers, Eagles and Seahawks are the teams in the mix to acquire Fitzpatrick and offers are being made. In full-on rebuilding mode, the Dolphins are trading all of their best players. The 11th overall pick last year, Fitzpatrick has been unhappy with his role moving all around Miami's defense to start the year, which aided in him asking to be dealt. Miami's defense is likely to be gashed by opponents all season long, and the Cowboys are next up in Week 3 in Dallas.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said that tight end Tyler Higbee (lung) suffered a lung contusion in Week 2 against the Saints and will be day-to-day. Higbee was coughing up blood and was sent to the hospital as a precaution, but this looks like an injury that luckily may not even cause him to miss any games. The 26-year-old caught two of his three targets for 21 yards before leaving on Sunday. If he plays on Sunday night against the Browns, he'll be a low-end, touchdown-dependent TE2. Gerald Everett would be a desperation TE2 if Higbee sits out.
Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (lung) and C Austin Blythe (ankle) are considered day-to-day after suffering injuries in Week 2.
New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (thumb) said he is scheduled to meet with a specialist Tuesday, Sept. 17, and will make a decision in the near future.
Fantasy Spin: Brees is expected to miss at least six weeks because of the thumb injury, but fantasy players may want to wait for an official timetable for making any decisions. Teddy Bridgewater will take over the starting job while Brees is sidelined but may only be a No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
Free-agent WR Amara Darboh was signed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad Monday, Sept. 16. The team also released WR Emanuel Hall from their practice squad.
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson (wrist) will be available to play in the Week 3 game despite the wrist injury he suffered in Week 2, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Fantasy Spin: Johnson was held to only 14 total yards in the Week 2 game but should be more involved in the offense this week. Fantasy players in all leagues should have Johnson in their starting lineups.
Atlanta Falcons DT Ra'Shede Hageman (undisclosed) was waived/injured Monday, Sept. 16.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dee Ford (knee) is "still hurting today," according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. Ford has been playing through tendinitis since the preseason. It's the reason why he's had his snaps limited through two weeks, but he's been effective while on the field and has one sack and a forced fumble. The Niners defense has looked much better through two weeks but hasn't been tested much by the Bucs and Bengals. For them to continue their production all year, they'll definitely need a healthy Ford and second overall pick Nick Bosa rushing the passer.
New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (concussion) is still going through the concussion protocol but has been cleared to practice in a non-contact jersey.
Fantasy Spin: Shepard needs to be cleared by doctors before he is allowed to play, so fantasy players should monitor his practice participation this week. He is the team's top receiver when he is healthy but may only be a No. 3 fantasy receiver or flex option when he returns.