Bucs needed a win in the worst way and got it, in the worst way
Tom Jones, Tampa Bay Times, published 22 October 2018

If Sunday's Bucs-Browns game had ended in a tie, the National Football League should have stepped in and declared that both teams be given a loss for that mess of a football game. It was the kind of game that burned eyes and turned stomachs. Every time you looked up, one team was trying to out-stink the other. This was bumbling vs. stumbling, the incompetent taking on the inept.

A missed extra point. A missed field goal. Dumb interceptions. Stupid penalties. Lots of them. Costly fumbles. A safety. There were moments, I swear, when it felt like both teams were trying to let the other team win. It was probably poetic considering we're talking about two of the least successful franchises over the past decade. They completely lived up to (or is it down to?) their reputations in this stinker.

Neither team deserved to win. Neither team deserved to even tie. But, one team had to win and, well, if you're going to try to set football back a generation with that slop, you might as well get a win for your troubles. In the end, that's all the Bucs should and did care about. "What will it say in the win column?'' Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. "It'll say a win, right?''

It will. And that moves the Bucs to 3-3. Which isn't half bad at the moment. Hey, it sure beats the alternative of 2-4. Or 2-3-1. "A win is a win,'' Bucs tackle Demar Dotson said. "You take it however you can get it.''

And when it's over, you don't apologize for it and you don't feel bad about it. You put it in your satchel and move on to the next game. Because the NFL doesn't ask how, only how many. "Every win is different,'' Bucs defensive end Carl Nassib said. "But this one feels good.''

With a three-game losing streak, the Bucs needed a win in the worst way. And that's what they got: a win in the worst way. I'm still trying to figure out how the Bucs won a game that even Koetter admitted was crazy. "Absolutely,'' Koetter said. "Crazy. A lot of weird stuff.''

There are plenty blunders to pick apart and plenty of issues that continue to plague the Bucs. You can start with quarterback Jameis Winston. He did lots of great things, but continued his propensity for handing the ball over to the other team.

This is becoming a broken record. He tells us how he can't turn the ball over and then he goes out and turns the ball over with two picks and fumble. Then he follows the game by telling us he can't turn the ball over. Maybe someday he will listen to himself, but you get the feeling that day is never going to come. So the Bucs will have to live with the gaffes to get to the good stuff.

Then there's the kicker. That, too, is becoming something of broken record. Chandler Catanzaro might have been the star with his 59-yard field goal in overtime, but the only reason this game was in overtime was because he missed his third extra-point of the season and a 40-yarder at the end of regulation. If I'm the Bucs, I'd still audition a kicker or two this week.

Meantime, the Bucs defense showed signs of life under new defensive coordinator Mark Duffner, but it still allowed 14 points in the fourth quarter to allow Cleveland to tie. In the end, however, the Bucs won, partly because it played well at times and partly because it played a team that is bad. Reports of the Browns' resurgence have been greatly exaggerated. Maybe bright days are ahead for the Browns and, perhaps, rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield has a future in this league. But, as now, he's still a rookie and the Browns are still the Browns. They're still the same crummy team that has won three games in the past three years and still can't get out of its own way.

Put that all in the blender and you might have something that should taste a little sour. After all, you needed nearly 70 minutes to beat an awful team and you needed a miracle 59-yard field goal at home to do it. Yet, this victory tasted pretty good to Tampa Bay.

"You get a win any way that you can possibly get it,'' Winston said. "Yeah, we can make our corrections and, yes, we can play better, especially myself. I can play better. But when you win, it's way better.''

It was ugly for sure, but the Bucs don't care. And they shouldn't. Because they won.