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Cleveland Browns know better than to underestimate Jameis Winston, struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers

CLEVELAND — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on a three-game losing streak, but with a potent offense that features plenty of playmakers, the Cleveland Browns are certainly not taking their opponent for Sunday lightly.

Whether the Buccaneers have Ryan Fitzpatrick or Jameis Winston starting at quarterback, the end result is the same, plenty of points being scored to the tune of an average of 28.2 per contest, and only once this season have they scored less than 27 points.

“I never get so much caught up in the records,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “It is the way that they are playing. It was a shootout last week with Atlanta on the road. That is a division game. We know how those go. They have scored a lot of points. They move the ball.

“At times, they have made some plays on defense. They have stopped the run on defense. I know that everybody is saying the pass has been their Achilles heel. I am sure that they are working their tails off to shore that up. They are good on special teams. I see a good football team. What we want to do is make sure that they do not hit their stride this week.”

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) looks to pass the ball against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Kamil Krzaczynski

Since returning from a league-mandated suspension for an off-the-field incident, Winston has completed 46 of his 61 attempts (75.4 percent) for 540 yards and five touchdowns against four interceptions. Winston enters Sunday’s game at Raymond James Stadium with a 101.8 quarterback rating.

Through his first three NFL seasons, Winston threw for 11,636 yards and 69 touchdowns. The yards are the third-most ever and the touchdowns are seventh-best for a player in his first three NFL seasons.

“He can throw the football,” Jackson said. “Obviously, he can throw the football with anybody. He is a true passer, in my opinion. He is one of those guys that when he goes back there, he is not going to just die easy.

“You have to take this guy down because he is still trying to make plays. At times, when you think that other guys are going down, he still has the ability to make a play down the field with the ball. He is a tough, competitive guy, likes to play, likes to win. He has done some good things. The guy is completing 75 percent of his passes. We have our work cut out for us.”

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) passes against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dale Zanine

The fourth-most accurate quarterback in Buccaneers history, Winston averaged more yards per attempt in 2017 than any other signal-caller in Tampa Bay history.

Winston has three of the top eight single-season passing performances in Buccaneers history with his 2016 campaign resulting a team record 4,090 yards and 28 touchdowns. Winston needs only seven more touchdown passes to set Tampa Bay’s all-time record.

Also, Winston is six rushing touchdowns away from setting the franchise record for the most running scores by a quarterback. Since 2015, only Carolina’s Cam Newton has rushed for more touchdowns from the quarterback position than Winston.

“He has been there for a while, so he has a very good connection with his receiving corps,” defensive back T.J. Carrie said. “That is the biggest thing, just trying to get him off of a rhythm. It is so hard in this league to allow teams to be two-dimensional. You always have to make them one-dimensional in that sense.”

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