Tampa Bay has had 14 possessions under Winston and the first-team offense this preseason and it produced a total of one touchdown and five field goals.
Winston completed 17 of 27 passes for 200 yards Saturday. But the Bucs' first possession ended when Winston threw a pass wide of tight end Cameron Brate and it was intercepted at the goal line by Browns rookie defensive back Jabrill Peppers.
"I think we've got to be better than that," Brate said. "It seems like all preseason, we've moved the ball well but it's something we've been doing, whether it be penalties, not taking care of the football as well as we should or pitch-and-catch stuff. It's just us stopping us. Luckily it is the preseason, but every time you go out to compete you want to be successful. So, we definitely have to get better the next two weeks before Miami."
Frankly, the Bucs were lucky to have that chance to begin with. The Browns extended the drive when they jumped offside as kicker Nick Folk was lining up for a 45-yard field-goal attempt.
Winston's protection wasn't stellar Saturday. He was sacked twice and hit on several other occasions. The Bucs were also playing without right tackle Demar Dotson and left guard Kevin Pamphile, so that didn't help.
While we're into damning numbers, the Bucs were 0-for-7 on third down in the first half. Winston seemed out of sync with his receivers, especially on the money downs. He fired high to rookie Chris Godwin on the sideline. He led Adam Humphries too far over the middle of the field. Brate couldn't hang onto another pass he probably should've caught at the goal line.
The lone scores Saturday came on Folk's three field goals of 31, 42 and 43 yards.
The Bucs offense is potentially the best it has been in years. Neither starting receiver, Mike Evans or DeSean Jackson, played on Saturday. It's also a game of inches, and receiver Donteea Dye came a cleat away from getting both feet down in bounds for what would've been a 24-yard touchdown strike from Winston in the third quarter.
"When you're playing good football, penalties and turnovers hurt you," Winston said. "First drive, great drive. Turnover in the red zone. It hurts you. Just as far as morale, just as far as confidence. Defense gets a stop, then we go down. Another drive. Penalty. Backed up again. Second-and-2, we're in field-goal range and we get backed out of that. We've got to, me, personally, has to stop shooting ourselves in the foot and just get over that hump."