Jacoby Brissett leads Browns to OT win in likely last start

CLEVELAND -- In what was likely his final start with the Cleveland Browns, quarterback Jacoby Brissett went out a winner.

On fourth down Sunday, Brissett tossed the game-tying touchdown pass near the end of regulation. Then late in overtime, he engineered the game-winning touchdown drive, as the Browns rallied to knock off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 23-17.

"No disrespect, but in the words of Tom Brady," Brissett said afterward, "that was f---ing awesome. F---ing awesome."

This week, Deshaun Watson will take over for Brissett as Cleveland's starter. Watson served an 11-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy by committing sexual assault, as defined by the NFL, on massage therapists. Watson was also fined $5 million and has had to undergo a mandatory treatment program.

Shortly after giving the Houston Texans three first-round picks to trade for Watson this past offseason, the Browns signed Brissett in free agency to be the fill-in starter in the event Watson faced a suspension. Watson has been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual assault and other inappropriate sexual misconduct during massage sessions.

The Browns went just 4-7 during the games Brissett started. But Brissett still shined in his 11 games, coming into the weekend ranked sixth in the league in QBR (62.4).

Brissett saved his best performance for last.

Cleveland trailed 17-10 in the final seconds of the fourth quarter and faced fourth-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 12-yard line. Brissett fired a strike to tight end David Njoku, who made a one-handed grab at the back of the end zone to tie the game.

"When I threw it, I thought I threw it too high and I was about to start crying," Brissett said. "But I seen him pull it down and I wanted to go up and kiss him."

Brissett followed that up with the defining play in overtime.

He found Amari Cooper open dashing down the sidelines for a 45-yard pass to the Tampa Bay 3-yard line. Two plays later, running back Nick Chubb punched in the touchdown to give Cleveland the win.

Brissett finished the game completing 23 of 37 passes for 210 yards. He also had a 17-yard scramble. In the postgame locker room, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski gave Brissett the game ball.

"I'm really happy for Jacoby, he's a great leader," Stefanski said. "He battled like crazy. It was a great effort by him."

Multiple Cleveland players, including Njoku and Cooper, noted how important it was for the team to send Brissett out with a victory. Brissett said he will "figure out" how to still help the Browns for the final six regular-season games as Watson's backup. But he admitted he was "grateful" for his opportunity to start this year.

"Super special," he said of getting the game ball in a win in his last start. "This was a great one to end it on."