The Cleveland Browns' loss to the Jets last week seemed to include some uninspired play from our roster. My original take is that we weren't motivated to play and had given up. Upon further review, I'd say it was more so do to poor offensive execution, and then our pass rushers failing to win the battle against a Jets team that wasn't supposed to be able to protect the passer. Let's get to my complete game review to see all of the positives and negatives from the game.
WEEK 16 - CLEVELAND BROWNS VS. NEW YORK JETS (COMPLETE GAME REVIEW)
- Goat of the Game: FS Tashaun Gipson - The list of people worthy of the goat title this week was pretty long, but I went with Gipson because of two plays that stood out, both when the Jets were down 10-7 with just 0:34 left in the half.
The Jets' first play was a give-up draw play, and after a couple of moves, Gipson was the safety valve who should have brought RB Bilal Powell down. He didn't, and Powell's 39-yard run helped put the Jets in field goal range right away. To make matters worse, a few plays later, Gipson had a late hit on QB Geno Smith out of bounds. Yes, Smith clearly "flopped" to sell a more vicious hit, but it's still a stupid move by Gipson -- what is there to gain out of that?
- Awarding the Game Ball: RB Edwin Baker - I'm not a fan of judging someone on such a limited sample size, but because Baker has looked like the team's most explosive running back in the regular season, he should be in the mix during training camp next season between RB Dion Lewis and whoever else we add to the roster. Against the third-ranked run defense, Baker showed the quickness to evade penetrating defenders, finishing with a respectable 17 carries for 64 yards (3.8 YPC) and 1 touchdown.
- Missing Cooper Right Away: Overall, this was a good game for WR Josh Cooper, who had 4 catches for 26 yards on 6 targets. On the first drive of the game, though, QB Jason Campbell missed him for an easy first down.
Cooper starts off at the bottom of the screen on a 3rd-and-3 play. The route called for him is the one where you start running over the middle, but then stop and cut back to where you just came from.
When Cooper sees that there is literally no defender near him, he just sits down in the soft spot and shows his numbers to Campbell. I think this is the right move, although based on what rufio said after the game, he would disagree with me.
Campbell fires the pass toward the outside, and Cooper can't get to it. Beginning the game with a three-and-out, especially when you have a wide open receiver, can't be too uplifting, given how the season has gone already.
Jets Miss Out on a Fake Punt: We know Rex Ryan doesn't mind pulling out the trickery, and the Jets attempted a fake punt on their opening possession.
The personal protector seems to make eye contact with the gunner at the top of the screen. Our defenders show like they are going to go for the punt block.
As the ball is snapper, CB Joe Haden is retreating to defend the gunner -- he's not expecting a pass, it's just fortunate luck on Cleveland's part.
The gunner sets his feet to throw to his right, but sees Haden there. He then turns his hip toward the receiver at the bottom of the screen and fires. The receiver is open, but the pass is terribly underthrown and falls incomplete, giving the Browns great starting field position.
Little's Dropped Touchdown: I thought QB Jason Campbell had a poor day overall, but I couldn't make him the goat when he had a touchdown pass like this dropped early in the game.
WR Greg Little starts off as the outside receiver at the bottom of the screen. He is going to sell like he is coming across the middle, but then stutter step and sneak up the seam to the back of the end zone.
The cyan defender is waiting for Little to come across, but Little does a nice job faking his route and then going to the back of the end zone.
Campbell sees it developing and times the throw nicely, placing it high so Little can get it. Little bobbles is though, and at that point, he's screwed. The pass falls incomplete, and Cleveland later has to settle for a field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
Baker Excels Against Jets: I gave RB Edwin Baker the game ball, and here is an example of one of his positive plays.
This is going to be a simple little pitch play. The defender in the cyan circle is DL Sheldon Richardson -- pay attention to him, because he gets the penetration.
Richardson gets by OG Garrett Gilkey and meets Baker in the hole. Baker has the quickness to put his foot in the ground and bounce to the outside, where LT Joe Thomas and TE Gary Barnidge have sealed off a defender.
I don't think any of our other active running backs could have gotten by Richardson.
Instead of this being no gain or a loss, Baker turns it into a gain of 6 yards, setting up a 2nd-and-4. It's one of the things that makes Baker an unsung hero, and Norv Turner's job a lot easier from a playcalling standpoint on future downs.
Simply Not Sharp on Offense: The execution on offense just wasn't there for most of the game against the Jets. Cleveland didn't have a problem getting into the red zone -- they got their four times, just as many times as the Jets did. They were 1-of-4 down there, though, which isn't going to cut it most days in the NFL.
This particular play wasn't in the red zone, but it gets the point across. This is a 1st-and-5 situation on the final play of the first quarter. The Browns are running a playaction fake with two receivers going out. The Jets only have a single high safety.
It looks like Gordon might have had the option to do a dig route to the inside, but when he turns his head there, he sees the safety coming. Gordon then kind of stands in place, in my opinion, trying to occupy both defenders. Meanwhile, WR Brian Tyms is breaking open over the middle of the field. I would think that Campbell would spot the safety and know he has single coverage over the middle.
Instead, with a pretty good pocket still to throw from, Campbell just tosses the ball to the sideline, while Gordon still isn't looking. Why waste this play, Campbell?
The Mystery of MarQueis Gray: We we claimed TE MarQueis Gray off waivers at the beginning of the season from the 49ers, we heard about his athleticism. Unfortunately, none of our quarterbacks ever throw the ball accurately to him.
This is actually a nicely conceived play. The Browns show max protection and then have their three receivers run up the field. C Alex Mack will leak out late as the lone lead blocker on a tight end screen pass, and Grey will release late as well.
There is the development of what I described above.
QB Jason Campbell delivers the pass, and look at all of that space in front of Grey. This could go for a touchdown, or at the very least, be down inside the 5 yard line.
Campbell overthrows the pass, though, and Grey is unable to pull it in with one hand. Campbell did make up for it on the next play with a 14-yard scramble on 3rd-and-10, but you still hate seeing all of these missed opportunities.
Can Campbell not Throw on the Run? Facing a 2nd-and-goal from the 1 yard line, the Browns had already gotten a second crack at this after a cheap roughing the passer call on the Jets.
Cleveland ran this play a few weeks ago, but with DL Billy Winn doing what TE MarQueis Grey is going to go. TE Gary Barnidge is going to fake a block and then leak toward the back of the end zone.
Is QB Jason Campbell not able to throw on the run? Here, we see Barnidge breaking open.
Here's another shot of Barnidge breaking open, but with Campbell continuing to hold on to the ball, allowing defenders to make up ground. Eventually, Campbell runs all the way to the sideline and just throws the ball out of bounds. Seriously? Why not give your tight end a shot?
I'm personally not a big fan of how Campbell delivered the next two fade passes to WR Josh Gordon either, but the first one was there and Gordon missed it, so I can't gripe too much about them.
Horton's Third-Down Defense Not Prevailing: The third-down defense and lack of a pass rush over the second half of the season is getting very irritable, isn't it? To make matters worse, this time it was QB Geno Smith being able to pick us apart. We made it easy for him.
The Browns are going to bring a corner blitz with CB Buster Skrine here. In total, this is a five-man rush, but the Jets will have seven people to block. Because of the corner blitz, we make ILB D'Qwell Jackson play man coverage on a wide receiver.
It's safe to say that our pressure did not get to Smith, eh?
With that type of lane to throw, Smith does a good job at least firing the pass over the head of OLB Barkevious Mingo, but Jackson (understandably) can't stay with WR Jeremy Kerley, who picks up a first down. If our third down defense gets one of these stops, it could be the difference between heading into the locker room up 10-0 (or more), and heading into the locker room like we did (tied 10-10).
Nelson Does What Little Can't: We cut WR David Nelson at the end of the preseason after he looked a little shaky, but he certainly didn't look shaky against the Browns on Sunday.
Nelson is in the trips bunch at the bottom, closest to the sideline, and he'll be running a similar route to what WR Greg Little dropped earlier in the game.
ILB D'Qwell Jackson is staying short, waiting for a receiver to come across, and S Jordan Poyer is behind Nelson. To the credit of QB Geno Smith, he times this throw up nicely and fits it in to Nelson's hip pocket before Poyer can make a play on the ball. This made is a 10-7 game.
Chud's Aggressiveness Should Pay Off: All season, head coach Rob Chudzinski has been aggressive at the end of the first half. I like that mentality, but unfortunately, our personnel is screwing it up too often.
Facing a 3rd-and-2 and not having any timeouts, this is the play the Browns ran. Pay attention to TE MarQueis Gray, who is running a post route from the right of QB Jason Campbell.
Campbell has good protection, and Gray has separation on his defender. This could be a big play for the Browns before the end of the half.
Instead, Campbell's pass is awful, as he overthrows Gray by a good distance. An accurate pass would have made this a nice catch-and-run, and there's an outside chance that it could have gone for a touchdown if Gray can stiff arm the smaller defender. Cleveland punted, and then Gipson's miscues allowed the game to be tied heading into the half.
Better Not to Throw it in Little's Direction: One of the themes of the 2013 season has been, "if you throw it in WR Greg Little's direction, something bad is bound to happen." It's not always his fault, though.
The Browns were driving the ball well to start the second half. Facing a 2nd-and-9, Little is running a route past the sticks and showing his numbers to QB Jason Campbell.
The Jets bring pressure, but Cleveland picks it up. Campbell is looking toward the left side of the field; if he had looked Little's direction the whole way, that pattern would have been open.
Campbell pump fakes to the left and then immediately throws to where Little is, without really having time to see where the defense is. When CB Dee Milliner saw Little open initially, he started jumping the route, and thus has a head of steam to undercut this pass for an interception. WR Josh Cooper had a one-on-one matchup streaking late.
Fleaflicker Leads to a Sack: When K Nick Folk missed a 49-yard field goal, the Browns had good starting field position.
Cleveland decided to dial up their second fleaflicker call of the season here. The first time they used it was against the Chiefs, and it went for a touchdown to WR Josh Gordon. The play is conceived in pretty much the same manner here.
Unlike the Chiefs, the Jets' safety shades more toward Gordon. This play takes too long to develop -- at this point, this would have to be a 40-yard laser from QB Jason Campbell. Still, there is some space, so I would've liked to see Campbell let this rip. Instead, he tucks is and takes a sack for a loss of three yards.
One Last Dagger, Courtesy of Ed Reed: I watched the rest of the game, but now I'm going to fastforward to the very end. What didn't I cover? Well, more of our pass rush not working, the Jets converting long pass play situations, and our offense having to settle for a field goal after a false start penalty on TE Gary Barnidge.
With the Browns down 24-13, the game was pretty much already over. The final dagger just had to come from S Ed Reed, though. Once again, QB Jason Campbell fails to hit TE MarQueis Gray too.
Campbell lofts this pass to try to drop it in the bucket of Grey, but Reed is also breaking on the ball (based on what Reed is doing, WR Josh Cooper is wide open over the middle).
Instead of making the Jets pay, Campbell overthrows Grey again. A better pass could have still been completed here, but I'm sure our players just want this miserable season to end already.
- Special Teams Tackles: There wasn't a single special teams tackle by the Browns, which I think is the first time that's ever happened since I've been doing these game reviews. K Billy Cundiff had touchbacks on all four of his attempts, the Browns downed two punts inside the 20 yard line, and the Jets fair caught P Spencer Lanning's only other punt.
- Snap Counts on Offense & Defense: If you missed them, here are the links to our snap count trackers for offense (link) and defense (link). On offense, OG Garrett Gilkey played about one-third of the snaps, and WR Josh Cooper played in the role usually filled by WR Davone Bess. On defense, NT Phil Taylor saw fewer reps as he had to leave with a concussion.
- Brownies: The Jets were 12-of-18 (67%) on third down and 3-of-4 (75%) in the red zone. ... The Jets outgained the Browns in total yards 422 to 283. ... For one of the first times this season, I thought SS T.J. Ward didn't have a Pro Bowl type of game. ... QB Brandon Weeden should have been inserted into the game with how Campbell was playing. ... WR Josh Cooper had three first-down catches. ... The Browns ran a wildcat end-around play from TE MarQueis Gray to WR Josh Gordon that went for good yardage. ... S Jordan Poyer had a punt return for 29 yards, and RB Fozzy Whittaker had a kick return for 50 yards.
Up next, the Browns take on the Steelers. It seems so long ago that we were mocking the Steelers for being in the basement, doesn't it?