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Browns vs. Falcons: Analyzing the Snap Counts (Offense)

Looking at the offensive snap counts in the Browns' 26-24 victory over the Falcons.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Browns put up 475 yards of offense against the Falcons, a season high. They also saw their quarterback throw for 300+ yards in back-to-back games, the first time that has happened since Brian Sipe did it back in 1980. Check out the snap distributions below for the offense, and let us know what your reactions are in the comments section.

Offensive Line
Joe Thomas Joel Bitonio
Nick McDonald
John Greco
Mitchell Schwartz
75/75 plays
75/75 plays
75/75 plays
75/75 plays
75/75 plays

Thoughts: All five starters played the entire game. They allowed one sack and held up very well, as was expected, against Atlanta's poorly-ranked defense. On special teams, LG Joel Bitonio made a heck of a touchdown-saving tackle on KR Devin Hester.

Running Back / Fullback
Isaiah Crowell Terrance West Ray Agnew
45/75 plays
30/75 plays
24/75 plays

Isaiah Crowell: 12 carries, 88 yards, 7.3 YPC, 2 touchdowns.
Terrance West: 14 carries, 62 yards, 4.4 YPC. 1 catch, 9 yards (1 target).
Ray Agnew: 0 catches (1 target).

Thoughts: Now that is more like it! For what seems like the first time all season, there was a feeling of clarity at the running back position. Cleveland committed to a pretty even, two-back approach. Late in the game, the coaching staff kept Isaiah Crowell in the game, showing trust that he would not fumble the football. Crowell made the most of his carries, and with both backs running like they did, this type of distribution is a great way to keep each of them fresh. Ray Agnew might have had his best game as a Brown, with the highlight coming when he was alert to recover a fumble by Terrance West in the first half.

Wide Receiver
Josh Gordon
Miles Austin Andrew Hawkins Taylor Gabriel Travis Benjamin
52/75 plays
47/75 plays
46/75 plays
21/75 plays
19/75 plays

Josh Gordon: 8 catches, 120 yards (16 targets).*
Miles Austin: 6 catches, 64 yards (8 targets).
Andrew Hawkins: 5 catches, 93 yards (5 targets).
Taylor Gabriel: 1 catch, 13 yards (2 targets).
Travis Benjamin: 0 catches (2 targets).

*Gordon was also 0-of-1 passing and registered two tackles (off of interceptions).

Thoughts: Welcome back, Josh Gordon! Heading into the game, I predicted that Gordon would play between 60-70% of the snaps, and he fell within that range. Moving forward, we might see that number creep up a tad (mid-70s, and perhaps the low-80s), but I don't think we'll see a day where he plays in the 90s.

Unless we're trying to rally, playing Gordon less offers advantages because it allows Kyle Shanahan to mix personnel groupings among a talented bunch. Andrew Hawkins had a lot more space to work with in the open field this week. Taylor Gabriel's playing time was affected the most as Cleveland opted to keep Miles Austin's workload at a high rate.

Tight End
Gary Barnidge Jim Dray
52/75 plays
39/75 plays

Gary Barnidge: 2 catches, 23 yards (3 targets).
Jim Dray: 0 catches (1 target).

Thoughts: In what could be the final game before Jordan Cameron's return to the lineup, Gary Barnidge had another big, late-game catch, bringing flashbacks to the Saints game in Week 2. Jim Dray was open but underthrown on Brian Hoyer's first interception of the game.

Brian Hoyer
75/75 plays

Brian Hoyer: 23-of-40 (57.5%) for 322 yards, 3 interceptions. 3 carries, 12 yards.

Thoughts: I love Brian Hoyer, but watching his inaccuracy grow by the week is starting to eat away at me. Josh Gordon was pretty wide open at least three more times in this game on fairly easy throws, but Hoyer threw the ball well out of his range. Although those throws were irritable, the interceptions -- all three of them -- were pretty inexcusable.

On the first, Hoyer needs to lead his receiver upfield regardless of whether there is an underneath defender or not, and he didn't. On the second, you don't take that type of risk unless it's a third down play near the end of the game and you're trying to score from behind. On the final interception, Gordon was open enough but Hoyer's interception allowed the Falcons to have an even shorter field to get in range for a game-winning (or so we thought) field goal attempt.

Hoyer then proceeded to have an awesome drive with 0:44 left and three timeouts to put Cleveland in position for the game-winning field goal as time expired. That drive single-handedly bought Hoyer at least two more games as the team's starting quarterback. If the Browns had lost and dropped to 6-5 on the season, I'm sure the coaches would have began to prep Johnny Manziel a little bit more in case they wanted to make the switch to him in Week 14. It's not about being fickle, it's about evaluating the position. Hoyer was nearly detrimental enough to be the reason Cleveland lost to Atlanta. If that is ever the case for multiple weeks and you've got a team built to protect a commodity like a first-round pick (the Browns still protect the passer quite well), a switch is fair and necessary.