The Cleveland Browns put up an exciting fight against Peyton Manning and the undefeated Denver Broncos, but ultimately blew one-too-many closeout opportunities as they fell 26-23 in overtime. Here is my film review of this week's game.
NFL Week 6 Film Review
|Denver Broncos vs. Cleveland Browns
- Goat of the Game: QB Josh McCown - I can forgive McCown for the lost fumble, but both interceptions were difference makers in the game. The first obviously led to a touchdown for a Broncos offense that couldn't get it in themselves, and the second came when Cleveland could've been in field goal range and lived for a third-down play.
- Awarding the Game Ball: ILB Karlos Dansby - This felt like our modern day "David Bowens" game for Dansby, whose pick six electrified the stadium. He finished the game with 2 interceptions, and Cleveland's linebackers in general were very good in coverage and tackling against the Broncos.
- Dansby Notches First Pick That Stands: On the Broncos' first possession of the game, the Browns' defense logged their first interception of the season in which Cleveland maintained possession.
Facing a 1st-and-10 from Denver's 42 yard line, QB Peyton Manning lined up in the pistol. CB Tramon Williams is in man coverage at the bottom of the screen with WR Emmanuel Sanders. SS Donte Whitner comes up to show blitz on the play, but then backs out into shallow zone coverage. ILB Karlos Dansby fakes the rush over the middle before also dropping back into zone coverage. The "X" marks the spot that Manning is trying to hit.
Here is how it looked from Manning's perspective. I think he saw Dansby, but felt he could squeeze a pass in over the middle. Williams has tight coverage, but a picture-perfect throw might connect.
Dansby was slowly dropping a little bit toward the opposite direction, but he makes an athletic play by reaching back with his right hand and then tipping the pass to himself for an interception. Dansby returned the pick to the Denver 49 yard line.
- Good Guy Gary Doesn't Convert: The Browns picked up a first down with two running plays, but then started going through the air.
After a couple of incompletions, the Browns faced a 4th-and-5 from the Broncos' 32 yard line. There were high winds at game time, so we don't know what K Travis Coons' range was. Head coach Mike Pettine kept the offense on the field and lined up WR Brian Hartline to the outside right, with TE Gary Barnidge tight right. Hartline is running the shallow in route, and Barnidge's in route is a little deeper -- beyond the sticks.
Benjamin is asking for the ball deep, but the coverage is pretty tight on all of the receivers. QB Josh McCown goes with Barnidge over the middle, who has been money on fourth down conversions over the past two years.
I praised McCown for his ball placement last week. Although that was more so on shorter routes, on this type of play, the ball could have been a little more out in front of Barnidge so he could shield off the defender better. Still, the ball hits Barnidge in the hands, and he drops it, turning the ball over on downs.
- Broncos Convert Their 4th Down: On the Broncos' next possession, they faced a similar decision -- 4th-and-4 from the Browns' 38 yard line, and they decided to go for it.
WR Demaryius Thomas is lined up in the middle of the three receivers to the right of QB Peyton Manning. WR Emmanuel Sanders, in the slot to the right, is going to block CB K'Waun Williams past five yards downfield, and it creates a pick that prevents CB Pierre Desir from staying with Thomas. SS Donte Whitner starts racing up as he sees the play developing.
It's a good read by Whitner, but as Thomas was coming out of his break to cut left, he saw Whitner charging to stop the play. Thomas they turned his eyes toward Manning as he ran his route, but as he caught the pass, instead of continuing (like most receivers would), he made a wise decision to plant his foot in the ground and turn around before going upfield.
The maneuver allowed Thomas to avoid the collision with Whitner and pick up the first down. It's a play I'd love to see Whitner make, but I give more credit to Thomas on this play than I do blame toward Whitner.
- Hitting the Spot on the Outside: I was really hoping that the Browns' cornerbacks would be able to show some closing speed on the lofting out routes that I knew QB Peyton Manning was going to throw throughout the game. Instead, he kept completing them to receivers on CB Pierre Desir.
This is a 3rd-and-7 from the Browns' 27 yard line. WR Demaryius Thomas is the only receiver to the left, running a deep out route.
FS Jordan Poyer is going to help double team the underneath route with CB K'Waun Williams. Manning has a perfect pocket to stand in and deliver the ball to his spot. Arm strength isn't necessary on these throws with precision and timing.
What happened to the Browns' pass rush on the play? It was ineffective most of the afternoon for a variety of reasons (not winning the battles, and sometimes just choosing to drop more players in coverage). Because of Manning's passes being off throughout the game or receivers dropping passes, Denver could never find a consistent offensive rhythm.
On this particular pass rush, Cleveland sends ILB Karlos Dansby to blitz the left guard, and OLB Paul Kruger lines up over the center and tries to rush from there. ILB Christian Kirksey is at the line on the left, but he's going to simply shift to the right after the snap to keep an eye on the blocking back in case he leaks into a route.
As you can see, the pass rush does nothing to disrupt Manning. In the screenshot above, Desir is just out of the frame to the left. His coverage is pretty good, but this was a game where I was hoping our corners would be more aggressive in trying to jump passes, knowing Manning can't get the ball out there as quick as he used to.
- Defense Holds on Odd Play Call: I didn't quite understand what the Broncos were thinking they could accomplish on this 3rd-and-8 play from the 9 yard line.
Both outside receivers just stand at the line of scrimmage and face QB Peyton Manning on a play where out defensive backs are letting the receivers catch anything in front of them. Both inside receivers mirror each other's routes, pretty much running where our secondary is already waiting. Three of our defenders triple team the right end dumpoff over the middle.
Look at the end zone -- would you want to fit a ball in to either receiver? Nope -- so Manning turns and throws the ball out into the flat to WR Jordan Norwood. The ball doesn't get out their quickly, which allows both Browns' defenders on that side of the field to rush over and hit Norwood for a loss of 1 yard. The Broncos kicked a 29-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 2:52 left in the first quarter.
- Nearly a Big Run: The Browns picked up three first downs on their next offensive possession, the last of which came on the final play of the first quarter.
Facing a 1st-and-10 from the Broncos' 38 yard line to start the second quarter, RB Isaiah Crowell is going to get the handoff on a formation where Cleveland has a very heavy formation to the right -- that's TE Jim Dray, TE Gary Barnidge, and WR Brian Hartline all outside the right tackle. LG Joel Bitonio is going to take a be a really wide pulling guard on this play, but pay attention to the pursuit of OLB Shaquil Barrett, who was filling in for OLB DeMarcus Ware.
Instead of sprinting to the outside, Crowell slow down a tad so he can wait for Bitonio to blow up the defensive back on the outside. If that would've happened, he could've been gone up the sideline. Unfortunately, when you're facing a very good defense, different players step up to nip plays like this in the bud. Barrett, who had a heck of a game, dives at Crowell from behind to stop this play for a loss of two yards.
- The Ultimate Head-Scratcher: On the Browns' next play, facing a 2nd-and-12, QB Josh McCown threw a pick six to CB Aqib Talib.
When I saw this play live, I was wondering if Talib just made a heck of a read. After watching the play on the coaches film, it really is one of those head-scratchers where you want to shake McCown and say, "what the hell were you doing?" The Broncos' secondary drops back into zone coverage, and Cleveland spreads the field with five receivers. Let's pay attention to WR Travis Benjamin at the bottom of the screen, because that's all McCown paid attention to.
McCown took the snap in Shotgun, took half a step back, and quickly began throwing to the outside while Talib is already playing off coverage in zone. Benjamin hasn't even turned around yet and is angling his turnaround route toward the outside. If the throw is a quick hitter, you throw inside only if Benjamin is running a slant, otherwise, you throw outside and away from the defender. Benjamin will turn around on the "green X," but the throw goes to the "magenta X."
Based on where he started on the play, Talib doesn't even have to make a miraculous play. He just runs up a couple of yards and snags the pass, taking it the distance to give the Broncos a 10-0 lead with 14:09 to play in the second quarter.
- Missing Off of Playaction: PFF tells us that QB Josh McCown has used play action on 12.9% of his pass plays this season, and that only 4 quarterbacks have used playaction less frequently. Therefore, when it's used, you'd like to think that the defense bites for it pretty hard.
This is a 2nd-and-9 play from midfield on the Browns' next possession after the interception. TE Gary Barnidge is running an intermediate out route with seven other Browns on the line for protection off of a playaction pass.
RG John Greco gets bull-rushed right into McCown's face on this play, and to make matters worse, C Alex Mack's man is slipping by him with a free rush at the quarterback.
We saw McCown connect with Barnidge on a catch-and-run touchdown like this against the Raiders several weeks ago. Had McCown had a little more time and space to step into a throw, he could've thrown the ball more upfield and let Barnidge get under it. Instead, he had to rush the throw to the outside, and it sails beyond the outstretched arms of his tight end. Cleveland had to punt after not converting on third down.
- ddd: The Broncos then had a three-and-out, followed by a Cleveland three-and-out.
When Denver got the ball back, they faced a 3rd-and-5 from their own 20 yard line with under 6 minutes to play in the second quarter. OLB Paul Kruger and DE Desmond Bryant both beat their man and are coming at QB Peyton Manning.
WR Emmanuel Sanders ran a very simple button hook route at the marker and was wide open. This is not a difficult throw in the least for any quarterback to make, but Manning throws it a couple of yards to Sanders' left for an incomplete pass. The Browns' defense deserves credit for some of the things they did, but plays like this are why I didn't give Manning the QB edge heading into the game.
- Fake Slant, Run the Draw: The Browns unveiled a new wrinkle on offense against the Broncos this week.
The wrinkle was faking the quick slant pass to WR Travis Benjamin, letting the edge defender rush wide on the offensive tackle, and then handing the ball off to the running back after the delay. While the play didn't work every time, it seemed to gain positive yardage on several occasions.
On this particular instance, RB Duke Johnson took the play all the way to the outside for a gain of 12 yards.
- Broncos Destroy Browns on Stunts: Stunts, stunts, and more stunts. The Browns' offensive line handled themselves fine in pass protection for a good number of plays, but the area they really struggled in was handling the Broncos' stunts.
This play is later in the drive, with the Browns facing a 3rd-and-10 from the Broncos' 48 yard line with under 4 minutes to go in the first half. Denver is going to rush the outside guy at LT Joe Thomas, and then the guy over LG Joel Bitonio circles around Thomas.
Thomas sees the stunt at the last second and does just enough to chip the defender, allowing QB Josh McCown to step up in the pocket. After this frame, though, Bitonio falls down, so when McCown steps up...
...he's being met by the defender who originally went at Thomas. The throw is well behind Barnidge, but it might not have mattered for two reasons: (1) the defender had really tight coverage, and (2) Barnidge would've been short of the first down by about two yards. Cleveland had to punt and went into the half down 10-0.
- Starting the Second Half Well: After getting to midfield several times in the first half with no points, the Browns' offense got a much-needed boost to begin the second half.
The boost started with the team's biggest play of the game (up to that point), facing a 3rd-and-5 from their own 45 yard line. WR Travis Benjamin is running a streak route wide left to occupy the safety deeo. WR Brian Hartline is next to him, setting a pick. WR Andrew Hawkins will run a bit of a wheel route, as the defender in man coverage will run in to the traffic caused by Hartline.
There is the "legal" pick. You can tell how much the Browns worked on the timing of this play because QB Josh McCown is already releasing the pass here.
McCown drops it right in the bucket for a 25-yard completion down to the Broncos' 30 yard line, which is the closest Cleveland has been to the end zone all game.
- First Touchdown to Barnidge: Several plays later, the Browns faced a 3rd-and-3 from the Broncos' 11 yard line.
RB Duke Johnson lined up in the backfield next to QB Josh McCown, running a shallow out route. TE Gary Barnidge is tight right, running a flag route to the corner. On the other side of the field, WR Travis Benjamin and WR Andrew Hawkins are both running quick slants, while WR Brian Hartline is running a corner route to the left. The defender in cyan will drop back to cover Barnidge, and with the distance he'll have to go and no safety help, McCown picks that matchup right away.
Barnidge has less room to work with, so McCown will have to take advantage of his height and make sure he doesn't lead him out of the end zone. If McCown had looked left instead, he also would've had a good shot at connecting with Hartline.
The defender does what he can to break this up, but Barnidge does a great job going up and securing the ball while also getting two feet down. The touchdown cuts the Broncos' lead to 10-7 with 11:07 remaining in the third quarter.
- Broncos Linebackers Find the Gaps: After the Browns' defense forced a relatively quick series for Denver, a fair catch interference penalty on Denver gave Cleveland good starting field position.
Facing a 2nd-and-3 from their own 42 yard line, the Broncos' linebackers continued to place their stamp on the game, this time with somewhat of a stunt again. With nobody lined up over LG Joel Bitonio but four defenders over there, Bitonio immediately crashes to his left at the snap. FB Malcolm Johnson goes to block No. 59 over the middle, but No. 54 fills the gap vacated by Bitonio. Additionally, No. 58 easily blows by TE Jim Dray on the outside.
Even if we complain about the vision that RB Isaiah Crowell, this play is doomed before he even has the ball in his gut. The Broncos stuff Crowell for a loss of two yards.
- Not Continuing the Momentum: On the next play, the Browns are facing a 3rd-and-5 from their own 40 yard line.
WR Travis Benjamin runs a button hook wide left. Next to him with the deep crosser over the middle is WR Taylor Gabriel, and WR Andrew Hawkins is running a short crosser at the sticks. On the right are TE Gary Barnidge, running an intermediate out route, and RB Duke Johnson with a shallower out route. The Broncos are playing zone coverage on this third down play.
McCown isn't pressured too heavily, but he is set on trying to fit this in to a tight window to Barnidge. If he had looked at Hawkins over the middle, he would've been wide open for a first down.
Instead, the throw to Barnidge is a stride out in front, leading to the incomplete pass and a Cleveland punt.
- Unblocked Hit Leads to Fumble: The Browns' defense forced another three-and-out, and then a 20-yard punt return by WR Travis Benjamin set the Browns' next possession up at midfield with under 6 minutes to play in the third quarter.
WR Taylor Gabriel is running a streak route wide right. FB Malcolm Johnson is running a route to the flat on the right, with TE Gary Barnidge running an out route. At the bottom of the screen are WR Andrew Hawkins running a slant and RB Duke Johnson going out to the flat.
Right at the snap, McCown is going to look to his left, making No. 48 (OLB Shaqil Barrett) his blindside. Before the snap, M. Johnson was lined up in the slot, with Barrett over him. When M. Johnson shifted over tight, Barrett followed him, so McCown probably assumed that Barrett would be taking M. Johnson in man coverage.Instead, he's going to come wide and fast on the blitz, uncontested.
Nobody was really open on the play, but it looked like McCown was going to try fitting this in to Hawkins. I think one could argue that Barrett led with his helmet to McCown's head/neck area, but it's still very much a deserved forced fumble by the Broncos.
This is just an overhead shot of Hawkins on the slant. McCown was probably waiting for the underneath defender (going toward D. Johnson) to clear before he released the ball.
- Browns Holt Denver to Three: Despite the turnover, the Browns' defense held strong in the red zone again.
Facing a 3rd-and-5 from the 10 yard line, QB Peyton Manning tried a quick out to RB C.J. Anderson. Given how our linebackers have struggled in coverage against running backs this year, I'd normally say this is a good play. However, our linebackers were all over Denver's running backs on Sunday.
ILB Christian Kirksey had good pursuit and took Anderson down after a gain of 3 yards, forcing Denver to settle for a 25-yard field goal to make it a 13-7 game with 2:06 remaining in the third quarter.
- Taking Notice: After the Browns went three-and-out, the Broncos had the ball in Cleveland territory at the start of the fourth quarter.
WR Emmanuel Sanders is lined up wide right, streaking to the end zone on CB Tramon Williams. SS Donte Whitner fakes a safety blitz before jumping the slot receiver in case QB Peyton Manning went there on this 3rd-and-2 pass play.
The throw is placed in a picture perfect spot for Sanders, but Williams does a good job latching on to one of Sanders' arms as the ball gets there, preventing him from being able to haul in the touchdown. Denver settles for a 39-yard field goal, but the 16-7 lead gives them a two-possession lead with 13:33 to go in the game.
- Taking Advantage of the Offsides: QB Josh McCown wisely got aggressive when he saw the Broncos jump offsides on this 3rd-and-9 play from their own 21 yard line.
Usually, the officials would blow this dead, but they let the play go after Cleveland snaps the ball, and Denver's defensive line is all flat-footed because they don't know whether the play is counting or not. WR Travis Benjamin takes off and McCown is looking his way the entire time.
For some reason, the cornerback releases Benjamin to the safety. Granted, there are times in which coverages are designed to do that, but everyone else seemed to be playing man coverage.
With the safety backpedaling, Benjamin makes a nice adjustment to come back for the ball, jump up, and snag it in air. Only the twirling leg tackle by the Broncos defender prevented this from going the distance, but I'll take the 47-yard completion without complaint.
- Drawing Closer With Barnidge: The new thing for QB Josh McCown is to find TE Gary Barnidge whenever possible in the end zone.
Facing a 3rd-and-6 from the 14 yard line, WR Travis Benjamin is running a quick slant at the top of the screen, with WR Andrew Hawkins running straight up into the slot. RB Duke Johnson runs out into the flat, and WR Brian Hartline kind of runs a route just to get in the way of defenders from wide right. Barnidge is lined up closest to McCown's right, faking a flag route before taking it to the post.
At the snap, S David Bruton (No. 30) is shadowing Barnidge to the inside. When he sees Barnidge go to the flag, he releases him to SS T.J. Ward, and then turns around to sit near the goal line in a bit of zone coverage.
Bruton has lost his depth over the middle and is unaware of Barnidge taking this back to the post. McCown delivers an on-target pass over the defender for the touchdown, making it a 16-14 game with 9:16 left in the game.
- Dansby's OMG Moment: Three plays later, the Broncos faced a 2nd-and-11 from their own 34 yard line. That's when ILB Karlos Dansby had the play of the game that had Browns fans in joyous disbelief.
OLB Paul Kruger and DL John Hughes combine for a rare pressure on this play. Dansby sees RB Ronnie Hillman and takes him in man coverage.
The pressure forces Manning to step up a tad. In a bit of a panic, Manning looks for the closest receiver to dump a pass off to.
Manning sees Hillman and throws it out to him.
The throw is catchable, but a little behind Hillman. Dansby was getting ready to wrap up Hillman when, surprise!, the football deflects right into his midsection. He holds on for dear life, tiptoes along the sideline, and scores a touchdown to give the Browns a 20-16 lead with 8:07 left in the game.
- Failed Two-Point Conversions: The decision by head coach Mike Pettine to go for two points was a much-debated one, and when you don't convert, people will talk about it in hindsight. I will tell you my reaction before the plays were run: I thought they should have kicked the extra point. While I understood that Denver could win with two field goals then, I felt that with the amount of time left in the game, if Denver scored a touchdown and then don't convert their two-point try, you open the door of a field goal winning it for Cleveland.
On the Browns' first two-point try, QB Josh McCown was looking to WR Travis Benjamin on the quick slant to the top of the screen.
The quick slant worked for the duo often during the game, but that was when the defender was in off coverage. I hate to say it, but this is where you need one of those bigger bodies like a Dwayne Bowe to shield off a defender (if they are actually trying). Because Denver was offsides, Cleveland got another crack at this, but at the 1 yard line.
I would've favored running the ball here if they were still going to go for it, but I'm not too upset about a pass. WR Travis Benjamin is running a slant again, but from a tighter spot. RB Isaiah Crowell goes shallow into the flat after the playaction, and WR Brian Hartline is running the out route. The whole key to the play is for Denver to bite for the run, which would leave a guy like Crowell open in the flat, or Hartline open on the outside.
Denver is looking for the pass all the way, though. McCown has to try to improvise. With too much traffic on the right, he waits for Benjamin to cut back to the middle.
McCown picks the right time to release a pass, but with the defense bearing down on him, he can't deliver an accurate enough of a pass to Benjamin (the ball lands where the yellow "x" is drawn.
- Manning Tries it Again: Remember the play that WR Demaryius Thomas couldn't haul in a couple of series earlier in the end zone? QB Peyton Manning wanted to take a shot at it again.
The Browns did not bring much pressure on Manning throughout the game, relying on a rather safe gameplan and Denver's offensive struggles to help them minimize the damage. Pre-snap, I was a bit surprised when SS Donte Whitner ran up to the line of scrimmage and then came on the blitz. That decision, which Manning saw right away, made him commit to taking his shot at Sanders.
CB Tramon Williams has what I consider to be darn good coverage on the play, but Manning fits in a perfect pass. Instead of this being a 25-30 yard gain, FS Jordan Poyer doesn't take the right angle...
...and it costs Cleveland. Sanders' catch-and-run goes for 75 yards and a go-ahead touchdown, making it a 23-20 game with 7:53 left in the game.
Here is a shot of the Browns bringing six rushers on the play, but Manning made his mind up early and got the ball out.
- Wrong Time for the Fullback Surprise: After both teams went three-and-out, the Browns got the ball back with under five minutes to play and were driving into the red zone.
Several nice runs by RB Robert Turbin set the Browns up with a 1st-and-10 from the 11 yard line with 1:53 left in the game. A field goal could extend the game to overtime, but the Browns want to go for the win in regulation, if possible. Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo thought he could catch the Broncos off-guard by having WR Brian Hartline and TE Jim Dray run pick/slant routes to the middle to the field, and then having FB Malcolm Johnson be the lone receiver on the right side of the field. In theory, I could see where a defense might get distracted and ignore the fullback, but I don't know if I'd try it with the game on the line.
Three defenders see the play developing as QB Josh McCown is releasing the pass, and they are all over it. Johnson does what he can to get back to the line of scrimmage.
- Broncos' Defense Ready on 3rd Down: After running the ball on second down, Cleveland faced a 3rd-and-7 from the 8 yard line.
WR Travis Benjamin lined up wide left, running a fade to the left corner of the end zone. WR Brian Hartline lined up wide right, running a slant to the middle. WR Andrew Hawkins crosses with Hartline, and TE Gary Barnidge runs a post over the middle. I think the Browns were hoping that Denver would strictly be in man coverage here, and then McCown would hit Hartline on the slant to see if he could get in. However, the Broncos' cornerbacks communicate well and call for the switch mid-play.
Hartline is covered. The safety is kind of lingering in the end zone, so it's hard to take a chance and rip one in to Barnidge or Hawkins, knowing that a field goal could at least send the game to overtime.
When McCown sees RG John Greco falling down at his feet, he bails from the pocket and throws the ball away. Cleveland kicks a 26-yard field goal to tie the game at 23-23 with 1:30 left in the game.
- Another Chance, Deflated: The Browns forced a very quick three-and-out on Denver and got the ball back with a minute to play and all three timeouts. The Broncos had burned all of their timeouts, meaning if Cleveland had gotten in range for a ~55 yard field goal, they could've tried it at the final whistle without worrying about field position.
Facing a 2nd-and-10 from the 46 yard line, the Browns ran a play that I'm not too big of a fan of. All four receivers on the route are basically headed to the same spot, as you'll see in the next screenshot.
Yikes! Talk about congestion.
The Broncos bring five rushers and Cleveland has six blockers (including RB Isaiah Crowell). The defender lined up on the right is going to run a stunt all the way to the other side, and Cleveland won't be able to account for it.
You can see the two rushers coming free. McCown steps up...but notice Crowell on the ground after he just threw a block.
Crowell got up a hair too late, otherwise, McCown might have seen him. If he had seen Crowell and been able to flip the ball to him, there were no defenders on the right side of the field, and he might have scored. At the very least, he'd have gotten into comfortable field goal range.
Instead, McCown says he was trying to throw the ball away. He didn't get enough on it, as the Denver defensive back logged the interception to send the game to overtime.
- Mingo Uses Length for OT INT: The Broncos won the coin toss in overtime and were facing a 3rd-and-2 from their own 39 yard line.
WR Demaryius Thomas is running a button hook at the bottom of the screen, but Cleveland drops eight defenders into zone coverage, only rushing three.
QB Peyton Manning isn't being pressured too much and thinks he can get the ball over Mingo's head and in to Thomas.
Mingo's length helps make the interception, but ultimately, this is just an awful decision by Manning. Mingo returned the interception to the 37 yard line, but the officials marked it off at the 39 yard line instead.
- The Bobbled Pitch: This is the play that probably haunts me the most from Sunday.
Facing a 1st-and-10 from the 39 yard line, the Browns might have needed about 6 yards for a legitimate chance a field goal attempt by K Travis Coons from 50 yards. On the first play, look how close Denver was at the line of scrimmage -- they basically have 9 guys in the box with no safety help. Cleveland decides to run a pitch play to RB Robert Turbin...and then he bobbles it.
FB Malcolm Johnson dives at one defender -- it's not a world class block, but it might be enough to allow a running back to get to the outside. However, the safety was coming on a blitz right from the snap. If Turbin catches the ball cleanly, he might get to the outside, or at least have a chance at stiff-arming the safety and then seeing what he can do. The bobble prevents any of that, and in a bang-bang play, it's now too late.
Turbin tries to cut back, but is dropped for a loss of 3 yards.
- Running on Empty With the Playbook? At the end of the fourth quarter, I didn't understand the play design to have four Browns receivers in the same spot.
This pass play on 2nd-and-13 from the 42 yard line was almost just as puzzling to me. Cleveland is going to run both outside receivers up the field, and then have them turn straight around. If the receivers cut in or out, it'd give QB Josh McCown somewhere to throw the ball to. By turning straight around on intermediate routes, the defensive back just stays glued to them. The other three routes are very basic short routes.
Everything is well covered here -- where would you have gone if you were McCown? He takes the sack, and at that point, we pretty much know Cleveland will have to punt. The Browns have to punt, and after completing a third-down pass to TE Owen Daniels, Denver is able to run the ball the rest of the way into field goal range to kick the game-winning 34-yard attempt.
- Special Teams Notes: The Browns had 7 special teams tackles with 2 each from S Don Jones and S Ibraheim Campbell, and 1 each from S Jordan Poyer, CB Johnson Bademosi, and CB Justin Gilbert. The Browns had 4 assists, with 2 from FB Malcolm Johnson and 1 each from RB Shaun Draughn and CB Johnson Bademosi. P Andy Lee averaged 46.0 yards per attempt on 7 punts, with a net average of 40.6 yards. K was 1-of-1 on field goals, hitting from 26 yards.
- Snap Counts on Offense & Defense: If you missed them, here are the links to our snap count trackers for offense (link) and defense (link).
- Brownies: The Browns converted 6-of-15 (40%) 3rd down attempts, while the Broncos converted 4-of-18 (22%) 3rd down attempts. ... Denver out-gained the Browns in yardage 442 to 298. ... Denver had 8 penalties for 81 yards, while Cleveland had 6 penalties for 30 yards. ... The Broncos had the ball for 36:44 compared to the Browns having it for 33:20. ... Cleveland's defense held the Broncos to 3 field goals in 3 trips to the red zone. ... K Travis Coons again struggled on his kickoff depth. ... On the Browns' final drive of regulation, before QB Josh McCown's interception, the officials seemed to miss a hands to the face penalty to WR Brian Hartline. ... The Broncos muffed two plays on special teams but got back on both of them.
Up next, the Browns take on theKeep it tuned to Dawgs By Nature for our coverage leading up to the game!