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Film Review: Browns’ first half vs. Jets, Part 1

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We look at Myles Garrett’s first career sack, and two of the Browns’ red zone misses against the Jets.

New York Jets v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

These film review sessions get pretty tiresome as the losses continue to pile up for the Cleveland Browns, who are now 0-5. They moved the ball better than the Jets did the majority of the game, but red zone gaffes cost them dearly. Our two film review sessions will focus on plays from the first half of the game, where Cleveland was shut out but should have been up a couple of scores.

Play 1 - Myles Garrett Begins with a Sack

The Jets received the ball first and faced a 3rd-and-5. That’s when Myles Garrett entered the game for his first career snap, lining up at the 3-technique (which means he’s on the outside shoulder of the guard). The Browns overload with four rushers on Garrett’s side, while the center, right guard, and right tackle are only blocking one person.

LG James Carpenter’s takes a first step left as Garrett swims inside. Based on Carpenter’s reaction, I assume that Garrett was who he intended to block (i.e. he wasn’t trying to pass him off to the center). He closed on QB Josh McCown well for one of the league’s fastest sacks in Week 5:

Play 2 - Kizer’s Scramble Extends Drive

On the Browns’ second drive of the game, Cleveland was in scoring range. Already having converted a 4th-and-1, they now faced a 3rd-and-3. WR Bryce Treggs is wide left with WR Ricardo Louis slot left. On the right side, TE David Njoku is wide right with TE Randall Telfer in the slot. The underneath receivers are crossing, with the outside receivers running deeper slant routes.

QB DeShone Kizer looks to his right at the snap, and RB Duke Johnson is the only player in that direction toward the flat. The Jets have it covered, so Kizer bails on the play and scrambles left. It works to his favor because the safety on that side of the field over-committed to the middle of the field early on, leaving the field to the left of the hashmarks completely vacated. Kizer picks up 16 yards here, setting up a 1st-and-goal at the 6 yard line.

Play 3 - Hesitating With the Throw

The Browns ran the ball for 3 yards on first down, making it 2nd-and-goal from the 3 yard line. Cleveland runs a playaction fake here, with FB Danny Vitale blocking the guy who could disrupt the flat pass to RB Isaiah Crowell.

Because of Vitale’s nice block, Crowell is open right away. It should be the very first read on the play, but for some reason, QB DeShone Kizer is looking to the back right corner of the end zone, and his footwork is planted as if he’s going to throw there too despite there being no receivers there.

Instead, Kizer decides to float a pass beyond the reach of Crowell for an incompletion. If he sticks him right away, Crowell would’ve had a good shot of catching, turning, and stiff-arming the defender for a touchdown. If he really didn’t like the look, he also had WR Bryce Treggs breaking open late on the left -- but that was kind of set up by Kizer staring to his right the whole time.

Play 4 - Botching the Option Pitch

Now facing 3rd-and-goal from the 3 yard line, the Browns had three receivers lined up left, and RB Isaiah Crowell next to QB DeShone Kizer in Shotgun. TE Seth DeValve blocks S Marcus Maye at the second level. LT Joe Thomas and LG Joel Bitonio initially block LB Julian Stanford, and then Thomas releases to the second level to try to get a chip on LB Demario Davis.

Meanwhile, LB Freddie Bishop (#50) has the responsibility of determining whether to stay with Kizer or go after Crowell. Bishop doesn’t pursue the outside lane, and therefore Crowell is open for the pitch. With a clean pitch, I believe Crowell scores on this play due to having a head of steam as he approaches the goal line. We know the story, though — the pitch is too far in front of Crowell, and it leads to a fumble.

I blame Kizer for the pitch, but we can’t completely absolve Crowell. For all we know, in practice, Crowell may have been out in front more on this, and happened to be a yard further back come gametime. Either way, the play was botched and a sign of things to come.

Play 5 - Missing Njoku on the Hitch and Go

Flashforward to the end of the second quarter. Cleveland has already missed a second opportunity (a 52-yard field goal). But the defense kept playing well, and it was 0-0. This was a 2nd-and-7 play from the 16 yard line. WR Bryce Treggs is by himself wide right. Wide left, WR Sammie Coates is running a go route. WR Rashard Higgins is in the slot running a shallow out route. TE David Njoku runs a hitch-and-go route up the seam.

Kizer’s first read is to look left. As soon as he sees the safety shading toward his first read, he should know in the back of his head that the middle of the field is vacated, and Njoku should be open. When he bails on his first ready, he is still protected very well. While late, he may even still have time to zip a throw to Njoku. Instead, he scrambled for two yards. Two defensive penalties did still allow for an automatic first down, but we missed a touchdown (which comes back to haunt them).

Play 6 - Intercepted at the Goal Line

Now facing 3rd-and-3 from the 4 yard line, Cleveland sends TE Seth DeValve in motion, and WR Bryce Treggs is the lone receiver wide right. Treggs is basically running a clearout route, hoping that DeValve will be wide open at the front part of the end zone with a rolling pocket.

I think this is an excellent play by S Marcus Maye to jump the route for the interception. With that said, it also doubles as a bad play by QB DeShone Kizer. There is literally only one read on this play, and it’s DeValve. That means he pretty much has one defender to read (Maye).

Kizer has to either throw this away, or hang on just a touch longer and allow DeValve to drift to the back of the end zone so he can give him a shot at making a play. Instead, he throws it right to him. We’re fortunate that RB Isaiah Crowell wasn’t blocked (pre-interception), otherwise this would’ve probably been a pick six.

In Part 2, we’ll finish out the first half with four more key plays that prevented Cleveland from scoring and allowed the Jets to have a 3-0 lead.