This is a continuation from Part 1 of our film review from the Browns vs. Texans game. In Part 2, we’ll look at five more plays. If you’re sick of the doom-and-gloom, we do finish off with two positive plays involving DE Myles Garrett, a bright spot from Sunday’s contest.
Play 8 - The Frustrating Tight End Screen
I’d be content if the Browns never ran this play again. For some reason, head coach Hue Jackson has an infatuation with making the tight end screen pass to TE David Njoku work. I understand that the real purpose of this play could actually be to set up something greater down the road (i.e. like the one week we got WR Kenny Britt deep out of a formation like this), but it’s still frustrating and Cleveland can’t execute it.
The Browns have trips tight ends on the right, with TE Seth DeValve and TE Randall Telfer being the lead blockers. There are four defenders in the area, and with there not being any hard fake on the run, neither of the two inside defenders of those four bite for RB Isaiah Crowell. Telfer cannot block the outside defender, CB Johnathan Joseph, and TE Seth DeValve really doesn’t have his man blocked too well either. The play goes for a loss of three yards, setting up a 2nd-and-13.
Play 9 - A Worthy Shot at Duke Johnson
If we’re going to go down on a drive, I at least like my chances taking a shot with RB Duke Johnson against a linebacker. To the credit of rookie LB Dylan Cole, he does a very good job in coverage downfield against Johnson here. Although a perfect pass can get the completion to Johnson because Cole doesn’t get his head around, the pass is about a yard behind Johnson. Out of dumb luck, Cole turns his head slightly and has to be stunned that the ball drops right into his hands for the interception.
The other thing to watch here is LG Joel Bitonio, who gets bull-rushed into QB Kevin Hogan as he unleashes the deep ball, which might have been why it was a bit underthrown. It’s not a terrible job by Bitonio, as the bull-rush wasn’t immediate (3 seconds into the play), but it still played a factor in the outcome.
Play 10 - A Lapse in Run Defense
Already down 14-3, the Browns yielded a 39-yard run on 3rd-and-1 to RB D’Onta Foreman here to set up the team’s next touchdown. With the wide receiver coming in motion, no cornerback is on that side of the field.
Both of Cleveland’s outside linebackers, Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey, remain on the right tackle side and even make a motion toward the wide receiver. That leaves zero support at the second level, and Houston has a 6-on-5 advantage in blocking in the trenches. DE Myles Garrett takes a wide approach and MLB Joe Schobert is swallowed up by the left tackle to the outside. DT Larry Ogunjobi’s first move is to the inside, and altogether, that creates the gaping hole for Foreman to run through before S Jabrill Peppers takes him down at the 2 yard line.
I feel like Peppers should’ve taken a more aggressive approach here to force Foreman out at the 10 yard line, but the damage was already done (and by the way, I wouldn’t have had much faith in Peppers not whiffing).
Play 11 - Garrett’s Third Sack of the Season
Right after the two-minute warning, DE Myles Garrett logged his third sack of the season on a 3rd-and-10. Cleveland has Garrett at the 3-technique making an inside move much like he did on his first snap against QB Josh McCown a week ago. OLB Christian Kirksey lines up at the 1-technique and rushes at the left guard. MLB Joe Schobert is in a similar stance on the other side, but drops into zone coverage. DE Emmanuel Ogbah occupies the right tackle and right guard.
Meanwhile, Cleveland blitzes DE Nate Orchard from wide of the left tackle, drawing his attention. S Jabrill Peppers completes the overload blitz from that side, drawing the protection from the running back. While the Texans do recognize Garrett’s inside move (their right guard and center both converge on him), Garrett’s quickness and power is on display as he forces QB Deshaun Watson from the pocket. Peppers and Garrett really end up combining on this sack, but the league is giving full credit to Garrett.
Play 12 - Garrett’s Pressure Helps force Pick Six
For once, the Browns’ linebackers weren’t completely lost in coverage, as you can see OLB Jamie Collins and MLB Joe Schobert cover both tight ends very well off of this playaction rollout by QB Deshaun Watson. DE Myles Garrett is expected to crash down on the line and be too late in pursuit of Watson before he unleashes a pass.
However, Garrett closes in quickly, and I believe this hurries Watson a tad to the point where he overthrows WR Will Fuller. CB Jason McCourty makes the interception, and with Houston’s offensive line initially selling out to the right for the run fake, none of them are able to deter McCourty’s path to the end zone for six.
Last year, after seeing QB Kevin Hogan’s long throwing motion, I said that he’d never be a starting NFL quarterback. In the one session I saw him at training camp this year, he barely got any reps, but the one rep he did have was an overthrown lollipop just like we saw against Houston.
Hogan closed out the preseason very strong and looked sharp in relief duty during the regular season. I do believe he can be a better quarterback than what we saw on Sunday. However, just like DeShone Kizer has his flaws, so does Hogan, and they were exposed against Houston: overthrows, and not enough drive on throws to the outside.