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Browns’ offensive snap counts, stats, and PFF notes: Week 1

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Tyrod Taylor gets off to a rough start, but can we give him a pass due to the rain?

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Below, we analyze the snap counts and stats on offense for the Cleveland Browns’ Week 1 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Quarterback

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
QB Tyrod Taylor 89 100% 15-of-40 (37.5%) for 197 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. 8 rushes, 77 yards (9.6 YPC), 1 TD.
  • It is really easy to look at Tyrod Taylor’s first start with the Browns and make snap judgments. There is no sugar coating it: overall, it was a bad performance for him. Passes were inaccurate and underthrown. He held the ball long and took 7 sacks. But it was also played in heavy rain the whole game, which undoubtedly impacted throwing conditions for both quarterbacks.
  • The “good” from Taylor is how he broke down the Steelers’ defense with his legs, running 8 times for 77 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown. Taylor has always opted to protect the ball, but with the extra weapons he has this year, he might need to find that right mental compromise of being a little more aggressive and trusting in his guys to make a play.
  • Per PFF, Taylor was “skittish in the pocket, held onto the ball too long and struggled to get his receivers involved.”

Running Back

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
RB Carlos Hyde 47 53% 22 carries, 62 yards (2.8 YPC). 1 TD. 1 catch, 3 yards (2 targets).
RB Duke Johnson 41 46% 5 carries, 17 yards (3.4 YPC). 1 catch, 8 yards (6 targets).
RB Nick Chubb 4 4% 3 carries, 21 yards (7.0 YPC).
  • The final stat line (2.8 YPC) for Carlos Hyde doesn’t look sexy, but I thought it was a good debut for him, and he had a nice second half.
  • One thing that can’t happen is Duke Johnson only finishing the game with 1 catch. Now, he was targeted 6 times, but the timing of those short passes just wasn’t there with the line ready to bat them away.
  • Rookie Nick Chubb had 3 carries, a couple of which were strong-looking to begin the second half. But he also had one big miscue in pass protection that led to a sack. Johnson was also blown up once in protection, contributing to a sack. Those were actually all 4 plays he was in on for the game.

Wide Receiver

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
WR Jarvis Landry 81 91% 7 catches, 106 yards (15 targets).
WR Josh Gordon 69 78% 1 catch, 17 yards (3 targets). 1 TD.
WR Rashard Higgins 54 61% 1 catch, 38 yards (4 targets).
WR Antonio Callaway 15 17% 0 catches (1 target).
WR Derrick Willies 1 1% No stats registered.
  • I still have to keep the rain factor in mind, but I don’t like seeing a final stat line in which Josh Gordon has one total catch. Now, that one catch was a big one — coming at the two-minute warning to complete the comeback for a touchdown. You look at the Buccaneers, though, and they had Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson combine for nearly 300 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Saints, the team Cleveland faces next week.
  • Jarvis Landry was adjusting to poorly thrown passes all day, and still caught 7 passes for 106 yards. He also continues to show a knack for getting under players’ skin, drawing a 15-yard penalty on CB Artie Burns for blocking hard.
  • Rashard Higgins ran a great route late in the game to get a 38-yard sideline catch to help set up Gordon’s game-tying score. Rookie Antonio Callaway was shut out after only being targeted once, and you can see that based on his low number of snaps, he really wasn’t treated as a starter. Rookie Derrick Willies had one snap.

Tight End

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
TE David Njoku 78 88% 3 catches, 13 yards (7 targets).
TE Darren Fells 38 43% 1 catch, 12 yards (1 target).
TE Orson Charles 8 9% No stats registered.
TE Seth DeValve 6 7% No stats registered.
  • This wasn’t the day we wanted for David Njoku. You felt like the pair were so close to connecting on several big plays, but a few varying factors got in the way. Early in the game, Njoku tried to make a one-handed grab, but there was a no-call on a defender for hitting him in the head/neck area. Later in the game, a hot read was zipped just past him in the seam, and then on the next play, he dropped a first down pass right in his breadbasket. To start overtime, Njoku flashed open before the Steelers’ safety came over to deflect the pass.
  • We don’t know if it’s just because it was his first week back or if it is a sign of things to come, but Seth DeValve played just 6 snaps. Orson Charles was in for 7 snaps, and Darren Fells saw an expected workload as the blocking tight end.

Offensive Line

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
OL Desmond Harrison 89 100%
OL Joel Bitonio 89 100%
OL JC Tretter 89 100%
OL Kevin Zeitler 89 100%
OL Chris Hubbard 89 100%
OL Earl Watford 3 3%
  • The decision to start Desmond Harrison at left tackle led to some issues in Week 1. What can you expect for an undrafted free agent who suddenly not only gets his first start, but in a rainfest that goes longer than an average game? He had three penalties — two false starts, and one illegal formation — and was beat a couple times. PFF, however, believes he “held up for the most part.”
  • Things weren’t much sharper for the rest of the offensive line, including a rough-looking debut for right tackle Chris Hubbard.
  • Veteran guard Earl Watford played three snaps as a sixth lineman.