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Browns’ offensive snap counts, stats, and notes: Week 17

What happened with the running back utilization?

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Below, we analyze the snap counts and stats on offense for the Cleveland Browns’ Week 17 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Quarterback

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
QB Baker Mayfield 67 100% 17-of-27 (63%) for 196 yards, 1 TD. 6 rushes, 44 yards.
  • Baker Mayfield’s accuracy wasn’t as sharp at times during Sunday’s win, but the most important things were that he avoided the turnover and found a way to pick up key yardage with his feet.
  • I don’t think the sacks could be blamed much on Mayfield. I don’t agree with the playcalling by Kevin Stefanski in those situations, where he tried to lull Pittsburgh into buying for the playaction fake. Pittsburgh killed Cleveland the first game with that, and those are also the plays Mayfield was sacked on this week. The quick passing game against Pittsburgh is essential, and the playaction game isn’t going to work effectively unless there is max protection.
  • One thing I hope doesn’t happen is that Mayfield thinks he can run again like this next week. It won’t happen with T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward in the lineup.
  • Pro Football Focus graded Mayfield with the Browns’ best offensive grade of Week 17 (82.4).

Running Back

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
RB Kareem Hunt 35 56% 10 carries, 37 yards (3.7 YPC). 1 catch, 4 yards (1 target).
RB Nick Chubb 27 44% 14 carries, 108 yards (7.7 YPC), 1 TD. 0 catches (1 target).
RB Andy Janovich 3 5% No stats registered.
  • One of the surprising developments of this game was the lack of utilization of Nick Chubb as the game moved along. In fact, by the end of it, Hunt out-snapped Chubb. That might be understandable if Cleveland was losing and pass-happy, but the Browns were winning the whole game.
  • I wondered if Kevin Stefanski was perhaps trying to hedge his bet a bit, in anticipation for next week, by resting Chubb. That sounds really risky to not put your best runner out there in key moments when he’s not tired. As it turns out, Stefanski did roll the dice on that a bit:

Wide Receiver

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
WR Jarvis Landry 46 74% 5 catches, 51 yards (6 targets). 1 rush, 3 yards, 1 TD.
WR Rashard Higgins 44 71% 2 catches, 55 yards (3 targets).
WR KhaDarel Hodge 26 42% 2 catches, 25 yards (2 targets).
WR Donovan Peoples-Jones 13 21% 1 catch, 11 yards (3 targets).
  • Jarvis Landry had some nice early catches, and the end-around to him was a well-timed play call. I’m not sure how often you can do that play against Pittsburgh when their top edge rusher is back, but it could be a play Cleveland looks to outside the goal line to mix things up.
  • Rashard Higgins made a great move on his big catch in the first half. You only saw the catch in real time, but here was the shake:
  • After Donovan Peoples-Jones went down with a concussion, KhaDarel Hodge came in and made some big-time catches. I was saying the other day to my brother that I swear, if Hodge had been the only receiver available against the Jets, I think Mayfield would have thrown to him 20 times (and done well). Here is the great grab Hodge made late in the game to save Mayfield:

Tight End

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
TE Austin Hooper 51 82% 4 catches, 37 yards (5 targets), 1 TD.
TE David Njoku 49 79% 2 catches, 13 yards (5 targets).
TE Stephen Carlson 16 26% No stats registered.
  • Austin Hooper couldn’t pull in one catch early on, but he held on to the rest of them, including a touchdown pass.
  • Credit to David Njoku too, who I hope has a big role this weekend against Pittsburgh. He got open in the second quarter on a first down play, but Mayfield was late to the throw to allow the pass to be broken up. On third down, CBS didn’t show us that Njoku miraculously got his feet down on this catch:
  • And lastly, Njoku also had an underrated first down catch in the fourth quarter, hanging on to a short pass between defenders and then running for the first down. For as jittery as I’ve been about Njoku over the years, he has quietly been a very reliable receiver over the past few months when called upon.
  • Stephen Carlson was so close to being a goat for that onside kick, but thank god he got his hand on it and had enough strength to recover it after all.

Offensive Line

Pos Player Plays % Stats
Pos Player Plays % Stats
OL Jedrick Wills 67 100%
OL Joel Bitonio 67 100%
OL JC Tretter 67 100%
OL Wyatt Teller 67 100%
OL Jack Conklin 67 100%
  • It was great to see Wyatt Teller and Jedrick Wills back in the lineup, and as far as I know, everyone made it through the game healthy.
  • Per PFF, Wills “did not give up a sack but was beaten by his defender three times and allowed two pressures on 35 pass-blocking snaps.”
  • Teller and Jack Conklin each did a great job on Chubb’s touchdown run in the first quarter.