Below, we analyze the snap counts and stats on offense for the Cleveland Browns’ Week 16 game against the New Orleans Saints.
|QB||Deshaun Watson||70||100%||15-of-31 (48.4%) for 135 yards, 1 INT. 3 rushes, 24 yards, 1 TD.|
- Deshaun Watson played a fair game; you can’t judge a guy too much with those high winds, and yet as the game went on, I thought he was zipping the ball pretty well. I think it was dumb coaching-wise for the team to take as many downfield shots as we did, but that’s not on Watson.
- Per PFF: “While the weather conditions were unconducive to catching the ball, five dropped passes from Browns receivers — one of them a likely game-tying touchdown to tight end David Njoku — played a massive role in this game. And Cleveland had only 20 catchable opportunities (25%), making things far worse. The five drops were a combined 65 air yards down the field.”
- Again, from a coaching perspective, I don’t understand why more runs weren’t called for Watson. I saw some mention that the safety started playing down to spy on Watson, but even if that’s the case, there are still yards to be picked up in those situations.
|RB||Nick Chubb||37||53%||24 carries, 92 yards (3.8 YPC). 1 catch, 10 yards (1 target).|
|RB||Kareem Hunt||33||47%||7 carries, 8 yards (1.1 YPC). 3 catches, 14 yards (3 targets).|
|RB||D'Ernest Johnson||2||3%||No stats registered.|
- Nick Chubb was the Browns’ second-highest graded player on offense per PFF, grading out to a 76.1. He almost churned out a 100-yard rushing performance, averaging 3.6 YPC.
- Kareem Hunt struggled to get going, only averaging 1.1 YPC while also being stopped on a key third-and-short rushing play in the third quarter that led to a punt near midfield.
|WR||Donovan Peoples-Jones||68||97%||1 catch, 2 yards (5 targets).|
|WR||Amari Cooper||62||89%||6 catches, 72 yards (10 targets).|
|WR||David Bell||51||73%||1 catch, 18 yards (2 targets).|
|WR||Michael Woods||4||6%||1 catch, 5 yards (1 target).|
- Despite dropping a touchdown in the end zone (on a play he slipped on), Amari Cooper was the Browns’ highest-graded offensive player, grading out to a 78.5. He caught 6 passes for 72 yards.
- Donovan Peoples-Jones couldn’t haul in a pass in the corner of the end zone at the end of the game, marking the second time he and Watson have failed to connect on end zone plays at crunch time.
- David Bell dropped the pass that led to an interception and the go-ahead score for the Saints, but again, am I to blame Bell too harshly? He hasn’t dropped a pass all season (to my recollection), and the ball was zipped in as he was diving with about three defenders surrounding him in tough weather conditions.
|TE||David Njoku||68||97%||2 catches, 14 yards (5 targets).|
|TE||Harrison Bryant||14||20%||No stats registered.|
|TE||Pharoah Brown||9||13%||No stats registered.|
- The Browns have seemed to shift to only deploying one tight end since Deshaun Watson has taken over, when you look at the snap counts.
- I wasn’t harsh on Bell, but we have to be a little bit on David Njoku for not catching that pass over the middle that would’ve been a touchdown. He apologized to Watson after the game. If he makes that catch, Cleveland’s slim playoff hopes could have lived for at least one more week.
- Per PFF, the Browns’ pass protection was great against the Saints. “They didn’t allow a single sack or a hit on 33 pass-blocking snaps and combined to let up all of four hurries on the day.”
- Watson was sacked twice, both on coverage sacks, at the end of the game.