The Cleveland Browns were able to grind out another tough AFC North win on Sunday against their heated rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not only does this victory put them in 2nd place in the division, but it also moves them up to 5th in the AFC Conference.
Rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson got the start with Deshaun Watson out for the season. He naturally had his “ups and downs” in this game, but he played fairly well overall, especially in two vital drives. The Browns were able to successfully use his mobility on a few designed runs in this game, but one particular instance stood out.
On 3rd & 4 at the 49-yard line in the 2nd quarter, Kevin Stefanski decided to utilize Thompson-Robinson’s blazing 4.56 40-yard dash speed on a QB Sweep play.
One of the main reasons why this play was successful was because of the backside deception. Cleveland lined up in “Trips Right” to ensure that Pittsburgh matched the numbers to that side, which naturally led to the Browns having more blockers on the play side. Once the ball was snapped, Jerome Ford and the wide receivers carried out a decent screen fake that influenced 4 Steeler defenders into moving away from the play.
David Njoku (“Y”) crashed down on the play side defensive end in order to seal the edge. He didn’t make the best block there but he did enough to allow both LG Joel Bitonio and C Ethan Pocic to pull and get around him to act as lead blockers. RG Wyatt Teller and RT Dawand Jones both did what they could to make sure that no defender crossed their face on the LOS before moving up to block at the second level.
Pocic ended up helping Njoku secure the edge, while Bitonio was able to keep moving until he found an unblocked defender and pushed him out to the sideline. This created a nice run lane for Thompson-Robinson to shoot up through for the 1st down.
This play was executed quite well, and with the type of athlete that “DTR” is, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more designed quarterback run plays going forward.
Do you think that Cleveland should utilize more designed QB runs going forward? Join fellow Browns fans in the comment section below.