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Browns’ offensive snap counts, stats, and notes: Wildcard playoff - Cleveland’s protection problems cost them

Joe Flacco did what he could to try to keep the magic alive.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Below, we analyze the snap counts and stats on offense for the Cleveland Browns’ Wildcard playoff game against the Houston Texans.

Wildcard Playoff Offensive Snap Counts

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Pos Player Plays % Stats
QB Joe Flacco 71 100% 34-of-46 (73.9%) for 307 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT. 3 rushes, 13 yards.
Pos Player Plays % Stats
RB Jerome Ford 43 61% 9 carries, 17 yards (1.9 YPC). 4 catches, 15 yards (4 targets).
RB Kareem Hunt 28 39% 8 carries, 26 yards (3.3 YPC), 1 TD. 5 catches, 9 yards (6 targets), 1 TD.
Pos Player Plays % Stats
WR Amari Cooper 69 97% 4 catches, 59 yards (5 targets).
WR Elijah Moore 63 89% 2 catches, 12 yards (2 targets).
WR David Bell 43 61% 8 catches, 54 yards (8 targets).
WR Marquise Goodwin 14 20% 0 catches (1 target).
Pos Player Plays % Stats
TE David Njoku 51 72% 7 catches, 93 yards (11 targets).
TE Harrison Bryant 23 32% 4 catches, 65 yards (6 targets).
TE Jordan Akins 16 23% No stats registered.
Pos Player Plays % Stats
OL Geron Christian 71 100%
OL Ethan Pocic 71 100%
OL Wyatt Teller 67 94%
OL James Hudson 66 93%
OL Joel Bitonio 60 85%
OL Michael Dunn 18 25%
OL Leroy Watson 5 7%
OL Nick Harris 2 3%
  • QB: The Browns’ offense wasn’t bad, per se. It started real strong under Joe Flacco, much like it had during his previous four starts. Unfortunately, it was the defense that let the club down — both times the offense got the lead at 7-3 and then 14-10, the defense allowed a go-ahead touchdown in less than two minutes or just a couple seconds. And then, when Cleveland was trying to answer for a third straight drive, you had the crazy no-call penalty where David Njoku was cancelled. Things just spiraled out of control.

Do I wish Flacco wouldn’t have thrown that interception in the third quarter for a pick six? Well, of course — but I don’t pin the loss on Flacco. He brought us magic, and we were living and dying by him, while counting on our defense to provide stability. We know Flacco doesn’t have the mobility needed to make Houdini plays every game, and when we were behind because of the defense, it bit us big here.

  • RB: We saw Kareem Hunt have two early touchdowns, but it was hard to really keep the run game going after that. Between being ineffective in general and needing to pass to come back from a deficit, it wasn’t good. I don’t know how soon Nick Chubb will be back for the start of the 2024 season, but I think the Browns know they have to find someone else as the backup running back besides Jerome Ford. Ford has speed, but his vision, ability to find a hole, and ability to break tackles/push forward, are all lacking. Hunt was serviceable for short yardage, but doesn’t really have the ability to make people miss or break tackles any more. With that said, Hunt was the Browns’ second highest-graded player by PFF, grading out to a 68.2.
  • WR: The Texans shifted their defensive approach and played man coverage on Amari Cooper this time. I’m sure that led to him being thrown to less, but still, it’s hard to fathom that after that first game, the Browns would only target Cooper five times. David Bell caught all 8 passes thrown his way and was third on the offense with a PFF grade of 68.0. Elijah Moore wasn’t a factor this week, only having two catches. Marquise Goodwin couldn’t hang on to the low ball thrown his way.
  • TE: The tight ends came to play in the receiving game, as David Njoku led the team. I was a bit surprised that Njoku’s snap count wasn’t highest, but maybe they lessened his snaps when the game was getting out of reach? It’s hard to say. Harrison Bryant received the Browns’ highest grade on offense by PFF, grading out to a 77.3.
  • OL: The Browns’ offensive line didn’t have the best game, although LT Geron Christian (66.7) graded out as the best of the bunch. One thing is clear, though: we have to hope we don’t have to see James Hudson filling in for a key role any time in the future. The team got by with him for weeks, but it was only a matter of time before a pass rush exposed that weakness even more, and the Texans did just that. You can put that first pick six on Hudson just as much as Flacco, and who knows; if we have Jack Conklin or Dawand Jones in there, maybe it’s an entirely different ballgame. That’s what people mean when they say that the injuries finally caught up to Cleveland, and credit to Houston for recognizing our weaknesses.