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Mission accomplished: Browns mostly limited snaps in regular season finale for key contributors

Cleveland did see a few players suffer injuries, but the hope is that they are minor.

Chicago Bears v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

No one cared about the outcome of the Browns’ regular season finale against the Bengals. The only thing that really mattered was that Cleveland’s depth stayed healthy. Usually, we cover the snap counts and stats each week for offense and defense. Because of how pointless the game was, we’re not doing a full breakdown this week. However, I’ll still include some interesting notes about key contributors who did play, and if there is any impact regarding the playoff game against the Texans.

  • The goal was to have Pierre Strong shoulder the load at running back, but we figured that Kareem Hunt and Jerome Ford would have to take a few snaps. Strong played 51% of the snaps, Ford played 36%, and Hunt played 13%. That number for Ford was higher because Strong left with a back injury in the second half.
  • Cleveland had two players return from injury: WR Elijah Moore and DE Ogbo Okorokwo. Moore only played 6 snaps (11%), while Okorokwo played 11 snaps (17%). Both of those were positive signs to make sure they are ready-to-go for the postseason.
  • The biggest concerns were the players who suffered injuries during the game: WR Cedric Tillman (34 snaps, 64%) left with a neck injury/concussion evaluation, while DT Shelby Harris (24 snaps, 38%) departed with a shin injury. Harris has been valuable depth up front, but it sounds like he is expected to be fine. Tillman is in the concussion protocol, so we’ll see if he’s able to clear that. Although Tillman doesn’t put up big numbers, he’s been playing 80-90% of the snaps as a starting receiver. If he can’t play, WR David Bell would figure to see important playoff reps. Bell (52 snaps, 98%) is coming off of a fourth quarter in which he caught two touchdown passes against Cincinnati.
  • Here are the snap counts for other starters who played against the Bengals: LT Geron Christian (21 snaps, 40%), RT James Hudson (41 snaps, 77%), DT Jordan Elliott (44 snaps, 69%). RG Wyatt Teller also played 2 snaps on special teams, probably on the extra point attempts.
  • And then lastly, snap counts for other regular rotational players and key contributors: TE Harrison Bryant (35 snaps, 66%), S D’Anthony Bell (63 snaps, 98%), S Ronnie Hickman (30 snaps, 47%), DE Alex Wright (47 snaps, 73%).

The biggest players who Cleveland hopes to have back against the Houston Texans? WR Amari Cooper, who set a franchise record with 265 receiving yards against the Texans two weeks ago, and K Dustin Hopkins, who suffered an injury during that game and has been idle since.