Rick is still the man with the film room pieces, and I believe he might still have one this week. But I watched the beginning of the Browns game again yesterday and wanted to share a couple things about the Bills’ defensive gameplan.
The Bills, not surprisingly, committed resources to stopping Trent Richardson from hurting them. It is a rational plan to stop the biggest threat and we saw the Browns using various blitzes and spies during week one to try to neutralize Michael Vick’s scrambling. It seemed like the Bills had at least two guys, usually linebackers, spying on Trent Richardson all day to make sure that they blanketed him. Not that you need the visual evidence necessarily, but check it out. From the first “drive” of the game. The two defenders I circled are the two focusing completely on Trent Richardson. Also notice how far the corner is playing off of Travis Benjamin.
The two spies fill the hole as Richardson takes his first step after the hand-off. Shawn Lauvao picks up one of the spies.
One of the spies makes the tackle.
So, as a result the Browns take the second possession and run play-action to try and take advantage of the spies. The result on this play was Brandon Weeden getting sacked. Something in the timing of the play was off because the two spies bit for a second on Richardson, but the pass didn’t come out on either the first read or the second read and any advantage from play-action was lost as Weeden went down to the pressure.
Linebackers stay at home.
They realize Richardson doesn’t have the ball and start their first reaction. This has to be when the ball is already in the air, but rather than throwing to a spot, Weeden is still waiting for something. I don’t know if the receiver was late on his break, if the throwing lane was blocked or if Weeden just didn’t get the ball out, but the play-action worked from the perspective that two defenders were tied up by Richardson and Weeden still had a pocket.
Notice the clock. Weeden doesn’t throw the ball at 8:23 and then gets sacked 3-4 seconds later at 8:19. It’s tough to blame the offensive line on that one, I think.
Here’s a pic from the coaches film. You decide if Weeden had a lane and just didn’t pull the trigger.
It’s indicative of an inexperienced quarterback, I think. He might get better as he gets more decisive in situations like this. This was the second drive of the game and with slightly better execution and a couple of first downs, maybe the Browns don’t put themselves in a 14-0 hole.
Based on Trent Richardson’s final stat line though, these are the kinds of plays the Browns need to punish other teams on if they’re going to sell out to stop him. It’s probably the only realistic way to open up the game for the Browns’ best weapon.