The Browns earned their first win of the season this past Saturday, beating the San Diego Chargers, 20-17. Cleveland was able to cancel the parade and end a miserable losing streak. The victory was not beautiful football, but the Browns got it done in the biggest moments of the game. There were key plays in the game where the Browns were able to make, pushing them ever so further toward their first win of the season.
So in this week’s film room, we will take a look at the big plays that changed the game for the Browns and inched them closer to victory No. 1. These plays were some of the biggest factors that helped the Browns earn their first win of the season. So with that, let’s get to the film!
Isaiah Crowell eight-yard touchdown run
The Browns first touchdown of the game was a very well blocked run by the offense. On the play, the Browns line up in an I-formation with the tight end motioning to the right end of the line. The Chargers have eight in the box on the play.
The play is a designed run to the right end of the line. The Browns block it perfectly. The Browns three blockers on the right side of the line, including the tight end, make a strong wall inside. The three blockers completely close off the running lane from anybody inside, leaving just one player in the hole to make the tackle. Fullback Dan Vitale bulldozes the defender leaving running back Isaiah Crowell an open lane to the endzone. Receiver Terrelle Pryor also does a solid job on the cornerback outside, keeping him out of the play. It was a perfectly blocked play.
Seth DeValve 21-yard reception
This play set up the Browns second touchdown of the game. On the play, the Browns line up in a shotgun formation with a receiver close to both ends of the line, a tight end on both ends of the line and a running back to the left of quarterback Robert Griffin III.
The two receivers run wheel routes to the outside, while the two tight ends run streaks up the field. The Chargers defensive scheme on the play seems to be messed up. The key two players on the play are tight end Seth DeValve and receiver Corey Coleman on the left side of the field. Against the wheel route of Coleman on the outside, the Chargers cover him with a defender covering in zone over top and underneath. This would mean DeValve is covered by the deep safety over top and the linebacker lined up inside of him, but there is a breakdown here.
Linebacker Jatavis Brown, lined up at the right inside linebacker spot, stays in place, looking like he is in charge of covering the running back in the backfield. This gives DeValve a wide-open lane to run down the field and receive the ball without any type of contest because no one is following him down field. He is tackled by the deep safety, who is too far down field to make a play on the ball. The Chargers coverage on the left side of the field was not in sync on this play.
Isaiah Crowell 4-yard touchdown run
The Browns second touchdown of the day was another well-blocked play. On the play, the Browns line up in a shotgun formation with a running back to the left of Griffin and a tight end motioning to the left of the line. The Chargers have eight defenders in the box.
The key to the play is motion by tight end Gary Barnidge. He draws the defense to overload the left side of the play, leaving just three defenders on the right side of the box. The Browns run a play to the right of the center. The blocks on the play come from center Cameron Erving, right guard Jonathan Cooper and left guard Spencer Drango. Erving starts the play by blowing up the defensive lineman lined up over the right A-gap. He pushes the lineman over to Cooper who is able to control him just enough to not allow him to get to the runner. Drango does an excellent job against the defensive lineman lined up over left B gap. Drango drives him back to the goal line.
These blocks make a clear running lane for running back Isaiah Crowell to run untouched to the endzone. It was a well-blocked play for the Browns.
Jamar Taylor interception
This play was a huge stop by the Browns when the Chargers were driving to take the lead in the second quarter. On the play, the Chargers line up in a shotgun formation with five receivers out wide. The Browns rush three with the rest of the unit playing in zone coverage. The key route to watch is tight end Antonio Gates’s wheel route on the left side of the field. He runs under the outside receiver and then heads up field down the sideline.
The play is well designed, but the Browns catch a break. Gates gets behind cornerback Jamar Taylor, who has the underneath zone coverage, leaving the coverage over the top to safety Ed Reynolds. But, Reynolds has to track the receiver running the post route across the middle of the field. This leaves the field wide open over top of Gates. Quarterback Philip Rivers underthrows the ball, giving Taylor the chance to easily get to the ball and make the big interception. The play was more a mistake by the Chargers than a great play by the Browns defense.
Duke Johnson 22-yard run
This play set up the Browns for their final points of the game and what turned out to be the game-winning field goal. On the play, the Browns line up in a shotgun formation with three receiver out wide, a tight end on the end of the right side of the line and a running back on the right of quarterback Robert Griffin III.
The play is well-designed zone read by the Browns. The Browns pull the left guard, center and right guard to the right, giving the strong impression that they are running that direction. But the play is a zone read, so Griffin reads that the defense is going right to follow the pulling linemen. The motion leaves just one Chargers defender to defend the left side of the formation. So, Griffin hands the ball off to running back Duke Johnson, who runs to the left edge. He outruns the only Chargers defender, linebacker Melvin Ingram, on the left side of the formation, leaving just open grass ahead. Johnson turns around the edge and rushes up field for a big 22-yard gain. It was a great play design by the Browns.
Jamie Meder blocked field goal
This is the biggest play of the game for the Browns special teams. The Chargers line up for a 32-yard field goal to the tie the game late in the fourth quarter. The Browns block the field goal, inching them even closer to their first win of the season.
Defensive lineman Jamie Meder makes the big play for the Browns. Meder quickly gets out of his stance and slips through the gap between the long snapper and the lineman to the right of him. He is able to get enough penetration in the middle of the formation to get his hand on the field goal and block the attempt. It was a great individual play by Meder.
Highlight of the Game
The highlight of the game versus the San Diego Chargers was head coach Hue Jackson. Jackson won his first game as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns after going through one of the toughest seasons a first year coach can go through. He was able to keep his team motivated and playing hard throughout the losing streak, culminating in this past week’s victory. The emotion his team had after the game, shows the respect and love the players have for Jackson.
Lowlight of the Game
There was no lowlight of the game versus the San Diego Chargers. The Browns won!