Two. More. Games. The Cleveland Browns have just two more games to win a game and not go 0-16 in the 2016 NFL season.
The Browns lost their fourteenth game of the season after falling to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, 33-13. The game was never really close with the Bills dominating both sides of the ball. Buffalo outgained Cleveland in total offense, 451 yards to 269, and the entire Browns front seven was torn to shreds by the Bills running attack.
This week in the Browns film room, I look at the good, the bad and the just plain ugly parts of the loss versus the Buffalo Bills. Yes, there was some good in the game—just not very much of it.
One of the lone bright spots in the loss to the Bills was running back Duke Johnson. Johnson rushed five times for 31 yards, while also catching a team-high five passes for 62 yards. He showed off his versatility on Sunday. Here are some examples of his versatility.
Even though Johnson had just five carries, he made well with those carries, averaging 6.2 yards a carry. On the play above, he is designed to run the ball up the middle out of a shotgun formation. He starts up the middle, but he sees the defensive tackle getting free to fill the middle gap. Johnson quickly cuts left in an extremely tight space. He uses his quick cut and speed to get out of the jumble in the middle and beat defenders to edge, gaining ten more yards than he could have gotten had he stuck to the middle. He showed great vision and athleticism to make that play.
On this play, Johnson shows off his receiving skills. He is lined up outside, but then motions to the inside where he lines up in the back of the bunch formation in the slot. He begins the route with a hesitation and fake toward the inside, but then he runs quickly out to the flat. This quick move to outside allows him to get separation from the defender covering him in man coverage. He is able to catch the ball and reach the edge, carrying the defender for a few more yards at the end. He showed off his versatility against the Bills.
Robert Griffin III
Robert Griffin III was not great in his second game back from his injury. He did not do enough for the Browns to score points and win the game. He finished the game completing 17 of 28 passes for 196 yards. He struggled most with his pocket presence and field vision. Here is an example of these two struggles on one play.
On this 3rd-and-22 play, Griffin missed an opportunity because of his poor field vision, even with the huge yardage that needed to be gained. The Browns line up in a shotgun with three receivers out wide, a tight end on the right end of the line and a running back to the right of Griffin. The play initially does not have anyone open, which makes Griffin jumpy, causing him to leave the pocket for no reason.
There was no pressure in his face. He leaves the pocket anyway, causing him to miss a huge opportunity. With the deep routes on the play by all the receivers, the defense is completely exposed underneath. This gives running back Duke Johnson a huge opportunity. He comes out of the backfield and makes his way past his lone defender, giving him open field ahead, but Griffin leaves the pocket, totaling missing Johnson, even when Johnson makes his way over to the right side of the field where Griffin had retreated to. Griffin completely misses him, while he makes pressure for himself by running toward the line of scrimmage where a defender was waiting. His pocket presence and field vision caused him to possibly miss at least a first down or even a touchdown on this play.
Browns Run Defense
The Browns run defense was horrible on Sunday. The Bills ran up and down the field on them, in particular running back LeSean McCoy. Buffalo piled up 280 yards on the ground, while McCoy notched 19 carries for 153 yards and two touchdowns. The Browns had no answer for the Buffalo run game. The main reason for this was that the Buffalo blockers just completely overwhelmed the Browns defenders. Here are two examples of this.
This play is just a complete domination by the Buffalo run game. The Bills line up in an I-formation with a tight end on the right side of the line. The Bills design a run play for running back LeSean McCoy to run the right end of the line. The Browns have eight in the box for this play. The play is simple. The Bills blockers stymied the Browns defensive line.
The two Browns inside linebackers were swallowed up by Bills offensive linemen, while Cleveland cornerback Jamar Taylor tried to fill the hole, but he was taken out by the fullback. This blocking display makes a gigantic hole for McCoy to run through, allowing him to not get touched until he was 20 yards down field. The Browns defenders lost all one-on-one matchups versus the Bills blockers on this play, which is a recipe for disaster.
This is another example of the Bills dominate blocking game. The Bills line up in a single back formation with a fullback at the right wingback spot and a tight end lined up on the right side of the line after a pre-play motion. The Browns have eight defenders in the box. The play is a designed run to the right edge of the line.
The five Browns defenders lined up on the line of scrimmage are unable to get away from their blocks and make a play on the ball, leaving just three defenders to make short yardage stop. Both safety Ibraheim Campbell and linebacker Christian Kirksey get pushed out of the way to the left. Campbell, who was assigned to the motioning tight end, gets caught behind Kirksey, who got blocked out of the way by that tight end. Linebacker Demario Davis is the only other possible defender who has a chance to stop the play to a short gain, but Davis gets caught behind traffic after choosing a questionable angle to track the runner down. McCoy runs up the field untouched until he gets tackled up the field after a big gain. It is just another showcase of the Browns defense getting dominated by the Bills run game.
Highlight of the Game
The highlight of the game versus the Buffalo Bills was running back Duke Johnson. He was one of the only playmakers that performed well for the Browns on Sunday. He rushed five times for 31 yards, while also catching five passes for 62 yards. He led the team in receptions and receiving yards in the game.
Lowlight of the Game
The lowlight of the game versus the Buffalo Bills was the Browns run defense. The Browns were putrid against the Bills run game. The unit allowed Buffalo to rush for 280 yards. The Bills had four players with at least 30 yards rushing, including LeSean McCoy, who had 153 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. The Browns run defense was a leading factor for the loss on Sunday.