The Cleveland Browns lost their 12th game of the season on Sunday, falling to the Los Angeles Chargers, 19-10. Like much of the season, the Browns offense struggled, especially quarterback DeShone Kizer.
Kizer completed just 15 of 32 passes for 215 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The young quarterback had more incompletions then completions on the day. The performance by the rookie quarterback was a step back from his solid performance the week before. But was it all of Kizer’s fault that he had 17 incomplete passes? No.
In this week’s Browns film room, I will take a look at the 17 incomplete passes and categorize them based on who the main culprit was for the incompletion. The 17 incompletions fell on the shoulder of either Kizer, the play call or a defender making a good play. But, let’s check out how many plays were blamed on each of those culprits. Roll the tape.
DeShone Kizer’ fault
Q2 14:24- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to WR Josh Gordon
This is just a miss by Kizer. Wide receiver Josh Gordon is lined up in the slot for this play and runs a go route across the field. Gordon’s athleticism was on display here as he crosses the field he forces the defensive back on the right side of the field to turn and just sprint to stay in position with Gordon. But, Gordon wins the battle gets behind the defensive back. If thrown accurately this is a touchdown to Gordon. But, Kizer throws it too far ahead of Gordon.
Q2 14:18- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to WR Kenny Britt
This incomplete pass is on Kizer. The play has the two outside receivers run post routes. There a few things that Kizer does that cause this incompletion. The first is the initial fake handoff. The problem is that both the fullback and running back do not pretend to take the handoff, but rather they go out immediately to block. That fake was a waste of time and miscommunication. Second, Kizer takes too much time to deliver the ball to wide receiver Kenny Britt on the right. Britt has the inside leverage against the coverage and so he is open. Kizer needed to get the ball out of his hands so that the pass can arrive right when Britt cuts inside on the post route. Kizer’s late decision allows the safety to get over to Britt and force Britt to shy away from going all out for the pass. Lastly, the pass is inaccurate. It is too low and it forces Britt to have to risk his safety to dive into the oncoming safety to try and get the low pass.
Q2 3:39- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to WR Josh Gordon
This is another inaccurate pass by Kizer causing the incompletion. Wide receiver Josh Gordon is running a curl route on the left sideline versus the man coverage of the cornerback. Gordon runs a good route, showing good footwork to stop and turn around on the curl. Gordon is open for an easy completion, but Kizer misses too high to Gordon for the incomplete pass. If thrown accurately, Gordon could have possibly had the chance to run after the catch.
Q3 10:35- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to WR Josh Gordon
There are a few reasons for Kizer to be blamed for this incomplete pass in a play where all four of the Browns route runners were running curl routes. First, Kizer made up his mind before the snap where he was going and he did nothing to hide it. He was going to target wide receiver Josh Gordon on the right sideline and he turned his head toward Gordon immediately after the snap. This caused the cornerback covering Gordon to close quickly and be in position to possibly pick off the pass. Second, the pass was inaccurate. The ball was behind Gordon where only the cornerback could have caught the ball. Gordon had no chance to catch it and luckily the corner did not. Lastly, Kizer had an easy completion to tight end Seth DeValve in the right slot. He should have seen that the defensive back in the slot was in a bail technique stance and further back than the rest of the defenders along the line of scrimmage. The defensive back was further outside than DeValve was lined up. The help inside from the defender in the middle of the field was too far away to make a play on a quick pass. The short curl route was an easy completion against this coverage.
Q3 9:13- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to WR Josh Gordon
This is another inaccurate pass by Kizer causing an incompletion. The Browns call their weird formation where they have three down linemen in the middle of the field, their two tackles flanked out to the sideline along with a pass catcher on their outside hip and a pass catcher behind the two on the line. It’s a cute play that has not really worked that well this season, but this time it produced an opportunity for a big play. Wide receiver Josh Gordon was in the back of the right bunch formation and was designed to run a go route. Gordon does just that and ends up being single covered by the outside defensive back with no help from a safety. It was the perfect situation for the freakish athleticism of Gordon. Gordon runs down field and is in position to easily run past the defensive back and be wide open for a downfield pass. If he was hit in stride, it would have been a touchdown. But, Kizer underthrows the pass and forces Gordon to stop, allowing the defender to catch up to Gordon and contest the pass. The pass falls incomplete and a big play is missed.
Q3 8:22- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to RB Duke Johnson
Kizer’s inability to read the blitz and adjust to it is the cause of this incompletion. The Browns were faced with a 3rd-and-7 situation in the third quarter. The Browns had four wide in this shotgun formation. The Chargers blitz a defender off the right edge and the Browns do not have the numbers to pick him up on that side of the line, giving the defender a free rush to the quarterback. Kizer should have either moved the running back to that side to help pick up the blitzer or he needs to get the ball out immediately to the crossing route. But, Kizer does neither and has to move up in the pocket to create a little more time and then rushes his throw when the blitzer is about to hit him. He tries to fit it into the slight window to running back Duke Johnson, but the defender covering him is able to deflect the pass away. There was some contact by the defender on Johnson after he cut that allowed the defender to get into that position. Nevertheless, Kizer should have read the pressure and adjusted to it.
Q4 12:26- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to WR Corey Coleman
This is another example of Kizer’s inability to read the blitz causing the incomplete pass. The Chargers are bringing a blitzer off the left edge. Kizer needs to see that and either change the protection to pick up the blitzer or he needs to audible to make the left slot receiver the hot route, so he can quickly throw it to the area where the blitzer left. But, Kizer just does not see it and he keeps his eyes on the right side of the field. The left side of the field had opportunities, but because he did not read the blitz beforehand, he missed it and was forced to throw it away by the pressure.
Q4 12:21- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to TE David Njoku
The incompletion in this play is on Kizer for a couple reasons. The Browns come out for this 2nd-and-10 play with five different pass catchers. First, Kizer stares down his No. 1 option, tight end David Njoku, and does not leave that option at all during the play. With his eyes on Njoku running a corner route to the endzone, the single high safety shaded to the right following the eyes of Kizer. Kizer stayed with his No. 1 option and threw the pass to Njoku. But, if Kizer shifted his eyes to the left, there was a receiver running a post route to the endzone that was open because the safety was out of the middle of the field. But, Kizer did not scan the field. The other part of this is that the pass to Njoku was inaccurate. There was a chance that Kizer could complete the pass because Njoku was still single covered. But, Kizer overthrows the pass, giving Njoku no chance of making a play. The coverage was on top of Njoku, so throwing the ball over the top was the wrong placement. He could have kept with his first option, but his inaccuracy negated that chance.
Q4 12:16- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to RB Duke Johnson
The incomplete pass on this play comes because of Kizer’s lack of patience in the pocket. The Browns went five wide for this 3rd-and-10 play. The Chargers brought five rushers, including a blitzing on the right side of the line. Kizer saw the blitzer coming untouched between the center right guard after there seemed to be miscommunication in the offensive line on picking up the blitzer. This caused Kizer to leave the pocket and scramble to the sidelines and throw an incompletion. But, Kizer could have stayed in the pocket for a little big longer and he would have seen the receiver on the right running the post route. That receiver was open if thrown on time and accurately. The safety was too far away to defend the pass if it was thrown to the receiver right after he broke inside. But, Kizer got happy feet and left the pocket, missing this opportunity.
Q4 8:27- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to WR Corey Coleman
This is a simple inaccurate pass by Kizer, along with slow timing by the quarterback. Wide receiver Corey Coleman is running a post route on the right side of the field from the outside receiver position. Coleman runs a good route and is wide open in the secondary. But, Kizer throws the ball too high and ahead of Coleman. He also threw the ball too late, which made the throw harder than it should have been. Had Kizer gotten the ball to Coleman right after he cut inside, Kizer would not have to deal with any underneath defender. But, his late throw brought the underneath defender into the picture making it a tougher throw.
Q4 7:30- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to WR Josh Gordon
This is on Kizer for two reasons. The first is an obvious one. Wide receiver Josh Gordon is running a comeback route on the right sideline. Gordon runs a solid route and is open. But, Kizer throws the pass inside and short of Gordon. The pass needed to be to the outside where only Gordon can make the catch. The other reason that it is on Kizer is that he misses an easy throw to running back Duke Johnson. The Browns were faced with a 2nd-and-4 situation, so they did not need a big play. Johnson came out of the backfield in the middle of the field and he was wide open. If Kizer hits him with a pass, Johnson has an easy first down and he also has chance to make a big play because the ball is in the hands of the Browns best playmaker this season.
Q4 5:09- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to WR Josh Gordon
This play was all about the inaccuracy of Kizer. Wide receiver Josh Gordon was running a post route on the right side of the field. Kizer fired the pass, but the ball was too high for Gordon to bring down for the touchdown. If Kizer lowered the pass, Gordon could have brought it in for a touchdown. It was a quick window, but an accurate throw would have been a touchdown.
Q4 5:04- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to WR Corey Coleman
This is all about the timing of the pass by Kizer. Wide receiver Corey Coleman is on the right running a slant route. Coleman is covered by a cornerback in off-man coverage, so the slant route is open if thrown on time. But, Kizer takes too long faking a bad play action that he throws after Coleman cuts inside to throw the ball, allowing the corner to close on Coleman and the safety to get over to the route, also. Because of the late throw, the corner is able to knock the ball out of the hands of Coleman. If the ball were thrown before Coleman cut inside, the pass would arrive right after the move inside when Coleman has big cushion to catch the ball.
Q4 1:21- QB DeShone Kizer throws interception
This final play of the game is on Kizer. With the Browns running out of time late in the fourth quarter, Kizer rushes the offense to the line for this 2nd-and-13 play with 1:21 left and the Browns down 19-10. The Browns have four route runners on the play. Kizer tries to force a throw and try for the big play rather than the smart play. The quarterback tries to throw the ball to tight end Seth DeValve, who is running a go route in the middle of the field. But, DeValve was covered by almost four defenders. The pass is thrown low and is picked up by the underneath defender. The pass should have gone to Ricardo Louis on the right sideline. Louis was open after running a seven-yard curl route against the soft coverage. The pass would have been an easy completion and Louis had a chance to catch and run out of bounds to stop the clock. Kizer’s impatience and decision making was bad on this play.
Play Call’s fault
Q1 10:44: QB Deshone Kizer incomplete to WR Corey Coleman
This is a 2nd-and-11 play and not a play where the Browns need a big chunk of yards in one play. The play call sets up Kizer to fail. The Browns run a play action pass with just two receivers running slant and go routes on the outside. They are the only two receiving options on the play and both of the routes are down field routes along the sideline. The Chargers corners, who are in off-man coverage, are using the sideline well to defend these routes and do not bite on the play action, leaving no option for Kizer to throw to. Yes, Kizer could have done a better job at selling the handoff and the receivers did not really run crisp routes to gain separation. But the design of the play in which there are just two receiving options and both of them are deep routes is the main culprit for the incompletion.
Q3 :03- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to WR Josh Gordon
For this play, I am blaming the play call for the incomplete pass. The Browns have four route runners in the play with the running back staying in the backfield to help pass protect. But, the play call has all four of the route runners running vertical routes. Kizer is given no underneath routes or dump off options in this play. With none of the pass catchers getting open, Kizer has nothing else to do but throw it up and hope receiver Josh Gordon can do something amazing. This play call is set up to fail and gives the young quarterback zero help.
Great Play by the Defender
Q1 2:16- QB DeShone Kizer incomplete to TE David Njoku
I do not blame any of the Browns players or the play call for this incompletion. Kizer fires an accurate pass to tight end David Njoku in stride and in his reach. Tight end David Njoku gets open and catches the ball initially with his hands, but defensive back Jahleel Addae does a great job to break up the pass. Addae is able to reach around Njoku and bat the ball and Njoku’s arms to break up the pass. Some may say that Njoku should have been stronger to withstand the play by the defensive back and hold onto the ball, but I believe Addae makes a great play on the ball and he is the main reason for the incomplete pass.
Highlight of the Game
The highlight of the game versus the Los Angeles Chargers was wide receiver Josh Gordon. In his first game since coming back to the NFL, he led the team with four catches for 85 yards. He looked like he was the best player on the field. His freakish athleticism was still there after the long time off.
Lowlight of the Game
The lowlight of the game versus the Los Angeles Chargers was quarterback DeShone Kizer. Kizer completed just 15 of 32 passes for 215 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He took a step back from his solid performance last week with one of his worst performances of the season on Sunday.
Joe Gilbert’s 2017 Season Film Rooms
Week 1 (Run Game)
Week 2 (Ben Watson’s Big Day)
Week 3 (Q2 Big Plays vs Colts)
Week 4 (Game changing plays vs Bengals)
Week 5 (Myles Garrett’s debut)
Week 6 (What are they doing vs HOU)
Week 7 (Spencer Drango)
Week 8 (Briean Boddy-Calhoun)
Week 10 (DeShone Kizer’s Best Game)
Week 11 (What I am thankful for on the Browns)
Week 12 (The success of the run game vs the Bengals)