Browns, Cleveland Browns Film Room

Browns Film Room: Death by a thousand screens and scrambles

An 0-15 record with just one more chance to get a win. This is what the Cleveland Browns are facing going into their season finale on Sunday versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cleveland lost their 15th game of the season on Sunday, falling to the Chicago Bears, 20-3. The Browns offense was putrid in the loss with little production shown all day, but the defense had their fair share of troubles. Two of the biggest problems the Browns defense faced against the Bears was the inability to stop screen passes and quarterback scrambles.

In this week’s Browns film room, I will take a look at two screen plays and the four quarterback scrambles to diagnose how Chicago was successful in those plays.

So with that, let’s roll the tape.

Screen Plays

Q3 13:23- QB Trubisky screen pass to RB Cunningham for 40 yards

The Bears were faced with a 3rd-and-6 situation. Chicago lined up in a shotgun formation with four pass catchers out wide and a running back to the left of the quarterback. The Browns were in man coverage with a deep safety over top and five rushers. The Bears call for a screen pass to running back Benny Cunningham. Cunningham fakes like he is helping in pass protection and then slips out to the right side of the formation.

The breakdown by the Browns is that no one covers Cunningham out of the backfield. Cornerback Jason McCourty is lined up in man against the crossing route, while linebacker James Burgess just sits in the middle of the field in zone it seems like. This leaves Cunningham to slip out of the backfield with a couple blockers ahead of him and absolutely no defender in the area. Either Burgess was in the wrong coverage and was supposed to track Cunningham or the defensive scheme had that fatal flaw, the Bears drew up the perfect play to expose the defense for a big 40-yard gain.

Q3 9:43- QB Trubisky screen pass to RB Cunningham for 22 yards

The Bears were in a 3rd-and-3 situation. Chicago lined up in a shotgun formation with four pass catchers out wide and a running back to the left of the quarterback. The Browns were in man coverage with a deep safety over top and five rushers. The Bears once again took advantage of the Browns man coverage scheme and called another screen pass to running back Benny Cunningham. Linebacker B.J. Bello was in charge of covering Cunningham out of the backfield.

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky helps pull this play off by using a good pump fake to the other side of the field, holding Bello in play for just a second to allow the blocking to set up for the running back screen. The Bears were able to get a blocker in front of Bello and take the linebacker out of the play. With no other Browns defender in the immediate area, Cunningham had a free lane to catch and run up the field for a big 22-yard gain.

QB Scrambles

Q1 5:21- QB Trubisky scrambles for 8 yards

The Browns had forced the Bears in a long 2nd-and-14 play. Chicago came out in a shotgun with three out wide, a tight end on the right end of the line and a running back to the right of the quarterback. The Browns were in zone coverage with four pass rushers.

The Browns had good coverage on the play, causing Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky to have to hold onto the football. Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was able to get past the left tackle, pushing through by going underneath the tackle. Garrett had Trubisky in his sights, but Trubisky did a quick slip to the left to evade Garrett and remain upright. The two Browns defensive tackles had over-pursued to the left, allowing Trubisky cut behind those two and run down the middle of the field for an eight-yard gain. Garrett had a great chance to stop this play, but he simply missed the tackle allowing this successful gain.

Q1 4:34- QB Trubisky scrambles for 11 yards

For this play, the Browns were in position to make a stop with this 3rd-and-6 situation. The Bears came out in a shotgun formation with four pass catchers out wide and a running back in the left of the quarterback. The Browns were in an off man coverage with a deep safety over top and two underneath defenders in zone.

The Browns coverage was excellent in this play. There were no options for Trubisky to throw to on the play, but the Browns pass rush could not get to the quarterback. The rushing lanes were all messed up. The Browns rush attacked the right side of the line as the defender on the left went back out to cover. This left the left edge wide open. Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was lined up in the left B gap and fired off into the left guard. It looked like Carl Nassib may have been in charge of swooping underneath to the left edge, but he got stuck running up the back of Garrett. With the left edge open, Trubisky easily rushed 11 yards for a first down.

Q2 11:21- QB Trubisky scrambles for 6 yards

The Bears came out for this play in a single back set with two tight ends on the left end of the line and two receivers out wide to the right. The Browns came out in zone coverage with four pass rushers. The Bears pass catchers had yet to get open for quarterback Mitch Trubisky when Browns defensive end Nate Orchard was able to get pressure on the young quarterback. Trubisky started to scramble when Orchard broke into the pocket.

The quarterback scrambled out to the right, but then stopped and saw that the left edge had opened up. Browns defensive lineman Lavar Edwards was in charge of keeping the left edge, but he had swooped too far inside and was double teamed by the Bears, leaving the left edge vulnerable. With the linebackers falling too far back in zone coverage. The left edge was open, so Trubisky escaped to the left for a six-yard gain.

Q2 1:25- QB Trubisky scrambles for 14 yards

The Browns were in another spot to make a stop for this 3rd-and-10 play. The Bears came out in a shotgun with four wide and a running back to the left of the quarterback. The Browns were in man coverage with two safeties splitting the downfield duties and five pass rushers. The Browns get immediate pressure from defensive lineman Trevon Coley in the interior of the line. He forces quarterback Mitch Trubisky to move to the left, which actually causes the play to be successful.

When he flowed to left, a gap between the blitzer and the edge rusher on the edge opened up. Trubisky was able to slip through that gap. The pass rush lost contain of the quarterback. With the coverage in man, the coverage left the left side of the field wide open for Trubisky. The quarterback was able to scramble out of the pocket and not get touched for a big 14-yard first down gain.

Highlight of the Week

There was no real highlight for the game versus the Chicago Bears. The Browns offense was atrocious, with the unit never being able to get into the redzone during the game. The defense was OK, but they let Mitch Trubisky off the hook with easy screen plays and scrambles to help move the offense.

Lowlight of the Week

The lowlight of the week versus the Chicago Bears was the fact that this was a winnable game versus a bad team with a young quarterback, but somehow the team lost in convincing fashion. The Browns lost quite possibly their last chance of getting a win.

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)
Week 13 (Finding blame for Kizer’s 17 incompletions)
Week 14 (What could have been vs the Packers)
Week 15 (Hey Hue, you had a good run game vs the Ravens)