The Cleveland Browns took the field for their first preseason game of the 2019 NFL season versus the Washington Redskins. And, the No. 1 offense (at least some of them) came out firing on all cylinders behind second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Browns ran a quick two-minute offense on the opening drive, which Washington knew was coming. Still, the Browns drove 89 yards in seven plays and just 2 minutes and 13 seconds, ending the drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield to receiver Rashard Higgins.
Mayfield was quick and on target, splicing up the Washington defense on his way to the endzone. He was five of six for 77 yards and a touchdown in this seven-play drive. In today’s film room, we examine how Mayfield took apart the opposing defense in his first action of the season.
Mayfield INC to Willies
Mayfield was not perfect on his opening drive. In the first play of the series, Mayfield misses receiver Derrick Willies, who runs a seven-yard stick route on the left sideline. Willies gains quick separation with the quick stop and Mayfield throws it on time. But, Mayfield throws it outside rather than inside where Willies turned on his route.
Mayfield to Strong for 11 yards
The Browns get on track in the second play of the series when receiver Jaelen Strong runs a slant route from his position on the left sideline. Mayfield makes the play possible, though. When the ball is snapped, he puts his eyes on running Nick Chubb, who is leaking out to the left flat. This causes the WILL linebacker to sink underneath of Strong and to the flat. This leaves a window between the WILL linebacker and the MIKE linebacker. Mayfield throws a great pass right when Strong enters the window, allowing Strong to catch it and secure it before getting hit. This was well done by Mayfield.
Mayfield to Chubb for 14 yards
For this play, Mayfield starts with attention towards Willies along the right sideline. But, the quarterback quickly moves his eyes away from Willies to look for another option. The play is well designed and Chubb performs his role really well. Chubb does not immediately slip out of the right flat, but rather hesitates in the backfield for a few moments to fake a block attempt. The play also adds in an in route to the left by tight end David Njoku. Mayfield goes from Willies to Njoku as his second option on the play. Mayfield’s eyes and the delay by Chubb makes the two linebackers in coverage to put their sole attention on Njoku. This leaves a huge hole in the right flat. Chubb slips out to the right flat and Mayfield quickly find him, allowing Chubb to make a nice run after the catch.
Chubb rush for 12 yards
This play is all on Chubb. The Browns run a handoff from the shotgun, but Chubb is immediately met by the right edge rusher, who has beaten right tackle Chris Hubbard around the edge. Chubb is able to break through the arm tackle and then uses a great jump cut to avoid another defender. This was just to get out of the backfield. Once he made the jump cut, he sees a lane where he is able to get a nice 14-yard gain. He ran through two other tackle attempts on his way to the nice gain.
Mayfield to Hilliard for 14 yards
The Browns get back to the passing game after the lone run attempt of the opening series. Mayfield reads the defense and sees a huge one-on-one mismatch. Running back Dontrell Hilliard is called to run through the middle of the line and then cuts to the left sideline. Mayfield sees that the back is being covered by the lone linebacker in the middle of the field. The linebacker is all by himself and has no help for ten yards. Mayfield makes the read and looks toward Hilliard immediately. He does a pump fake that causes the linebacker to bite on Hilliard when he first makes the cut to the left. The linebacker is now out of position and behind Hilliard, giving Mayfield the opportunity to throw the ball toward the sideline where Hilliard can catch it and run with it. The pump fake that fooled the linebacker gives Hilliard just enough space to get away from the linebacker and run for a nice gain after the catch. The little thing that Mayfield did made this play possible.
Mayfield to Hilliard for 14 yards
This is another play where Mayfield reads the defense well and immediately knows where the ball needs to go. Washington is in zone coverage. The Browns have four pass catchers on the line of scrimmage, who are all running routes past ten yards. The other key is that three of those pass-catchers are on the right side of the field. This draws all three defenders who are inside ten yards of the line of scrimmage to go with those three pass catchers. It leaves a huge open field in the right flat. Hilliard comes out of the backfield and fills this open area. Mayfield does not hesitate and quickly throws it to Hilliard, allowing the back to make a nice run after the catch.
Mayfield to Higgins for 24-yard TD
The final play of the series is a nice cap to a great drive. Washington is in a Cover 3 zone coverage once again. The Browns call for four streak routes by their four pass-catchers in this play. Mayfield’s eyes and accuracy make this play happen. When the ball is snapped, Mayfield locks his eyes on Njoku who is inside of receiver Rashard Higgins. This draws the middle safety to move to the right in coverage where Njoku is running his streak route down the middle of the field. The attention to Njoku also causes the middle safety to stay lower in coverage then he needed to be. The streak route by Willies on the left sideline keeps the left safety honest, giving Higgins, the receiver in the left slot, a nice hole in the coverage. Higgins finds the hole between the left safety over the top and the middle safety underneath. Mayfield fires an absolute dime on time right to Higgins for the touchdown. Mayfield had a small window to make the pass and he hit it perfectly.