The Cleveland Browns got their first win of the season on Monday, beating the New York Jets soundly in their primetime game. The game was really never in doubt due largely in part to the dominant Browns defense. They allowed just three points in the game. There were many standouts on defense, like Myles Garrett and Joe Schobert, who filled the stat sheet with an impressive performance. But not all impact can be seen on the stat sheet. One of the players who had a huge impact for the defense, but did not show up in the box score much was edge rusher Olivier Vernon. Vernon contributed and impacted the game in a big way, affecting what the Jets offense was able to do. In today’s film room, we examine some of the plays that Vernon made that will not show up on the stat sheet, but still impacted the play in favor of the Browns defense.
Q1 9:08 third-and-12: Siemian throws incomplete pass
This play by Vernon has two parts to it. When the ball is snapped, he heads upfield unblocked but notices the running backcrossing the formation to go out to the right flat as a receiver. Vernon goes out wide at first to defend against a quick dump off to the back. Once, he sees quarterback Trevor Siemian look another direction, Vernon cuts back to the quarterback and almost gets the sack. Siemian is able to get away from Vernon, but the pressure causes Siemian to leave the pocket and scramble to the right, cutting off half the field, which causes him to have to throw the ball away.
Q1 1:03 first-and-10: Beachum is called for holding Vernon
In this play, Vernon eliminates a big play and forces the Jets to start behind the sticks in a first down situation. Vernon is rushing on the edge against Jets left tackle Kelvin Beachum. The Browns edge rusher comes off the line and forces Beachum to reach for him, which allows Vernon to club and rip the tackle off balance to get around the edge. Vernon gets the edge and free lane to the quarterback, but Beachum ends up grabbing him to slow him down to give enough for the quarterback to get rid of the ball. The holding wiped away the big gain and forced a long first down play.
Q2 15:00 second-and-19: Siemian is sacked by Burnett
This another play where Vernon beats Beachum, the Jets’ left tackle. The rusher is able to quickly get off the line and do another great club and rip move to beat Beachum around the edge. This time, Vernon is not held and has a straight line to the quarterback. He would have gotten the sack had safety Morgan Burnett not reached the quarterback a split second earlier.
Q2 9:36 first-and-10: Bell loses one yard
This time Vernon affects the Jets run game. He is lined up on the left across from the inside tight end. When the ball is snapped, Vernon makes a great, quick elusive move to swipe away the oncoming blocker from the inside. The rusher is able to get free and fill the inside lane where running back Le’Veon Bell was looking to go. So, Bell had to cut to the right where the rest of the defense was able to close on him and bring him down for a loss. Vernon’s ability to fill the running lane early derailed the Jets’ run play.
Q2 5:22 first-and-10: Bell runs for no gain
Here is another example of Vernon affecting the run game. He is lined up on left edge, so he is in charge of setting the edge for the run defense. What he does is quite impressive. Vernon eludes left tackle Beachum with a swim move to inside. Vernon bursts into the backfield, but he still has to hold the edge after going inside. So, the rusher leans back to the edge to take away the outside lane. Bell, who was planning on hitting the corner, has to cut back inside where linebacker Joe Schobert is waiting to clean up the play and make the tackle.
Q2 4:47 second-and-10: Beachum is called for holding Vernon
This is another play where Vernon forces a hold penalty by left tackle Beachum. After getting beat around the edge multiple times by Vernon, Beachum is ready for an edge move. But, Vernon decides to just do a straight bull rush after seeing Beachum make a false step to the outside. Vernon bursts into the tackle, pushing him into the backfield. Beachum is left to grab and throw down Vernon before the rusher pushes him completely into the quarterback. Vernon was too much for him in this play.
Q3 14:56 first-and-10: Falk is sacked by Garrett
Vernon should get an assist on this sack by Myles Garrett. Lined up on the left edge, Vernon does a straight bull rush into right tackle Brandon Shell. He pushes the tackle right into the lap of the quarterback, giving quarterback Luke Falk no chance to escape out to the right when Garrett comes into the pocket from the other side. Garrett is able to get the sack with the help of Vernon.
Q3 3:49 fourth-and-2: Falk completes pass to Bell for 1 yard
This was one of the bigger moments of the game. The Jets were threatening to score their first touchdown of the game but was facing a big fourth-down play here. Vernon is rushing off the right edge again. Vernon does a strong bull rush and pushes right tackle Shell into the lap of the quarterback. Falk is pressured from both sides, so he has to quickly get rid of the ball and has to choose the dump-off pass to Bell behind the line. Bell has too much ground to make the first down. Vernon and Garrett’s pressure caused Falk to go with this quick and last option to Bell, ending up causing the Jets to turn the ball over on downs.
Q4 8:14 first-and-10: Bell runs for no gain
This last play is another example of Vernon affecting the run game. Lined up on the left edge, Vernon is in charge of covering the backside of the zone run play to the right. When the ball is snapped, the rusher gets the inside leverage against the tight end blocking him. Vernon is able to hold off the block with one arm, while filling the backside hole in the run play. Bell has no lane, so he has to go to the right where the rest of the Browns defense is able to stuff the run play.
Quick Ending Thoughts