The Cleveland Browns lost their fourth game of the season on Sunday, falling to the Seattle Seahawks, 32-28. Like the beginning of the season, the game was a rollercoaster with highs and lows throughout. The Browns had their chances, but they squandered those hopes away. In today’s film room, I will examine the good, bad and ugly parts of the Browns’ performance versus the Seahawks.
The Browns have their superstar and his name is Nick Chubb. The running back had yet another strong performance for the Browns on Sunday. He had 20 carries for 122 yards and two touchdowns, while also catching five passes for 17 yards. Let’s check a couple of the big runs the second-year running back had versus Seattle.
Q1 :35 Second-and-1: Chubb runs for 52 yards
The Browns line up in a pistol with Chubb behind quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Browns have zone run called here with the action supposed to go the left. However, left tackle Greg Robinson whiffs on his block, allowing the defensive lineman to slip into the backfield. This is where we see the talent of Chubb. The running back makes a great cut move to avoid the tackle attempt of the defensive lineman. Chubb, then, sees a hole developing on the right side between the right tackle and the tight end on the right end of the line. The key block comes from tight end Pharaoh Brown, who was on the right end of the line. He does everything in his power to seal the defensive end from the inside, giving Chubb a lane to run through. This is where Chubb just uses his speed to run past the single-high safety and run for 52 yards downfield.
Q4 9:48 First-and-10: Chubb runs for 21 yards
The Browns run a handoff to the left out of the shotgun formation. The Browns offensive line does a strong job blocking in this one. Left tackle Robinson does a good job to take on the left defensive end and handle him long enough to allow Chubb to get around the corner. Center J.C. Tretter makes the other key block as he pulls to the outside and takes on the linebacker on the left side of the formation, forming the outside lane of the hole for Chubb. The running back, then, makes a keen move to the inside to force an arm tackle from the defender filling the running lane. And, Chubb just runs through arm tackles. After he breaks that tackle, the running back heads down the field where he finishes off the 21-yard run by avoiding an oncoming defender and fighting through more contact to get even more yards before he is eventually tackled.
The Browns defense has struggled to stop the run in the last few weeks. This continued versus the Seahawks. In 38 rushing attempts, Seattle totaled 170 rushing yards. There are a few reasons that the Browns have struggled versus the run. But, the biggest reasons are poor tackling, a lack of discipline and simply losing the one-on-one battles. Here are a couple of runs that show these three alarming reasons for the struggle to stop the run.
Q3 7:51 First-and-10: Carson runs for 25 yards
The first part of the run succeeds because Seahawks running back Chris Carson is able to elude the tackle of defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi, who penetrated through the line right after the snap. I am not going to blame anything on Ogunjobi as Carson made such a quick move to avoid the defender that it would have been an amazing feat for Ogunjobi to actually get Carson down for a tackle. But, what follows is the key to the breakdown of the Browns run defense. For some reason, defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, who was in the right B gap, closes down to the right and linebacker Joe Schobert, who is on the right side of the formation, breaks toward the line of scrimmage, but towards the tight end on the end of the line. The communication between these two defenders is way off with both players looking like they are in a different play-call. This leaves a huge gap for Carson to easily run through until he is met by safety Jermaine Whitehead. Whitehead, though, takes a bad angle to Carson, allowing the running back to gain even more yards before the safety eventually can take the runner down.
Q2 12:39 Second-and-3: Carson runs for 23 yards
First off, the pre-snap shift from an I-formation to a shotgun causes a shift on the Browns defensive line. The pre-snap shift from Seattle saw running back Carson move to the right of quarterback Russell Wilson, which causes the two Browns defensive linemen on the left end of the line to move inside. But, this leaves a big hole between them and the corner, T.J. Carrie, blitzing off the edge. The hole is widened even more when defensive lineman Myles Garrett, who is the furthest left defensive lineman on the line, makes an inside move. With that, Carson just has to see the hole and he does. Carrie is easily taken out of the play by the tight end, giving Carson the edge. However, safety Morgan Burnett comes up to the edge and meets the runner right at the line to gain. Though, Burnett is completely faked out by Carson and fails on his tackle attempt, allowing Carson to head downfield for a big gain.
The Browns made so many huge mistakes in the form of turnovers and penalties. Cleveland had nine penalties that totaled 83 yards. And, the Browns also committed four turnovers that each changed the game in their own way. But, not all turnovers are created alike. Here are two turnovers that were committed because of two separate causes.
Q2 1:36 Second-and-8: Mayfield is intercepted by Thompson
This turnover has a few intricacies here. The Browns are facing a Cover 3 defense with the lone safety covering the middle of the field and the cornerbacks on the outside covering the outside zones. The Browns have both their outside receivers running post routes. The whole play is rushed. At the snap, Mayfield is immediately pressured from the inside when his right tackle, Chris Hubbard, is pushed into his lap and the penetrating defensive lineman is bearing down on the quarterback. This causes Mayfield to throw the pass quicker than he wants and not with the proper footwork. But, Mayfield also looks like he had a pre-determined destination for the pass. He looked like he wanted to go to receiver Jarvis Landry on the right. All these factors caused the pass to be off-target, deflected and then intercepted. I think the better option was receiver Odell Beckham on the other side of the field. Yes, the safety was shaded slightly to Beckham, but Beckham is better than Landry at getting quick separation. He showed that ability here, and I think had Mayfield thrown it Beckham’s way, the Browns would have gotten a touchdown.
Q4 2:46 Second-and-15: Mayfield is intercepted by Wright
This turnover has two facts that are both correct. The first one is that Mayfield threw this pass behind running back Dontrell Hilliard. It was off-target on the slant pass. He needed to get it out in front of Hilliard. I am not sure if Mayfield thought he would sit down rather than continue inside, nonetheless, it was off target. The other fact is that this ball still should have been caught. It hit off of Hilliard’s hands and into the hands of the defender. This ball is still catchable to an NFL player. I also just want to point out that it is crazy that the Browns had their backup running back out wide as one of their five pass-catchers in this play. They were better served putting a fourth receiver out there or even a second tight end rather than the backup running back.
Quick Ending Thoughts