The Cleveland Browns won a much-needed game on Sunday, beating the Buffalo Bills at home. The game saw the infusion of running back Kareem Hunt into the offense. It was a boost to the offense as the Browns got another talented playmaker to use in their offensive scheme. Hunt finished the game with four rushes for 30 yards and seven catches for 44 yards. Cleveland used Hunt in numerous roles, across the entire field during his 38 offensive snaps. In this week’s film room, I will examine the numerous ways the Browns used Hunt versus the Buffalo Bills.
Lead Blocker (8 plays)
This was probably the most impressive part of Hunt’s performance on Sunday. Hunt was tasked to lead block on eight plays in the game. Seven of the plays were lead blocking for running Nick Chubb. In those seven plays, Chubb totaled 87 yards on the ground, according to ESPN Stats. He showed toughness and unselfishness to do this job and at a high level. Here is an example of his blocking prowess.
Hunt is on the right side of quarterback Baker Mayfield in the split back shotgun formation. The run is to the right, so Hunt will be the lead blocker for Chubb. When the ball is snapped, Hunt heads to the right and sees an unblocked defender approach the line of scrimmage. Hunt cut blocks the defender, allowing Chubb to run inside of the block and through the hole. The block seals the hole for Chubb to pull off a big gain.
Runner (4 plays)
Hunt is known for his running, but he only received four carries. However, he was effective in those four carries. Three of his rushes went eight yards or more. His power, balance, vision and agility were on display in those four carries. Here is an example of his running ability.
Hunt is on the left side of Mayfield in the split back shotgun formation when he receives the handoff. He initially tries to run between the center and right guard, but that is closed down, causing him to run into the back of the center. He is able to stay up and cut back to the right to the outside of the right guard, who has plowed his defender inside. When he runs into the hole, he makes a slight sidestep to the right to avoid another defender. He finishes off the run by lowering his head to run through contact for another couple yards before he is taken down.
Receiver out of the backfield (9 plays)
Hunt was used quite a bit as a receiver out of the backfield. He was put into numerous routes out of his spot in the backfield. He was used in screens, swing passes, wheel routes and other routes during his time in the backfield. Here is an example of his role as a receiver out of the backfield.
Hunt is lined up as the left running back in the split back shotgun formation. The Browns have him leave his spot early in a pre-snap motion to the right. The ball is snapped when Hunt gets to the flat and Mayfield hits almost immediately after the snap. The Bills were in zone coverage and the Browns had two receivers on the right to block the two defenders near the line of the scrimmage. The key block comes from receiver Rashard Higgins, who cut blocks his defender, allowing Hunt to turn the corner. Hunt fires up the field and once again finishes off the good gain by lowering his head and fighting through contact for few more yards.
Receiver out wide (8 plays)
Hunt was also used as a receiver lined up on the outside, including in the slot. He was given numerous different routes to run out of his spot on the outside. Here is an example of his prowess as a receiver lined up on the outside.
This was probably the most important play Hunt made on Sunday. It is a third-and-7 situation on the Browns final drive of the game. He initially starts out of the backfield, but he is motioned to the right as the furthest receiver on that side of the field. When the ball is snapped, he runs a crisp out route to the first down marker with Mayfield firing the pass as Hunt heads toward the sideline. Hunt makes the catch and immediately heads upfield to ensure he gets the first down conversion.
Motion from WR spot/Play Fake Decoy (9 plays)
Hunt was also used as a decoy and in pre-snap motions from a receiver position. The pre-snap motions saw a variety of variations. The motions were used as decoys in some plays, while other motions turned into a route and an actual shovel pass. He was also used in the backfield as a decoy for a run play. Here are some examples of these types of usages for Hunt.
The first play is an example of Hunt being used as a decoy. He is motioning from right to left at the snap. This motion causes some of the Bills defenders to pause to see if Hunt was getting the ball. The Browns, though, are actually running a toss to Chubb in the other direction. With the pre-snap motion, it helped open the edge for Chubb to pull off a nice gain. The second play is an example of the pre-snap motion turning into a route out wide. Hunt is motioned from left to right with Hunt then going downfield in a wheel route along the right sideline. Hunt is wide open on the right, but Mayfield decides to go the other direction, which still turns into a big play. In the third play, Hunt actually receives the shovel pass when he motions from the left to right. The pass falls incomplete, but it showed another wrinkle out of this motion. The last play is an example of Hunt being used in a play fake decoy situation. He is lined up on the right running back spot of the split back shotgun formation when the ball is snapped. The Browns run a play action with a fake handoff to Chubb. Hunt fakes a block as the lead blocker in the fake handoff. It is another play where Hunt is used as a decoy to open up other players.