The Cleveland Browns are now winners of four of their last five contests after a 27-19 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the first Battle of Ohio of the 2019 season. If ever there was an ugly win, this week was it. The offense continued to sputter like a broken chain on a bicycle, while the defense was gashed on the ground, surrendering 6.3 yards per attempt to second-year running back Joe Mixon. With that said, a win is a win in the National Football League and the Browns are currently sporting a 6-7 win-loss record and clinging to the faintest of playoff hopes.
Let’s take a look at three plays that helped secure the victory, with film, statistics1, and discussion:
Formation and Personnel: Shotgun formation and 10 personnel (1 RB, 0 TEs, and 4 WRs) for Bengals offense. 4-3 base defense for Browns.
The Play: On third-and-23 from the Bengals 48-yard line, quarterback Andy Dalton utilized a three-step drop and targeted wide receiver Auden Tate on the slant route, with Ward aligned in off coverage. A slant route is when the receiver runs five to seven yards downfield and then cuts at a 45-degree angle across the middle of the field. The route inherently requires a quick read and quick/accurate throw. In this case, the ball was poorly thrown behind Tate and deflected into Browns cornerback Denzel Ward’s welcoming hands, who proceeded to scamper 61 yards for the first pick-six of his career:
Formation and Personnel: Single setback formation and 11 personnel (1 RB, 1, TE, and 3 WRs)
The Play: Quarterback Baker Mayfield motioned Jarvis Landry to the weak side of the formation via across pre-snap motion. He then handed the ball off the Chubb, who initially attacked the left side of the defense behind lead blockers J.C. Tretter (center) and Wyatt Teller (right guard). Chubb broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and cutback against the grain in order to avoid the congested gap. Chubb then sprinted his way to a 57-yard gain, while avoiding a few more tackles via juke cuts and his trademark vision (note wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. head-hunting Bengals defenders downfield):
Formation and Personnel: Shotgun formation and 11 personnel (1 RB, 1TE, and 3 WRs)
The Play: The Browns faced third-and-10 from their own 47 yard-line with 3:16 left in the fourth quarter. Landry was lined up at the slot wide receiver position on the left side of the formation. He sat for a second as a decoy post-snap and then worked his way back to the middle of the field in order to execute the well-designed wide receiver screen. He then accelerated downfield displaying his patented yards after the catch ability for a 34-yard gain that all but sealed the victory for the team:
The above plays were a few bright spots in win that ultimately felt like a loss due to disorganization, turnovers, and just sloppy play all around. The sporting world and fans alike continue to wait for the team to put together a complete, drama free game. All signs point to that game happening in the 2020 season.
Up next, the Browns will travel to Phoenix, Arizona in order to face-off versus Mayfield’s all-too-familiar foe in head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the Arizona Cardinals. The matchup will also reunite former Oklahoma Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks in Mayfield and Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray. Here’s to hoping No. 6 out-duels his Boomer Sooner successor.