DL: R. Smith
Interestingly enough, this is the 2nd fewest starter injuries the Browns have had this year (Redskins game was the fewest). In the 6 games with the fewest injuries, the Browns are 3-3 (all three wins for the season. . . this is more than a coincidence). Keep in mind, that in two of the losses, the Browns were up more than 14 points, and the 3rd loss was almost went in to overtime. Injuries matter, this team, when healthy, is a lot better than 3-6
Below outlines the number of starter games missed for each game:
Cowboys – 9
Steelers – 8
Ravens – 11
Bengals – 9
Giants – 7
Redskins – 4
Jaguars – 6
Ravens – 7
Broncos – 6
Further elaboration on the injuries. The preseason starting offensive line has played 1 game together. Edwards, Stallworth and Winslow have played 3 games together, and the starting offense (not counting the selective QB change) has never played together.
On defense, even if you exclude the Peak and Holly injuries, the starting defense has never played together, and Jones and Pool have only played together 5 times.
Cornheiser is an idiot about the benching of Anderson, he’s obviously neglecting the factors that I’ve outlined before (tough schedule, only 1 starting receiver). Anderson would have played almost as well as Quinn against a poor Denver defense.
1st half summary
Offense: We’re moving the ball pretty well. Some drops early on kept the team from putting more points on the board. Quinn looks pretty good, but has been stopped primarily by good coverage. He seems to have hit his his stride with Braylon on the 98 yard drive. By the way, all the Brady bandwagon jumpers pointing to his success last week, look at 6-15 for 80 yards. Now remember that Anderson put up better numbers with Steptoe starting a game against a better defense. It’s not always the QB, and Quinn isn’t a light years ahead of Anderson. He’s played worse defenses with a healthier offense.
Offensive line is having huge problems opening up holes, primarily Fraley against Stroud and Kyle Williams. I’ve touched on Fraley’s inability to get push, but this is really bad. Lewis is running hard, but has almost nowhere to go. If you remove his one 16 yard run, Lewis has carried the ball 9 times for 27 yards. Not good. I think they should attack the outside more with either Harrison or Wright, as Fraley’s inability to hold the line will be less of a factor
Defense: After starting off trying to pass the ball, the Bills realized that the Browns can’t stop the run. Rodgers has been Rodgers, beating people off the line and making great plays left and right. The law firm, apparently have let one partner go (Louis Leonard), and have done a better job than in previous games.
The LBs are missing a lot of tackles, and not filling holes well. Davis has been hit or miss (almost literally). He made a great play in coverage to get an interception, and has been aggressive against the run. Leon Williams and Shantee Orr have played more often than they normally do on defense, not really making much of a positive impact. Also, they don’t seem to be bringing down Lynch very easily, I think b/c Lynch is a lot better than I though he was. He’s quick, has good moves, and breaks a lot of tackles
From the DBs perspective, the Browns have primarily relied on zone, protecting McDonald, which has left them with very little pass rush. Look for more of the same in the 2nd half. This has been working thus far for two reasons: 1) the Browns may be a better zone defense 2) Edwards is holding on to the ball too long, and thus doesn’t know where to throw it.
Offense: Quinn makes some plays (e.g. bootleg, and reading of zone defenses) that Anderson doesn’t, but the same is also true. Quinn had two passes batted down at the line, and doesn’t appear to have the same arm strength to hit the 15 yard out. All in all, I think he’s a better QB than Anderson, but I don’t think it’s as dramatic. I’m also certain he’s not the reason why the Browns won the game, as Lindel should have hit the FG. Quinn also did a bad job modifying his temp on snapping the ball. Kawika Mitchell timed his snap on 3 separate occasions, resulting in 1 sack and 2 almost INTs.
From the RB position. This is about as good as you can expect from the browns RBs. Lewis runs the ball hard between the tackles, and Harrison has the speed to make big plays. Harrison looked good in both his catch and his run, but as stated before, needs to do a better job in pass blocking.
The best thing about the receivers today was their blocking. All three starters (Winslow, Edwards, Stallworth) made great blocks throughout the game (especially watch Edwards and Stallworth on Harrison’s 72 yard run.
With regards to catching the ball this was an ok game. Braylon had a couple of drops, but seemed to get his groove back. Also, keep in mind that Terrance McGee is a top 10 CB. Winslow had his own drop, but made a great catch at his feet, bailing Quinn out. Stallworth is struggling to get open in general.
On the offensive line, Fraley was offensive. He got pushed back way too often, and too easily. Even more importantly, he seemed to do just an average job in making line calls, this is where he normally excels. The rest of the line played ok, but didn’t do a great job of opening up holes, except for the Harrison run. The pass protection was again good, but not up to the level we’d expect. The high note was Shaffer not getting beaten repeatedly.
Defense: Obviously, stopping the run is an issue. Rodgers does an incredible job, but tends to do two things bad: 1) tire easily, 2) get overaggressive and take himself out of plays. Williams and Shaun Smith are serviceable, but more talent is needed here. The loss of Robaire hurts a lot. Clearly when any members of the law firm were in the game, stopping the run became a much larger issue. Thus, te extent of Shaun Smith’s injury is crucial. You can basically bank on every team running for at least 130 yards if Smith doesn’t return. Any combination of the law firm playing more than 40% of the snaps is extremely scary. Keep in mind, these guys were only supposed to see the field about 10-15% of the time this year.
The LBs missed a lot of tackles. Again, this may be due to a combination of Lynch’s talent and our lack thereof, as opposed to just our lack. Further, McGinnest continued his horrid performance on the year. I’m shocked that no announcers speak to how often it’s his zone where completions occur, or his side where contain is broken.
The DBs appear to have done a better job this week than versus Denver, but I’m guessing that’s a QB skill issue, not increased performance on our side. Edwards had at least 4 seconds in the pocket on every play, and somehow couldn’t find an open receiver. As Jaworski pointed out in the game, he waits, not anticipates receivers getting open.
Series by Series recap below.
1st Defensive Drive
1st pass was deflected by guess who? Shaun Rodgers, who was triple teamed on the play. It was intercepted by Wimbley. I’ve talked a lot about Rodgers, but Football outsiders outdid me in their three game evaluation of him. See link: http://footballoutsiders.com/cover-3/cover-3-mister-rogers-neighborhood
Tirico made mention that Trent Edwards struggles continue. When a 350 lb guy jumps 2 feet in the air while being blocked by 3 people to deflect a pass, and an OLB jumps 3 feet in the air to pick the pass off, it’s really not the QB’s fault. I long for Collinsworth and better explanations.
1st Offensive Drive
Not a drop by Braylon, but good coverage by the CB. Good 4 yard run by Lewis, left side of the line closed the DL down.
3rd and long – Dropped pass by Winslow. Quinn had locked on to Winslow, and threw it lat, regardless, K2 should have caught that pass. A rather auspicious start to the offense.
2nd Defensive Drive
Rodgers pressure – slows run. He’s a beast that nobody can block
Good pass by Trent, beating an outstretched hand for a long 1st down gain
Willie good pressure –gets “sack” 2 yards downfield. This could only happen to McGinnest.
Great interception by Andra Davis, again, another great play by the Browns defense. Here’s where announcers say Trent’s in a rut, but actually, two very good defensive plays explain the two INTs.
Somewhat related, the browns are getting very little pressure. I’m very surprised the Bills are attacking through the air, given how bad our run D is
2nd Offensive Drive
Good play fake and run by Quinn. He’s very fast for a QB, and I like how he lowered his shoulder. That will get his teammates on his side.
Great quick read by Quinn to get the pass to Charles Ali. Good catch by Ali in coverage.
Fraley got pushed back on Lewis’ 2nd run. It’s good to see Steinbach’s back in the game.
A pass slightly behind Edwards, but he should have caught it. By my count, Braylon’s dropped 15, not 11. They’re being really generous to call it just 11. Not sure what’s going on with him right now (something in the Ann Arbor water that’s making him terrible?). That drop was weird, as you could see him brace himself for the impact of the ground, and then dropped the ball.
Good pressure by the Bills, the breakdown was on Fraley, who totally missed the stunt by the DT Marcus Stroud. Not to belabor a dead point, but this is an example of where offensive line continuity is important.
Dawson nails the FG. Thank god we didn’t need to hear his wife sing the national anthem again.
If you get two INTs between the 40’s, you’d hope for more than 3 points. Braylon and K2 both dropped balls to make this happen
3rd defensive drive
Great line drive kick by Dawson gets touch back.
Starting DL in, and the run for 7 yards up the middle. LB’s didn’t dill the holes well on that play
2nd straight run, and the bills are finding success. This play was stopped at the point of attack, but Lynch made a good read to break it outside.
If I told you one of the DL made a stop for -2 yards, by beating a double team. Who do you think it was?
Screen pass which S. Smith reacted to well. Good tackle by Sean Jones.
Great coverage downfield, which led to a dump off by Trent. Good play by the browns swarming to the tackle. One reason for the bills failure at OL, Melvin Fowler, Butch’s 3rd round pick in ’02 (Ceremoniously traded to Vikings for Nat Dorsey, then signed as a FA by Buffalo. Never really been a full time starter). He has no chance blocking Rodgers 1 on 1.
3rd Offensive Drive
Great run by Lewis, hurdling over Whitner. Heiden did a great job blocking down on the edge to break Lewis.
Short yardage, and again Fraley gets stood up (his guy makes the tackle). This, as mentioned before, is a real issue.
Good blitz, not picked up by Wright. Last year they did a better job of this. Fraley missed this read as it was easy to tell the LB was coming from our angle.
4th Defensive Drive
People beat up on McDonald for his coverage, but he’s a great tackler. Making a 2 yard stop on 1st and 10 from the bills
2nd straight run, Rodgers not in on the series, and a pick up of 4. Leon came off a block well and made the play. Rubin is in at NT. Rodgers came in after the time out .
3rd interception by Edwards. This is was a terrible read. Pressure applied by Rodgers, who took on and pushed back 3 lineman.
4th Offensive drive
I like the reverse call to Cribbs, very impressive play from the corner on the backside who chased the play down. Quinn should have chipped that guy off.
Another attempt to Edwards, covered by McGee (who’s a top 10 CB in the league) and made another good play. I’d rather see them throw a fade to the end zone.
Browns do this on the next play (and more great coverage by the Bills) 3 INT’s – 6 points. Not good.
Quick Quinn recap. He seems to be making the right reads, getting stopped by 2 drops, and some incredible coverage by the Bills DBs. The Browns normally get past this by running “rub” routes. Will see how this develops throughout the game.
5th Defensive drive
Alex Hall needs to be taken off the special teams, as he slowed down before the contact.
Great play by Shantee Orr on the 1st run (in for Kamerion)
Rodgers makes a play 4 yards downfield, the LBs aren’t big enough to fill the holes.
Again no pressure with 4 rushers, Willie was pushed so far out of the screen it’s as if he wasn’t there.
5th offensive drive
Starting from our 4 yard line. Decent run by Lewis, with not much of a hole there. Fraley’s really struggling.
Another 3 yard run by Lewis, slowed down by a LB that beat Fraley.
Should have been pass interference, but I’ll take the holding call.
Lewis should be replaced to try and attack the outside. Fraley can’t stop Stroud, so the Browns need to attack the tackles where they have the advantage.
Good throw on the run by Quinn, good catch by Winslow. – 1st down
Play fake, and a deep throw to Edwards which he makes a good catch.
Run of two yards by Lewis. Again, line not opening any holes.
Another play fake, looks like same route to Edwards on an in that he catches and takes another hard hit.
Fade thrown to Stallworth, who was covered well. Stallworth should have been called for PI, but wasn’t. However, I like them taking a shot on 1st down after a couple of runs.
2nd down slant to Edwards, which he catches for ten. I don’t want to jinx it, but I think the drops are over.
1st and 10, big hole which Lewis barrels through to pick up 5.
Lewis breaks one to the outside, where he stiff arms two tacklers to pick up 10. Great block by K2 to free him up. 1st and goal from 4. Here’s where the Browns have struggled to run the ball
Great play call to get it to Cribbs on a designed sweep that he takes off guard. Steinbach and Fraley pancaked their guys and Thomas destroyed his guy. Cribbs gets the TD, but the aforementioned lineman deserve the credit.
6th defensive drive
Short kick, almost recovered by the Browns. Not sure if that was intentional or not.
“Wildcat” formation, stopped for 2 yards by Shaun Smith. DL did a great job holding the LOS
Next play, some pressure from Rodgers and Wimbley forced a dump off.
Long run by Bills, break down was Rodgers not beating the block, and no LB fill. Rodgers is too good to get blocked 1 on 1 by a guard.
3 of 4 straight plays from shotgun in which they have opened huge holes on the DL.
Andra Davis beats his man and than makes a good tackler for 1 yard loss.
3 man rush eventually gets to Edwards who drops the ball off to Lynch. He should have been tackled by 3 or 4 Browns, but made some great moves to get to the end zone more or less untouched (until the 2 yard line)
In this drive, the Bills exploited the Browns run defense. They seem to have found a formation that puts the Browns at a disadvantage (3 WR, shotgun with Fred Jackson at RB). The Browns react with their nickel defense, and Willie on the slot receiver (I wish I were making that last part up)
6th offensive drive
Harrison in for Lewis, tackled for a 1 yards loss (line didn’t do much)
Quinn made a good play getting rid of the ball and moving in the pocket to get the ball to Braylon. Throw was behind Braylon, but he had two hands in his face.
3rd and 6 – Quinn looks for Hieden deep and was well covered (incomplete pass)
7th defensive drive
Could be an issue as the Browns D had almost no rest. Here’s where Rodgers play tends to fall off.
Andra Davis makes a great play, and law firm partner Rubin does a good job in replacing Rodgers.
McGinnest was on the slot receiver and missed his jam completely. Another guy caught the pass for a 1st down.
Next run Rubin was turned and pushed 3 yards down field. Rodgers comes back in the game.
Another run right up the middle for the Browns. Rodgers went too far up field and took himself out of the play. He tends to do that when he feels like the team needs a push. This is where his 4-3 training sometimes hurts him. In that defense, you’re encouraged to get through gaps. However, in the 3-4, the Browns need him to force a 2nd lineman to block him. The quick move there was the same thing that opened up the Browns to a couple of 10-15 yard runs by Cutler last week.
Rodgers does an incredible job of this on the next play, keeping the Bills to a 1 yard gain on 2nd and 5. As the FO article mentions, when he messes up, he takes it out on the defense on the next play.
Jackson beats Andra Davis’ tackle (McGinnest loses containment) as they run for 6 yards.
Law firm partner Thomas makes a decent play knocking down the pass.
Lynch was again very impressive in breaking tackles (this time Leon Williams totally whiffing) and getting a 1st down.
Alex Hall makes a good open field tackle on Edwards. Williams opened up a huge hole by getting pushed outside by the RT
No timeouts, 15 seconds left, browns should blitz but don’t. Pool makes a great play to break up the pass. Jaworski has made some keen comments about Edwards waiting for open receivers instead of anticipating them
3rd and 6 and the Browns don’t get any pressure (again). The DB’s do a good job in coverage and Edwards has to throw it out of bounds.
Field goal ends half.
1st Offensive drive of the 2nd half
Good return by Cribbs. I like how aggressively he attacks the return.
Browns pull Thomas and they pick up 3 yards on 1st. I’d like to see them go to more play action, especially on 1st down.
Lewis reads the hole wrong on the next play, he had a couple of yards to the inside, and tried breaking it to the outside to no avail.
Big 3rd and 6. Blitz picked up perfectly by the Browns, but Steptoe committed pass interference (pick play) that negates a 30 yard gain by Winslow.
I’m surprised (and happy) that the Browns let Quinn throw on 3rd and 16. Shaffer missed his block on Marcus Stroud, and thus, Quinn had to make a great play just to throw it away. Stroud is playing very well.
1st Defensive Drive of 2nd half
I’m predicting a 3 and out here, based on a rested Shaun Rodgers.
Lynch stopped for 4 yards. Look for the Bills to use that formation again and throw it to Willie’s side (he was again guarding a slot receiver)
Shaun Smith hurt, which is bad, based on more partners from the law firm playing. If I’m the Browns, I’m rotating Thomas and Rubin, and putting Leonard in on pass situations. Sean Jones also out (meaning Adams will be playing too much.)
Lynch made a good move in the flat to beat McDonald. Forced out of bounds but Wimbley.
Big 3rd and 3. Edwards throws downfield (after at least 5 seconds in the pocket) and beats Willie in coverage.
Willie loses contain and because of this, Lynch picks up 5 yards. Willie needs to put out to pasture.
McDonald forced a fumble by Jackson that was luckily recovered by Rubin. The browns (both Thomas and Rubin included) did a good job stacking up the run.
Regardless, I’m incredibly impressed by Lynch’s power and open field moves.
2nd Offensive Drive
Quinn modifies the play and Lewis runs off guard to pick up 4.
Another good bootleg and Quinn picked up 7. The Browns need to run more misdirection.
The browns take my suggestion and run a play fake. Great scramble in the pocket by Quinn, and an even better catch by Edwards.
Browns go in their flash formation and line up incorrectly. Braylon didn’t cover Thomas)
Straight drop by Quinn, and blitz picked up well by Wright. Quinn gets pass batted down, Anderson can throw over this most of the time.
Big 3rd and 10 as the Browns haven’t converted one 3rd down all night
Quinn finds Edwards on a bench pattern for a 22 yard gain. Great pocket set up by the line.
Lewis picks up a couple on a run to the right. However, he seems to be chopping his steps before attacking the hole.
Blitz comes right up the middle, Quinn gets sacked and moves the Browns out of field goal position.
3rd and 17 picks up 8 to Steptoe, which gets Dawson close to field goal position. (42 yards)
Perfect kick by Dawson, right through the uprights.
Again the defense has been off the field for a while, so hopefully they’re rested and Shaun Smith is back in the game.
2nd defensive drive
Another swing pass to Lynch, which the Browns finally stop for less than 4 yards (this one picked up 1 yard)
Edwards sees an opening in the Browns D, and picks up 8 (penalties offset this play) Willie was again in coverage on the slot receiver, only b/c Edwards didn’t look to his side did he not complete the pass to that receiver.
Terry Cousins in the game. He subsequently misses the tackle on Lynch in the open field. (he wasn’t the only one 3 other players missed as well.)
6 yards on the run when Rodgers is off the field. I’d love to see the running stats when he’s on the field versus when he’s not. I’m guessing there’s at least a 1.5 yard difference.
Another run up the middle for 2 yard for a first down.
Play action pass (surprised we haven’t seen more of this based on Denver’s success last week) Hall was fooled, but a bad pass kept the play from creating positive yards
Again, a run off LT (Thomas got held up and kept Davis from making the play) Rubin also in the game. Maybe it’s a 2.5 yard difference between plays when Rodgers is in the game
Rodgers comes back in. Bills pick up 6 again off LT. Thomas sucks.
Rodgers tackles Lynch for a 1 yard gain. Great play beating his man (Thomas, the RDE was beat again).
Browns stop Lynch in short yardage, and McDonald makes another great play stripping the ball, this time though, it was after the play was blown dead.
3rd offensive drive
1st and 10 from the 18. I’d like to see a play fake and take a shot down field on 1st down.
No play fake, but a quick out to Edwards which he catches. Good play call to open up the Bills D.
Harrison in on both of the 1st two plays.
He breaks a 72 yard run entirely due to the blocks by Stallworth, Heiden, Thomas and Charles Ali. Can’t say enough about how impressed I am by Stallworth’s blocking. That wasn’t something I expected to get with his signing. Braylon also maintained his block 40 yards downfield. The difference between a 15 yard gain and a 50 yard gain is often your WR blocking.
3rd defensive drive
Great thing about the previous drive, TD, bad thing about previous drive, lack of rest for Rodgers.
Kick off return for a TD. Like I said earlier, Hall needs to come out of kick coverage. This is the 2nd time he got destroyed on kick offs.
FO predicted special teams would be important in this game: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3704507
At least Rodgers gets more time to rest.
4th offensive drive
Bad kick gives the Browns the ball on the 43.
Harrison still in the game. Bills finally stay home on the play fake, and force Quinn to throw it away.
Harrison makes one guy miss and gets a good gain off right tackle. Personal foul called against the bills (bad call) for hitting him out of bounds
Good play fake by Quinn, if Edwards doesn’t get tangled up with McGee he had him beat.
Lewis back in the game, and Steinbach pulled well to open up Lewis for 3 yards.
Quinn throws a perfect out and up to Harrison (covered by DE). Good catch by Harrison to stay in bounds.
Lewis runs left (Hadnot pulled) to get 4 yards. Again inside the 5 has been a huge problem for the Browns all season.
Bad pass by Quinn on play fake to the weakside. Quinn assumed that the backside would be open, and Lewis was incredibly well covered.
Quinn didn’t have anything open, and did the right thing to throw it away. Bills knew where Edwards would end up (over the middle in the back of the end zone). Whitner, was literally waiting for Edwards to get there.
FG by Dawson. Browns need to take advantage of Edwards and Winslow’s athletic ability here. Line them up on the outside and throw a fade to the one not covered by McGee.
4th Defensive Drive
Willie makes a tackle 13 yards downfield. The worst part about this is that it was to his side and he was blocked by 190 pound roscoe Parrish.
Bills run it again and pick up 3. Rodgers in on the tackle.
Here comes the play fake that I’ve been expecting. Somehow Willie was left covering Lynch. That didn’t work out well for the Browns.
Run up the middle, and Rubin and Rodgers hold up Jackson for no gain.
Fred Jackson just made Willie fall down in his attempt to tackle Jacksin. McGinnest is back to his bad ways. Rubin did a good job getting through the block.
They just announced Fowler was benched, not surprising.
2nd and long and 3 guys are blocking Rodgers. If the Browns had better 2nd and 3rd rushing ends, they would have a lot more sacks.
Screen play stopped by Willie. Not sure if he read it or was too slow in pass rush.
5th Offensive Drive
Good run off left tackle by Lewis. Thomas held is block well.
The browns can’t get conservative here and just run the ball. As I’m typing it, the ball gets tipped and thrown straight up in the air due to another blitz by Kawika Mitchell up the middle. Apparently picked by Ko Simpson. Looks like the INT will be overturned.
Big 3rd and 7. The Browns need to convert this play. Good blitz pick up by the Browns, Winslow fights off coverage to make a great catch
On 1st and 10, the Browns run a sweep right with Lewis. This was expected. Again, Stallworth makes a good block to allow Lewis to pick up 4.
Great call on the play fake to throw deep to Edwards. McGee was blanketing Edwards, and thus, it was incomplete.
Edwards covered again by McGee, this time the ball gets through and Edwards could have made a good catch there.
5th defensive series
Run off left tackle which picks up 4. Williams got pushed back on that play.
McGinnest was again in coverage on a slot receiver and his zone was exposed for a 10 yard gain.
1st and 10. Another run up the middle. They were able to push Rodgers out of the way to pick up a couple of yards.
Thomas goes out and Leonard comes in. Rodgers got pushed back by two people. Corey Williams and D’Qwell got engulfed by two separate blockers, which allowed lynch to run for 20.
1st and Goal – QB sneak goes for TD.
Rodgers actually comes close to blocking PAT
6th offensive drive
Good pocket created by the OL, and a strong throw to the outside to hit Edwards for 12.
Lots of pressure coming from Marcus Stroud. He beat Hadnot on that play.
Quinn has great pocket presence to avoid the corner blitz. Winslow catches a ball at his knees to move the chains with a 15 yard gain. He may be hurt on the play (actually not).
The Browns need about 10 yards to assure a FG.
Quinn makes a bad read to the corner. This a throw where Anderson’s arm strength comes in handy.
A bad throw by Quinn to the sideline. I’m not sure why the Browns aren’t running the ball here.
I think the browns should run a draw here to get Dawson a little closer.
They don’t, Quinn throws a bad pass to Edwards which is incomplete.
Dawson kicks a 56 yard field goal. To take the lead. . . not win the game!! Why are the browns soo happy.
6th Defensive Drive
The Browns are a little too happy right now, almost like they’ve won the game.
Squib kick to Jackson and he returns it to the 44 yard line.
Willie shouldn’t be in the game (I wrote this before his guy caught the pass) for 22 yards.
1 yard gain, stopped by a host of browns.
I would run a play fake if I were the Bills here.
They don’t and gain another yard.
They run a 3rd time and pick up another 2 or 3.
WIDE RIGHT. . . .HOLY SHIT HE MISSED IT WIDE RIGHT! I feel bad for bills fans, I wish the Lindel had missed wide left. It’s like seeing “the drive” or “the fumble” happen again.
7th offensive drive
The browns get to sit on the ball