Nothing has gone as the Browns Offense has expected so far this season. Baker Mayfield looks more like a rookie in his 2nd year than he did last season. The Browns rank 25th in the NFL in points per game, 25th in sacks allowed, and 27th in giveaways.
There is not a better representation of what the Browns are as an offense than their 2nd drive of the 2nd quarter against the 49ers on Monday night. They had imaginative play-calling. Their undeniable talent made plays and influenced defenders. But self-inflicted mistakes kept them from finishing.
The drive started out with Jarvis Landry running a “Squirrel route” (out-up-and-out). This route takes time to develop, so the Browns went with play-action max protection.
Great protection, great route, great throw.
Two plays later, the Browns motioned Odell Beckham Jr. into the backfield. They ran a fake-toss trap to Nick Chubb. The fake toss to Beckham took a few second-level defenders in his direction.
The Trap enabled the the left side of the offensive line to get to the 2nd level.
Chubb did the rest.
Again, great call. Great execution. 37 yards and the Browns were in business.
Cleveland kept mixing things up on the next few plays. They called a half-back screen for 12 yards as well as a fake-toss wide-receiver screen for 7. Each of the plays called on this drive had different tempo and pacing to help keep the defense off balance. And it worked. That is, until the Browns once again shot themselves in the foot.
On 3rd-and-goal from the 6, Cleveland manufactured a wide-open receiver, Antonio Callaway, on another great play design. But Baker Mayfield delivered an inaccurate and low pass. It was still very catchable, and the Browns should have scored 6 here. But Callaway bobbled and then tipped the ball up in the air for an eventual interception.
That simply can’t happen.
What the Browns Offense possesses in talent and scheme, they lack in precision and attention to detail. They need to start doing the little things right to gain any consistency. They’ll look to start doing so this week against a Seahawks Defense that hasn’t yet played up to expectations in 2019.
On the other side of the ball, Russell Wilson has gotten off to a tremendous start. He is currently completing over 73% of his passes, has thrown 12 touchdowns without any interceptions, and leads the NFL with a 126.3 passer rating.
Despite Wilson’s success, the Seahawks still want to be a run-first team. They keep the ball on the ground 47.7% of the time, good for 5th most in the NFL. Their rushing attack hasn’t quite taken off this season, though. We wouldn’t be surprised to see it get going in Week 6 against a Browns Defense that is bottom 5 in the league in rushing yards allowed per attempt and per game.
Check out how these teams match up below: