Note: Join Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports and me for a week 6 NFL review and further analysis of the Browns/Lions game Monday Oct. 14 at 6 PM Eastern on or catch the archives on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
Nice move by Ward to submarine Bush
Ward again gets Bush. If the Browns need Ward at the line there will be trouble
No pass rush. Stafford had all kinds of time to throw.
Bush is a good decoy as well.
Run by Bush again tackle by Ward. Time for a long throw.
10 yard pass Inc.
Durham catches another throw.
Stafford paniced despite the blitz missing him. Pass inc.
The Lion drive was not a good sign for the Browns.
Lauvao with a nice block and McGahee for 12
No hole for McGahee
Third down pass to Cameron 3 yards short of the LTG and was knocked away.
Four and out not a good start for the O
Bush for 7 with a Double on Taylor
Skrine with a nice play to knock the ball away
Pass coverage on the 3rd down play Jackson slow to cover TE
Pass and run by bell get another 1st
Haden flagged on a bad call.
2nd call against Haden was also a bad call because the throw was uncatchable.
TD pass to TE Fauria.
DT 7 CL 0
The D is going to fail badly unless the Browns O can keep the ball. They have now been on the field for 10 minutes in two long drives by the Lions.
At least Little didn’t run the kickoff out to the 6 yard line.
Good throw by Weeden but not caught
Ogbonnaya for 6 off the right side. 66 still has not figured out
Stafford panicked again from Taylor and throws the ball side arm to the ground.
Full blitz caused Stafford to throw wide of Johnson.
Good stop by the D deep in Lion territory.
Great call on the reverse to Benjamin for 40+ yards
Throw to Bess had nice touch. Weeded with a good throw.
77 pulls and leads McGahee to a 1st down on the run.
Pass to Barnidge well over his head
After a wild cat failed the Browns face 3-8
Good throw to Gordon for the first.
Toss play to McGahee WAY too slow developing.
Nice throw to Ogbonnaya who was WIDE open for the TD. No Lion in the same area code.
Very good drive with Weeden showing some touch.
CL 7 DT 7
Olgetree drops a 2nd down pass.
Browns blitz both Bryants and Stafford missed the screen pass.
Long throw to Benjamin will help soften the D coverage
Browns make a screen pass work for the 1st.
As Weeden was being hit he throw deep to Gordon.
Lauvao allows Tulloch to penetrate
Schwartz allows Sue to get to Weeden and he throws a pick.
The D line is doing just what the Bills did gaming ET to free up the second guy in. The O line has to figure out how to stop the rushers.
Ward gets Bush for a 2 yard loss
Lions throw deep to Durham for 23
Pass to Johnson against a right side corner blitz is dropped.
Slay fouls Little to the 39 PI
Pocket breaks down Weeden slides for 8.
Good block by Ogbonnaya gives McGahee a good 7 yard run.
Very good throw to Gordon for 24 to the 23
Grey runs the read option for 10 yards and the 1st.
Good catch by 82 against double coverage.
TO because they could not get the play in soon enough. Not again!
Ogbonnaya on a draw for the 1st at the 4.
2 min warning DT 7 CL 7 and driving.
Offside on Suh gives the Browns the ball at the 2
Great throw to Little for the TD on a slide to the outside.
CL 14 DT 7
Owens knocks the pass away
Haden knocks a ball away from Durham
Throw by Stafford right on but it is dropped.
Gordon gets the ball on the crossing route but he is limping.
Weeden misses the dump off pass to Ogbonnaya
Throw to Gordon just a little out of Bounds
40 yard FG GOOD
CL 17 DT 7
Great drive for the FG. Well done.
False start by Cameron
Det D line much more aggressive on the run traps McGahee after just a yard.
Two throws net 9 not enough. 3 and out again.
Bush drops the pass. 6 total drops by the Lions
Bush runs for 39 yards because the safeties were up at the line.
Stafford passes for the 1st at the Browns 21
Screen pass to Bush catches the Browns in an all out blitz TD
CL 17 DT 14
Weeden and Little not on the same page for the Inc.
Off side on Suh
Reverse to Gordon nets 0
Weeden forced out of the pocket runs for just a yard.
3 and out again.
Browns need a pick 6.
Mingo gets Bush for a loss of 2
Bush gets around Jackson for 9 on the catch
Pick play by TE gets Johnson a 10 yard catch
Bush for 6 on the Browns right side.
Ward missed the tackle on Bell for a gain of 3
Bell runs over Ward again for the 1st
O line gets nice push for 3 yards for Bush
Skrine blew coverage on Durham but Stafford missed him wide.
Johnson catches the ball short of the LTG but Skrine can’t bring him down
Skrine tips the ball away from 83 and Gipson picks it off with a return to the 30.
The Lions have made some significant adjustments to the O understanding the Browns have their S close to the line. It has cost the Browns in the first two drives of the half.
Browns line not getting any push. McGahee gets only 2 on a run left
Weeden throws to Barnidge for a loss of 2. Delayed blitz almost got him
Right side stunt again fools the Browns O line. Lions get the sack at the 20.
Third 3 and out this half. The Lions D has stepped it up. The Browns O has stepped out.
Bush over the middle for the 1st.
Bush on a bubble screen for the 1st. Are we seeing a pattern here?
Pettigrew gets away from LB Robertson for the 1st at the Browns 23
Fauria and Stafford pick on Robertson again for the TD.
The Lions have found a soft spot on the Browns D and really have taken advantage of it. The Browns REALLY need to get several 1st downs and a score.
DT 21 CL 17 10:35 left in the 4th quarter.
Gordon gets open at the 34 for the first 1st down of the half.
Grounding on Weeden for a loss of 10. He had a guy open but didn’t see him.
Grounding followed by an Illegal Procedure for a loss of 5. 2nd and 25
Long throw to Little called incomplete but the Browns challenge. Browns NEED this one.
Officals decide he was out on the catch.
Never get the ball close to the LTG on a 13 yard pass. Have to at least try. The pass was too late to give Ogbonnaya a chance to get the 1st.
15 yards on Bademosi brings the ball up to the Lion 41.8:57 left
Great side arm to Durham to the Browns 39.
Browns D getting eaten alive by the adjustments.
Bush for 2 6:39 left
Ward tips the ball away from Johnson.
51 FGA GOOD
DT 24 CL 17 6:04 left
Good out route to Gordon
Pressure again prevents Weeden from stepping into the throw. Inc.
Cameron for 7 OB. 3rd 3
Slant to Gordon who got away from LB Tulloch.
Weeden is pressured and flips the ball underhand which is picked off. This was a typical Weeden brain cramp. That cannot happen.
THAT’S ALL FOLKS.
Lions 1st down at the Browns 38 3:09 left
Sidearm to Pettigrew to the 31. 3rd and 3 Browns TO 3:01 left
Skrine tips the pass away but Groves called for Personal foul on Stafford
TD to Fauria
DT 31 CL 17 2:01 left but it doesn’t matter.
Ogbonnaya drops the ball.
4th and 1 but they struggle to get the play in.
Weeden fumbles on 2nd down but the Ref thought it was 4th down.
Where did the NFL get these fools? I want the scabs back.
It was not a tale of two halves. It was a tale of a Good quarter by the Browns and three good quarters by the Lions. The key to the failure of the Browns O in the 2nd half was the adjustments made by the Lions. The Lions had watched the tapes of previous Browns games. On D they began to do much more ET stunting. That sends the end inside and the tackle outside against the OT. Way too often both guys took the outside guy letting the DE coming inside free to get to QB Brandon Weeden. The D was also using a lot more delayed blitzes.
But by far the biggest issue the Browns O had was Weeden’s weaknesses. The only time he completes a pass down field is when his first option is open. When that is not the case a good QB resets his feet to throw to a second option. Weeden just panics and throws the ball to a check down, out of bounds or to the opposition. None of those options produce a first down. Weeden feels pressure even when it is not there. So many of his interceptions are stupid throws that no NFL QB should ever make. The second pick against the Lions was a perfect example. He is still holding the ball, staring down his receivers and taking his eyes off the target when he feels a rush.
He also does not see the field at all well. The result is he holds the ball and takes unnecessary sacks even though there are receivers open. While part of that is a holdover from the Pat Shurmur staff insisting that he not throw interceptions, he has not been able to anticipate receivers coming open. He is not now nor will he ever be a successful NFL starter. The fans will be able to tell if team management wants to tank the season. If they do they will just continue to start Weeden. The team will be hard pressed to win another game with him at QB.
The receivers were just OK today. They were not working hard enough to get open on every pattern but that would not have mattered because Weeden would not have found them anyway. Generally the receivers caught the balls that were close to them. This is not an NFL quality group. However the lack of production was much more on Weeden than on the WRs.
The running game suffers from the lack of blocking. In the second half the backs were hit at or behind the line of scrimmage. That is not acceptable. Willis McGahee is running hard. He could be a 1,000 yard back over a full season with any kind of blocking.
The real tragedy of the inept offense is the Browns Defense is playing at a very high level. Even when the O went 3 and out over and over, the D hung in and slowed the Lions potent offense. The adjustment the Lions made in the 2nd half involved getting WRs covered by linebackers. They also picked on CB Owens often. While the D can be effective, they need rest. With the O going 3 and out so often the D hardly had time to get a drink before they had to go out again.
It takes a lot more energy to rush the QB than to pass block. Even with a decent rotation the D line struggled to get any significant pressure on QB Matt Stafford. That was particularly true in the second half.
The Browns never found an answer for the half time adjustments the Lions made. If they had the Browns might have won the game despite Weeden. This is not the first time. The Browns have had the lead in every game. The team comes out flat in the second half. In his press conference head coach Rob Chudzinski said “half time adjustments are over rated.” In my opinion that is not the case. Browns fans have not seen half time adjustments since the team came back in 1999. The Browns needed to make adjustments to what the Lions did. They failed to do that and the team lost.
The Bottom line:
This loss is not totally at the feet of Weeden. The coaching staff and the O line have some responsibility as well. However, it is impossible to win with a QB that panics every time the D pressures him. In my opinion Weeden will not change and needs to be gone as soon as possible. We have not seen enough of Brian Hoyer to know if he could be a decent starter. I doubt he has the arm strength to win in the winds of December and January. But I for one have seen MORE than enough of Weeden to last me a lifetime.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
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Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on The Bill Smith Radio Show.
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Browns Lion in game notes by Bill Smith