The Cleveland Browns opened up the 2016 NFL season with a disheartening 29-10 to the Philadelphia Eagles. It wasn't so much the losing that was disappointing, they'll be plenty of that this season. It was the early decision making by Robert Griffin III, some odd play calling and the overall dismal performance of the offense that left a particularly sour taste in Browns fans mouths. Let's go to the first half tape.
Duke Johnson Falls Down on Triple Option
After Carson Wentz and the Eagles marched right on down the field for a touchdown on the opening possession of the game, the Browns offense was faced with a 3rd & Long on their first possession, and Hue Jackson called...a triple option? Griffin motioned Andrew Hawkins into the backfield (with Duke Johnson Jr. already flanking his left), and Griffin took off to his right when the ball was snapped. It looks like RG3 had the option to pitch the ball to either Johnson or Hawk, but Johnson stumbled and fell, eliminating that option, and Hawk never really looked for the ball. Thus, a short gain, and the Browns were forced to punt. An odd play call, and poor execution.
Terrelle Pryor Running the Wildcat: Not Great!
Here's another playcall from Jackson that feels like he's just doing a little too much. On 1st down during the Browns third possession of the 1st quarter, Jackson called for Terrelle Pryor to lineup in the shotgun, with RG3 out wide to his left and Isaiah Crowell in the backfield with him to his right. Upon taking the snap, Pryor attempted to run a read option with Crowell, except he read the edge defender completely wrong and handed the ball to Crowell for a one-yard gain instead of taking the ball himself and hitting the hole that had opened up in front of him, as you can see in the photo above.
RG3 Locks on to Duke Johnson in the Flat on 3rd & 7
Throwing the ball to Johnson here on the Browns ensuing possession, seven yards short of the sticks, had no chance in hell of resulting in a first down. And yet, Griffin locked on to Johnson as soon as he took the snap, ignoring an open Corey Coleman on the other side of the field.
Tipped Pass Leads to an Interception in Eagles Territory
Sometimes, it's just flat out shitty luck, and that's what happened to the Browns toward the end of the second half as they drove deep into Eagles territory. Down just 10-7, RG3 looked to hit Coleman on a crossing route over the middle, one that would have netted good yardage had it connected, that got tipped by an Eagles linebacker and ended in an interception. Drive, kaput.
Yes, the Browns only trailed 13-7 at halftime, but with their offense stuck in neutral for most of the first half, it was already too late.