Offensive line once again dominates the Browns’ top PFF grades
It’s becoming a weekly theme for the Cleveland Browns. The Pro Football Focus grades for the team’s 34-20 win over Washington in Week 3 reflect very highly on the Cleveland offensive line, just as they did in the first two weeks.
Three of the Browns’ top four offensive grades from PFF in Week 3 went to offensive linemen.
Only WR Odell Beckham Jr. worked his way into the top foursome, scoring a season-high 76.6 in the game. Fellow wideout Jarvis Landry rounds out the top five with a 73.0 grade.
On defense, Myles Garrett’s dominant performance shot to the top of the PFF scores. Garrett earned a 91.0 overall grade and a 91.4 pass rush grade.
Linebacker B.J. Goodson parlayed his best game in a Browns uniform into a strong 84.4 overall grade. Most of that came from a 90.8 mark in coverage that was helped by an interception. CB Kevin Johnson, in his Browns debut, was the only other Cleveland defender to top the 70.0 overall mark.
At the other end of the grading scale…
Matt Patricia’s plan to slow down the Cardinals worked
The Lions went into Arizona with a plan: slow down the game and limit the possessions for the explosive Cardinals offense. And while it wasn’t foolproof, coach Matt Patricia’s plan worked well for Detroit.
Detroit’s defense limited the Cardinals to just 63 offensive snaps, well below their per-game average and target. The defense played its part, but Patricia noted the Lions offense played a deliberate part in the process too. The coach talked about using RB Adrian Peterson and the run game more than usual to limit Arizona’s possessions.
“I think it really was important for us to try to do the best we could to control the game,” Patricia said after the game. “They’re so explosive on offense, and they’re dynamic with their quarterback (Kyler Murray) and the skill players they have. I thought our offense did a great job of just slowing everything down and trying to really come through when we needed them.”
The plan definitely worked. The Cardinals tried to speed up the tempo but it didn’t stick. Detroit’s sluggish snapping was intentional:
It helped them hold ARZ to 63 plays – 12.5 fewer than their prior average.
— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) September 28, 2020
The Lions ran 62 offensive plays, one fewer than Arizona. But the Lions won the time of possession battle by a 32:50 to 27:10 margin. That was a huge factor in why the Lions escaped Arizona with the win.
Ron Rivera says Dwayne Haskins is letting Washington down
Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera didn’t like what he saw from quarterback Dwayne Haskins on tape in Week 3. Rivera issued a statement of support for Haskins following Sunday’s loss, but the head coach changed his tune Monday.
Rivera, 58, said other players on Washington roster “deserve better,” and admitted there is a “cut-off point” with Haskins.
The questions and full responses from Ron Rivera when he said other players “deserve better” and that there is “a cut-off point” with Dwayne Haskins: pic.twitter.com/1EnnQlzVhj
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 28, 2020
Rivera declined to get into specifics about what it would take for him to bench Haskins.
Ron Rivera supported Dwayne Haskins on Sunday
That’s quite the turnaround from Sunday, when Rivera said he was going to “take his lumps” with Haskins. Following Sunday’s 34-20 loss to the Cleveland Browns, Rivera said letting Haskins play was the only way the quarterback was going to improve. That comment seemed to indicate Rivera wasn’t going to replace Haskins as the starter any time soon.
But Haskins’ numbers are tough to ignore. Through three games, Haskins has completed just 56.4 percent of his passes, which ranks 32nd among quarterbacks. Haskins has thrown for 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and ranks 30th with 6.2 yards per attempt.
At 1-2, Washington is actually in pretty good shape. The rest of the NFC East has stumbled to begin the year, putting Washington in a first-place tie with the Dallas Cowboys at the top of the division. With better quarterback play, Washington could make some noise in a weak division.
Would Alex Smith replace Dwayne Haskins at quarterback?
If Rivera makes the change, that could open the door for Alex Smith to return to the starting role. Smith has recovered from a devastating leg injury, but has been inactive for every game this season. He’s not on Injured Reserve, suggesting he’s healthy enough to play in games if needed.
Kyle Allen, who the team traded for in the offseason, has served as Haskins’ backup for the team’s first three games. That would presumably put Allen in line for playing time if Haskins continues to struggle, but that’s not guaranteed. Rivera can easily adjust the depth chart if he feels Smith, 36, is ready for action.
Smith’s status could indicate how Rivera feels about Haskins. If Smith inches his way up the depth chart and is active for Week 4, Haskins could be on thin ice if he struggles against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
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