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Week 1 Game Recap: Cleveland Browns 10, New York Jets 31


What you need to know

Cleveland Browns

In what appeared to be a promising start to the game, Josh McCown led the team down the field during his first drive. Unfortunately, McCown left the game with a concussion after attempting to dive into the end zone on a quarterback scramble. Johnny Manziel came on in relief for McCown and started off well, but also made several mistakes as the game went on. The team's inability to establish the running game was a major problem and too much was put on Manziel's shoulders as a result.

New York Jets

There were many new faces on New York’s sideline, but Brandon Marshall is the biggest different maker. Brandon Marshall scored one touchdown, forced a fumble after a key interception that turned the tide. The Jets haven’t had a big, physical wide receiver like Marshall since Keyshawn Johnson. Marshall sets the tone on offense and brings a renewed sense of urgency to this once lackluster offense. Antonio Cromartie suffered a non-contact, knee injury during the second quarter. Two trainers were needed to get him off the field. Marcus Williams came on in relief of Cromartie and played well, intercepting one pass and defensing three passes. Cromartie was beaten on Johnny Manziel’s 54-yard touchdown pass. Heading into his contract year, Chris Ivory garnered the attention of fans after an impressive pre-season. Ivory did not disappoint by rushing for two touchdowns. Ivory ran with an attitude and purpose as he ran through arm tackles and converted when asked to produce in high-leverage situations.

Cleveland Browns

QB Johnny Manziel, 52 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 24 - 182 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 35 - 0
Manziel made his first appearance at the beginning of the second quarter. He looked solid on his first drive, making quick decisions and throwing with accuracy. Throughout the game, he had a couple big runs taken off the board by offensive penalties. In the second quarter, he had a beautiful 24-yard run negated by an illegal chock block penalty. He recovered on the next play, hitting Travis Benjamin in stride deep down the field for a 54-yard touchdown. He put the throw right where it needed to be as Benjamin didn't even need to break stride on the play. Manziel was inches from a second touchdown pass in the second quarter, finding Andrew Hawkins in the end zone. Hawkins was only able to get one foot down before falling out of bounds. Manziel committed his first of three turnovers in the third quarter, where he missed Brian Hartline and threw the ball right to Marcus Williams. Everything began to unravel for the Browns after that play. In the beginning of the fourth quarter, Manziel had what looked to be a 23-yard rush canceled by a holding penalty on Alex Mack. Manziel fumbled on the ensuing play at the end of a short run. When Cleveland got the ball back following a Jets touchdown, Manziel was strip-sacked from behind and lost another fumble as he was attempting to roll out towards his right. Overall, Manziel showed his good and bad sides in this game. He looked quick and elusive, and at times passed with accuracy even under pressure. On the other hand, in the fourth quarter he failed to protect the football and made some poor choices.

QB Josh McCown, 19 offensive snaps, Pass: 5 - 8 - 49 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 23 - 0
McCown's first (and only) drive started on Cleveland's own nine-yard line. On his first drop back he made a beautiful 33-yard throw to Jim Dray which Dray allowed to slip through his hands. McCown showed some mobility and toughness during the team's first drive, scrambling and picking up several yards on the ground. As he did in the preseason, McCown opted not to slide at the end of two of his runs and took some big hits from the defense as a result. On his first pass attempt in the red zone, McCown overthrew tight end Rob Housler. Housler was closely covered and it is not a sure thing he would have been able to catch even a well-thrown ball. McCown later attempted to score on a scramble from the 14-yard line as he dove headfirst towards the end zone. He was hit hard and spun sideways, with the ball coming loose. He fumbled before crossed the goal line, ruining a great opening drive for the Browns. McCown left the game after the big hit with a concussion.

RB Isaiah Crowell, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 20 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets)
Crowell ran hard and aggressively but the Jets defense didn't give him much room to run in this game. He had several runs that went for no gain or a loss, and much of that can be attributed to the tough Jets run defense. Crowell took his first two carries of the game into the line for little or no gain. After trying to bounce his third run outside with no success, he finally found a hole on his fourth carry for a nine-yard pickup. It should be noted that Crowell received the only two red zone carries for the Browns on the first drive of the game and a third red zone carry in the second quarter. Due to some turnovers and a 21-point deficit, the running game was basically abandoned in the fourth quarter. Better days should be ahead for Crowell, especially if he continues to see most of the team's red zone rushing opportunities.

RB Duke Johnson, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 22 - 0
uke Johnson's first carry showed some of the quickness and elusiveness that made him a third round draft choice this spring. He had a nice jump-cut and picked up six yards. Similar to Crowell, Johnson struggled to find much room to run against a stout Jets run defense for most of the game. He had a chance at a nice gain in the second quarter as there was a lane to run in, but a missed block downfield by John Greco turned it into a just a four-yard gain. It appears that Johnson and Crowell will share the field at times as the Browns split Johnson out wide on a few plays and also put him in motion out of the backfield. One of such plays came from New York's five-yard line, showing that Johnson will be part of some red zone packages as a receiver. Johnson didn't end up producing anything from those plays, but the usage was encouraging.

WR Travis Benjamin, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 89 - 1 (3 targets)
Benjamin made a splash on his first catch of the game, burning Antonio Cromartie for a 54-yard touchdown. It is clear that Benjamin is fully recovered from his ACL injury in 2013, showing his pre-injury speed. In the second quarter, Benjamin faked an end around before reversing course back towards the sideline. He caught a swing pass from Manziel and took it all the way down to the nine-yard line.

WR Andrew Hawkins, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (6 targets)
Hawkins came inches from making a nine-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter. He made the reception in the end zone but just couldn't quite get his second foot down before falling out of bounds. Later in the third quarter, he made a nice first down catch when Manziel found him for a seven-yard gain. Manziel then looked his way on the very next play, but Hawkins took a big hit and was unable to secure the ball.

WR Brian Hartline, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (5 targets)
Hartline was mostly quiet in this game, making only two catches, but both went for first downs. He made his first catch of the game from his knees while reaching behind himself near the sideline. Manziel had been flushed from the pocket and zipped the ball to Hartline while under duress. Hartline's second catch came on a comeback route where he went to the ground to reel in a low pass from Manziel. Hartline appeared to have a nice chemistry with McCown in the preseason. If McCown is out for an extended time, Hartline could have some more slow performances in store.

WR Taylor Gabriel, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (4 targets)
Gabriel made his first two catches of the game while being covered by Darrelle Revis. Gabriel did a nice job getting open and he's so quick that it is hard for defensive backs to keep up with him. The first catch came on an out route where he did a nice job keeping his feet in bounds on the play. The second catch was called back due to a holding penalty, but it still merits noting that Gabriel had some success against Revis. On what turned out to be the team's last offensive play of the game, Gabriel did have a bad drop on fourth down late in the fourth quarter, but the game was already out of reach at that point.

TE Gary Barnidge, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 38 - 0 (5 targets)
Barnidge made a few catches for the Browns including a nice catch down the sideline during the team's first drive of the game. He did allow a third down pass to go through his hands in the third quarter. The pass was slightly behind him, but it appeared to be a catchable ball.

TE Rob Housler, 6 offensive snaps (1 targets)
Housler's first target in the game came on a fade in the red zone which Josh McCown overthrew. Housler was covered closely by the defense and had no chance at making the play. After that, he was quiet for the rest of the game.


New York Jets

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 24 - 179 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - -1 - 0
Ryan Fitzpatrick was very solid in his start as a member of the Jets. Fitzpatrick, who is known as a game manager, did an excellent job of keeping Cleveland’s defense off-balance by intermixing quick completions with Chris Ivory’s hard-nosed runs. Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes, one to Eric Decker on a corner route and one to Brandon Marshall on a fade. Fitzpatrick’s touchdown pass to Marshall was completed relatively easy due to Marshall’s pure stature against a smaller corner, Joe Haden. Marshall gives Fitzpatrick a physical, dominant red zone presence. Fitzpatrick did throw one interception, but was luckily bailed out by Marshall, who stripped the ball away from the defender. Fitzpatrick commanded Chan Gailey’s offenses effectively and let Chris Ivory dominate in early down situations.

RB Chris Ivory, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 91 - 2, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets)
Chris Ivory garnered a lot of attention after an impressive pre-season and continued to impress during Week 1. Ivory was featured in true ‘bell cow’ fashion, only ceding some third down work to Bilal Powell. In typical Ivory fashion, he initiated contact and fought for tough yards at the end of every run. Ivory also took advantage of his red zone opportunities by scoring from ten-yards and three-yards out, respectively. In total, Ivory garnered five red zone carries, including three carries inside the five-yard line. Cleveland’s trouble of defending the run were well-documented and Ivory made sure that he took advantage of their short-comings.

RB Bilal Powell, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 62 - 0, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (4 targets)
Powell played on some third downs during the first three quarters, but didn’t receive early down work until late in the fourth quarter. Powell had a few impressive runs against Cleveland’s second stringers, which included a 21-yard burst off right tackle. Ivory is the clear ‘early down’ bellcow for this offense, but Powell is a good pass blocker and e respective pass catcher.

WR Brandon Marshall, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 62 - 1 (9 targets)
Marshall was targeted a team-high nine times as he took advantage of an obvious mismatch against Joe Haden. Marshall, who primarily played in the slot as a member of the Chicago Bears, lined up outside and was targeted on screens, crossing routes, and in the red zone. Marshall scored in the third-quarter on an easy 1-yard pitch and catch. Marshall was matched up against Haden in single coverage and easily beat him to the score. Marshall bailed Fitzpatrick out after a costly third quarter interception by stripping the ball away from the defender. Marshall’s physical, dominant presence was a welcomed addition for a Jet offense that hasn’t a true top receiver in years.

WR Chris Owusu, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 55 - 0 (6 targets)
Despite being waived during New York’s final cuts, Owusu was signed to the practice squad and ultimately active for Week 1. Owusu started as the team’s third wide receiver and was targeted six times. Owusu primarily lined up in the slot and did a nice job of going over the middle of the field to make plays. It’s telling that Owusu started over Jeremy Kerley, who was relegated to punt return duties.

WR Eric Decker, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 37 - 1 (3 targets)
Due to game flow, Eric Decker was only targeted three times, but converted one of his targets into a 15-yard touchdown. Late in the second quarter, Decker ran a deep corner route and hauled the touchdown that ultimately gave New York the lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. Outside of this scoring play, Decker primarily functioned as a blocker.