Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers: Film Room Session

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Source: NFL Game Pass

The Browns line up under center in a two tight end set or in “12” personnel. The Pittsburgh defense stacks eight in the box excepting a run. In the secondary, Pittsburgh has a single high safety, and the corners are almost 10 yards off the ball. This tells you they are more than likely in a Cover 3.

On the play, the Browns sell the play-action fake, which freezes all the linebackers into thinking it is a run. This allows tight end Gary Barnidge to get a free release off the line of scrimmage and run into his route.

Source: NFL Game Pass

The play-action fake moves the pocket for Manziel and gives him easier throwing lanes to operate with. Barnidge is running wide open on a corner route. The Pittsburgh linebackers have no time to recover after being frozen by the play-action and Manziel hits Barnidge for a gain of 19.

The Browns used a decent amount of play-action against the Steelers run-stopping defensive alinements, helping to create high-percentage throws. Using play-action benefits Manziel, because they create throwing lanes and easy reads, which can result in throws like this one to Barnidge.

Source: NFL Game Pass

Next: Manziel utilizes his red-zone threat