5 Impactful Plays and Players From Week 3 Titans Game

September 27, 2023

Tony Camino

Plays and Players That Stood Out From the Game Versus the Titans

5 impactful plays from Brown’s win over Tennessee

In the short week following the heartbreaking loss in Pittsburgh, the Browns had no time to dwell on their defeat and had to keep pushing forward. They emerged with another historically dominant performance on the defensive side of the ball, and Deshaun Watson had his best game as a Cleveland Brown. The Titans’ only scoring drive lasted just four plays for a net gain of negative nine yards, and the offense made enough plays to secure an early victory. Here are five impactful plays from the Browns’ win over the Titans.

Myles Garrett strip following a turnover

This entire review could easily have been about sitting back and watching all the times Myles Garrett did something extraordinary to wreak havoc. The play mentioned above occurred in the first half on 2nd and 13 in the Browns’ territory following Elijah Moore’s fumble. It marked only the second snap of the season that the Browns’ defense had played inside their 30-yard line up to that point.

Garrett was lined up in a typical edge rusher position, in a very wide five-technique that almost resembled a nine-technique when aligned against the tight end. Just before this play, Garrett had broken through the line on an inside zone run, tackling Derrick Henry for a loss on first down

He does an excellent job swiping the left tackle’s hands, then outpaces him with an unfair combination of speed and strength. Garrett even manages to get his hand on the football, giving the Browns a significant opportunity to recover it. While it eventually bounces free and gets recovered, it still results in a substantial loss, setting up a challenging third-and-long situation following the turnover.

After a crucial turnover where the offense fails to play complementary football, the defense finds themselves with their backs against the wall and limited field to work with. Instead of the offense costing them the lead early on, the defense comes through, bailing them out and keeping the game tied with a pivotal early series.

Jerome Ford double move touchdown

Right after the defense made a tremendous stand, the offense marched down the field and positioned themselves in the red zone to take the lead. Jerome Ford started in the backfield but motioned out so the Browns could have an indicator of the Titans’ defensive scheme. Typically, if the linebacker follows him out there, it indicates man-to-man defense, as the defense wouldn’t want the linebacker to play a deep zone or cover anyone other than the running back. If a cornerback follows, it likely signals zone coverage and the cornerback is responsible for a deep zone.

In this case, the linebacker follows Ford, giving the Browns the desired defensive look.

As pointed out by Jake Burns of the Orange and Brown Report, the Titans have an effective defensive tactic to disguise their coverage when a team motions to an empty formation. The linebacker appears to be covering the running back man-to-man, but the rest of the defense is actually in zone coverage. Teams often use the running back as an indicator and then target their best receiver with a man-beating route. In this situation, the Browns recognize that zone coverage is coming, especially with Ford isolated, and the linebacker is likely expecting Ford to run a vertical, hitch, or under route.

Instead, a fantastic play is called, and Ford executes a brilliant double move, leaving him wide open in the end zone. The linebacker committed to what he believed was an under route, but it was too late to recover and make a play. This reflects the coaching staff’s excellent job in identifying a flaw in the Titans’ scheme and Ford’s exceptional execution in running a precise route and convincingly selling the under route for a touchdown

Maurice Hurst TFL

Derrick Henry finished with only 20 rushing yards, and the interior defensive line played a significant role in that. Maurice Hurst had an outstanding game, disrupting the Titans’ offense in multiple ways. The team believes he is healthy and ready to compete, and he demonstrated his value while rotating into the game.

On this play, he lined up in a three-technique position to the field, while the Titans executed an outside zone stretch play.

At the snap, he executes a beautiful swim move on the guard and quickly penetrates behind the line of scrimmage. Grant Delpit, coming off the edge, takes an excellent angle to cut off Henry but can’t secure the tackle. Nonetheless, he successfully redirects Henry’s run, forcing him to the left side of the line. Remarkably, he finishes the play by bringing Henry down himself, resulting in a significant tackle for loss and setting up a third-and-long situation.

All defensive linemen have performed exceptionally well through the first three weeks, with the ability to rotate them, keeping them consistently fresh. Hurst had a standout game, showcasing his versatility by lining up on the edge and making plays in both the run and pass game.

Myles Garrett makes a huge sack before the half

Another extraordinary play from the special talent that is Myles Garrett is with the Browns’ defense back on the field for the final drive of the half. After scoring a touchdown, the Browns lead 10-3, but the Titans are threatening as time winds down. Garrett is once again lined up as a typical edge rusher, positioned outside the tackle in a wide nine technique, with Ogbo Okoronkwo in the five-technique beside him

Garrett, as usual, has an impressive get-off and quickly gets under the tackle’s pads. He powers through the tackle and pushes him back until he can bring Tannehill down. While there isn’t much to break down schematically, this play had immense significance in the game, a scenario we often saw the Browns on the opposite side of. With Tannehill sacked, time ran out, and the Titans had to head into halftime without any additional points, trailing 10-3. Since they received the second-half kickoff, this stop was crucial, as anything other than a sack might have resulted in three points.

The defensive line has been truly exceptional this year, consistently bringing out the best in Garrett. With the help he now has, we’re witnessing how he can single-handedly dominate games even when the entire team is playing well.

Watson’s best throw of the day

So much went right for the defense once again, but we shouldn’t overlook the solid performance by Deshaun Watson on Sunday. He wasn’t flawless, but he played at an above-average level and even performed very well at times during the game. Right after another defensive stop by the Browns following halftime, they had an opportunity to widen the gap on the scoreboard.

It’s 2nd and 1 in this situation, and Kevin Stefanski seizes the chance to take a downfield shot. The Browns line up in a three-by-one formation, with David Njoku, the number three receiver, extended to the field from the core. The Titans appear to be in a man-to-man defensive look, and the Browns execute a launch route concept. In this concept, the number one and number three receivers run hitch routes, while the number two receiver runs an outside release vertical route. This concept is particularly effective against cover two defenses because it pulls the flat zone away from the hitch routes, while also creating a back-shoulder opportunity against man coverage.

Donovan Peoples-Jones does an excellent job of showing late hands here, meaning he refrains from reaching for the ball until late in the play, preventing the defender from anticipating the pass and making a play on it. The ball is perfectly placed, allowing DPJ to make an impressive contested catch for a 29-yard gain, crossing midfield.

The Browns went on to score another touchdown on this drive and plays like this were instrumental in an 11-play, 85-yard march down the field. The passing game performed admirably, especially in a game where the Titans played tight coverage and left few receivers open. Watson rarely threw to open receivers because of coverage, but his precision placement allowed his receivers to make significant plays.


Three weeks in, and the Browns’ defense is off to a historic start. While the offense has had its hiccups, Sunday marked a significant step in the right direction, which bodes well for their prospects moving forward. If the passing game can continue to improve each week, the potential for this team is limitless. The upcoming game against Baltimore next week will provide a significant test for both sides of the ball in a crucial matchup before the bye week.

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