5 Impactful Plays and Players Game Film Review: Week 15 Browns/Bears Game

December 20, 2023

Tony Camino

Best Plays From Browns’ Win Over Bears In Week 15

Despite the injuries continuing to stack up, the wins are stacking as well. The Browns made it to 9-5 after a gutsy comeback win at home against the Bears. The theme of the day was guys stepping up when called upon, which has been the case all year. The interior linemen Davlin Tomlinson and Shelby Harris lived in the backfield and wreaked havoc. Myles Garrett and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah added another great game to their impressive seasons, while the secondary shut down the passing game. The offense struggled greatly at times, but Joe Flacco came through at the right times for a thrilling win. Here are the five best plays from the exciting Week 15 win.

De’Anthony Bell’s Great Play

One of the many guys who have seen extended time on the field lately has been strong safety De’Anthony Bell, a former undrafted free agent from 2022. The Bears are running a duo run play here, where the interior linemen work double teams and the tackle and tight end try to seal their man to allow the running back to react to the MIKE linebacker.

The Bears block this up very well, and the Bears running back is attacking the left side since the middle linebacker floated to the right side. Za’Darius Smith does a great job getting off his block and being in his gap, which forces the run outside to the safety and corner. Bell does an amazing job attacking shedding his block quickly and making a great tackle to force a third-and-long situation.

The Browns were running young, backup safeties in this game, and they responded to the challenge. Bell did a lot of very good things in this game, like shedding blocks and making plays before they even got to the cornerbacks. The second-year man has impressed in limited snaps so far and is such a weapon to have players who can perform when called upon.

Ronnie Hickman PBU

Another player who has stepped up wonderfully is undrafted rookie Ronnie Hickman from Ohio State. The Browns have the Bears in a third-down situation here looking to get off the field, and they are running their go-to cover-one-man defense with Hickman as the high-hole player. The Bears have a perfect man-beater called, as the receivers are stacked, and the first receiver will press outside and create a natural pick on Martin Emerson.

The pick works to perfection, and the receiver runs his route right off his teammate’s route, creating a lot of space. Hickman was reading the quarterback’s eyes the entire time and did a great job feeling where this ball could be thrown before it was. Once he feels the throw coming and notices the space, he breaks on the ball and makes a tremendous pass breakup to get the defense off the field.

Like Bell, Hickman has been fantastic in the last couple of games where he’s gotten more chances on the field. The Browns are getting very good production these last few games from undrafted free agents in their secondary, which shows just how well the front office and coaching staff are doing to fill out the 53-man roster with players who are capable of being on the field. The depth has been on full display, and hopefully, they can keep it up if they are called upon.

Big Stop On 4th Down

Into the fourth quarter, the Browns trailed 17-7 with the Bears threatening to add more points on the board. They have a fourth-and-one in Browns’ territory and elect to go for it to try and get in better scoring position. The Bears motion a receiver away from the play to influence the linebackers and get them flowing opposite of the action. They fake the handoff to get all the linemen down blocked inside and bootleg the quarterback outside of the pocket.

The play design is great, as Greg Newsome has to cover the receiver after he cracked the end, which leaves one blocker for Cameron Mitchell and one yard needed to convert. The receiver had leverage on Mitchell, but the rookie nickel evades the block and just clips enough of Fields’ foot to trip him up and stop him short of the line to gain.

If the Bears put up points on this drive, the game is likely over if they were trying to come back from a 20-7 or 24-7 deficit. This is truly a game-saving play by the rookie stepping up and changing the momentum at the time. Mitchell has had some impressive reps at the slot cornerback position this year, and his ability to make plays in space like these shows why he has a future playing a big role on this team.

Jet Sweep TFL

The Browns got a huge stop on fourth down and then went down and put a field goal on the board to make it 17-10. The Bears got the ball left, and the Browns’ defense couldn’t allow any points and needed to get off the field as soon as possible to give the offense enough chances.

All year the Browns have been beaten by plays like jet sweeps, bootlegs, read-option runs, and pin/pull concepts because of how Jim Schwartz teaches his linemen to play so aggressively. The Bears are trying to take advantage of this like many other teams have, and they leave the end Alex Wright unblocked because Browns’ ends usually play so downhill they take themselves out of the play.

Finally, an edge sniffs this out, and Wright makes a terrific play on third-and-one to push the Bears back and force them into a punt. The tackle easily took care of Mitchell, and the receiver had his man blocked, so if Wright doesn’t recognize this sweep coming, he likely is off to the races for a big gain.

Alex Wright is yet another player who played very well and will continue to see a bigger role with key contributors out. He lined up a lot inside this game to replace the interior pass rush threat of Maurice Hurst but also has been very solid playing off the edge like Ogbo Okornkwo was. The 2022 third-round pick has made some serious strides this season and plays like these show what he can bring for the stretch run.

Flacco to Cooper Magic TD

The entire film study before this focused on the defense and how well players have stepped up to the challenge after a dominant day in the win. The offense wasn’t pretty in this one, as they seemed to consistently be one player away from getting to where they wanted to go. Play calls were getting receivers open, but the decimated offensive line caused issues all game.

Down 17-10, the passing game had success in the short range and then had a nice bomb to Marquise Goodwin but couldn’t find much success anywhere else. The Browns run a double move from Goodwin at the top, while Amari Cooper runs an over route to the other sideline. Elijah Moore is just running an inside release fade to try and create space in the backend of the defense.

The Bears are in a two-deep coverage here, and the Browns wisely pull the backside guard to create an extra second of protection to get the ball off. The edge defender must think the play is trying to get outside him, and he backs off and doesn’t rush the passer. Joe Flacco then sees Cooper hanging around the middle linebacker, and he said he knew there was another defender over there, but he felt there was just enough space to fit the ball in. He rips it with great anticipation, and the placement is beautiful and just a bit lucky, as it fits right in between three defenders. Cooper then tightropes down the sideline and scores to tie the game.

The offense struggled for most of the game, but they came through just enough to pull out another gutsy win. While improvements need to be made in the run game and the intermediate passing game, their ability to stay composed and make big plays when things haven’t gone their way is very impressive. As the unit gets healthier and they get more comfortable playing together, the offense will look to make strides every week.

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