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Matchup Winners: Browns simplified plan for struggling QB

BILLS-BROWNS MATCHUP WINNERS

Tyrod Taylor vs. Robert Griffin III

Taylor passed for 174 yards and ran for 49. Griffin passed for 196 yards and ran for 48. Taylor played better. His TD pass to Charles Clay was a tad underthrown but he had to stand in the pocket and take a big hit from Danny Shelton. Taylor made a nice anticipation throw, something we don’t see too often, when he hit Clay for a 13-yard gain in the second quarter. He showed good anticipation on a 16-yard pass to Justin Hunter in the fourth quarter.

Griffin operated a much simpler game plan than Taylor. The Browns had used a ton of pre-snap motion last week and couldn’t execute the plays. They went bare-bones this week. They tried to ease Griffin into the game. Four of his first five throws were screens or now routes. Griffin misfired on a few easy throws. But he did face a lot of pressure.

Joe Thomas vs. Lorenzo Alexander

Now in his 10th season, Browns left tackle Joe Thomas still is one of the top three tackles in the NFL. Thomas has made nine Pro Bowls, and he never has missed an offensive snap. One thing that makes him so great is he’s light on his feet but he keeps his feet low to the ground as he’s moving in pass protection, which keeps him in a power position at all times. Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander had a tough time getting much pressure against Thomas. But Alexander managed to draw two holding penalties against Thomas, quite an accomplishment.

“He’s solid. I’ve played against him a couple of times,” Alexander said. “He’s one of the best tackles in the league. He’s very technically sound. He does a great job being patient, not showing his hand, he’s athletic. You’ve got to fight him all day.”

Bills pass rush vs. Browns pass rush

Cleveland might take Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft next spring. He’s an elite edge rusher, and there isn’t a quarterback in the Andrew Luck class available this year. The Browns need more edge rushing. Cleveland managed just one sack of Tyrod Taylor on Sunday, bringing its season total to an NFL-worst 22. The Browns’ young defensive ends, Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib, are nice prospects with potential. They’re high-effort guys. But they’re not explosive off the edge, at least not yet. Ogbah was the 32nd overall pick this year. Nassib was a third-rounder. Bills young tackle Cyrus Kouandjio had a solid game against them. The Browns have a ton of rebuilding to do on the front seven. Buffalo’s pass rush was far superior Sunday, with five sacks of Robert Griffin III.

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