Any game that Rex Ryan can insert EJ Manuel in during garbage time is a good sign. The Bills offense, specifically LeSean McCoy found ways to attack a weak Cleveland Browns defense.
Through the air, Tyrod Taylor did some really nice things, most importantly, he finally found Charles Clay consistently for the first time all season.
Let’s take a look at a few plays.
Although I don’t love the play call after two huge runs from McCoy to get them into the red zone, what I need from Taylor is a better throw. Even though this ball is thrown to the back pylon (where you want this ball thrown) you want to see Taylor recognize the coverage and adjust his throw accordingly.
There is two ways to throw the shallow fade in the endzone; the way Taylor throws it here and to the back shoulder, where this ball ideally is thrown.
Truthfully, Joe Haden does a terrific job defending the play and there is help over the top, so I’m not exactly sure if it was a throw away or a miscommunication but this ball should be thrown based off of what Haden does. In a perfect world, this play can’t be defended if thrown properly.
Other than the placement, Taylor does a great job getting rid of the ball quickly. This isn’t the sort of play you can aford to hold onto the ball too long. It’s a one step and release route due to the tight quarters. Typically, this play is best thrown from under center so running it out of shotgun can mess with timing, but again Taylor’s footwork and timing were solid.
This is a great play to use when assessing Taylor’s ability to read a defense. He has four main reads on the play then a bleeding back out of the backfield as a dump off option. I don’t love that Taylor stares down Clay a bit on the play, but he’s essentially open the entire time.
Cleveland rushes only 3-men on the play and have a spy on Taylor in case he breaks the pocket leaving seven other guys dropping back in coverage. It appears they’re running a Tampa-2 look with the middle linebacker dropping into the deep middle of the field leaving a space for Clay to settle down. Taylor finds Clay when he settles down and delivers an accurate strike.
On the play, Taylor could have done a better scanning left-to-right. If he had been able to go through all his reads, he would have seen the corner cheat up on the running back leaving a nice window down field to hit Watkins. That’s nit-picking though, it was a great play by Taylor.
Man, what a terrific throw on this play. This is a throw made with a tremendous amount of confidence and one I just haven’t seen Taylor make nearly enough this season. You could certainly see Taylor’s confidence growing against an inferior team but it’s the sort of killer instinct I need to see from him against better competition.
The middle of the field just opens up like the flood gates and Taylor has the time to step up and wait until Goodwin finds a window in the zone. The impressive part is the accuracy and the arm strength Taylor shows off on this play. When he let’s it rip, he displays impressive arm ability he just needs the the confidence to let it spin.
Touchdown, yes. Pretty, no.
What I love about this play is Taylor standing tall in the pocket, finding the open receiver, delivering the ball and taking a shot for his troubles. What makes this play so successful is the play call. It’s a sloppy version of a cover 3 look by the Browns, but what opens everything up is the LeSean McCoy motion out to the left side.
What the motion does is force Haden to ditch his deep third responsibility leaving any corner route run over the top wide open. So what you’re seeing on this play is pre snap motion manipulation by Anthony Lynn. If they don’t move McCoy out, Haden likely drops back and the route is covered.
As for the throw, it’s not great. Quite honestly, he’s lucky Clay made a great play on the ball to come back and locate it but I was impressed he diagnosed the mix up in coverage and exploited it.
Confidence is a huge factor for quarterbacks. When Taylor believes he can beat someone with his arm, like he did Sunday against the Browns, I believe he might be a franchise quarterback.
Although Taylor doesn’t turn the ball over, he doesn’t take chances either. When he takes chances like he did against the Browns, he can beat anyone in the NFL. It comes down to coaching and a mindset that he is in fact a great quarterback.
I’m excited to see him get redemption against the Dolphins this upcoming Sunday. Hopefully he can build on this performance instead of taking a step back like he did after the Seahawks game on Monday night.