Because of the swirling winds and chilly temperatures, passing the ball Sunday against the Chiefs wasn't going to be an easy task no matter what. And when it was clear Duke Johnson Jr. wasn't having his best throwing day, it became imperative the Browns developed something with their ground game.
The Browns did just that, primarily in a second half in which they possessed the ball for more than 22 minutes. The end result wasn't what Cleveland wanted, but the team came away with yet another big-time rushing performance. The 232 rushing yards were the third-most they'd amassed since returning in 1999.
Here's how the Browns broke off two of their biggest plays during the second half.
Play No. 1 - Isaiah Crowell's 10-yard touchdown run
The Browns got to this point of the field by primarily running the ball. The Chiefs were on their heels. On first-and-10, Cleveland lines up in a jumbo formation with two tight ends lined up to the right of right tackle Mitchell Schwartz. The Chiefs show a look with eight players in the box. Still, the numbers are on Cleveland's side because of the way it's stacked the line.
Schwartz is the key to this particular play. He's lined up across from Kansas City's Mike DeVito, who is shaded to Schwartz's right. Because Schwartz is so quick off the snap, he's able to take control of DeVito and push him to the left, allowing a hole to open to the right, where tight ends Jim Dray and Gary Barnidge are headed to block their respective Chiefs.
As the play develops, Schwartz completely blocks DeVito out of the play and Barnidge pushes his man to the right, opening up a lane for Crowell. The last man standing in Crowell's way, Kansas City defensive back Marcus Peters, is taken out of the play by Dray. Crowell squeezes through the lane and heads toward the pylon for his fourth touchdown of the season.
Play No. 2 - Johnny Manziel's 34-yard run
The first play of the second half set the tone. On a first-and-10 from the 18, the Browns line up in shotgun with Crowell stationed to Manziel's left. Travis Benjamin is lined up to the left and two receivers are slotted to the right. This is going to be a read-option, a play that allows Manziel to decide if it's best to hand off the ball to Crowell or keep it himself. Kansas City outside linebacker Frank Zombo is the player Manziel will be watching most because Zombo has "contain" on the play.
As the ball is snapped, left guard Austin Pasztor pulls to the right because that's where the run is headed if Crowell gets the ball. Zombo heads toward Crowell in hopes of dropping the Browns running back for a loss. It appears as if Crowell won't have much room to run if he gets the ball unless he can evade Zombo and cut it back to the left.
Manziel makes the right decision and decides to keep it himself. Zombo's momentum toward the pile is too strong to turn around and catch Manziel before he darts to the outside with all sorts of green grass in front of him. The run is the longest of Manziel's NFL career and accounts for the biggest chunk of his franchise-record 111 rushing yards.