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Scouting Report - Week 3

Posted Sep 21, 2012


Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 – Mario Williams vs. Mitchell Schwartz –
The Bills premier pass rusher is an obvious mismatch for the Browns’ rookie right tackle. Schwartz performed well last week, but the Bengals were without Carlos Dunlap. Now he’s facing a pass rusher that is the total package. Veteran TE Ben Watson will need to spend a lot of time on the right side of Cleveland’s formation.

2 – Scott Chandler vs. T.J. Ward – Ward is the team’s leading tackler and a physical safety, but Chandler is still a physical mismatch in the passing game. Buffalo’s tight end should be able to capably shield Ward from the ball and make plays to help keep the chains moving for Buffalo’s offense.

3 – Aaron Williams vs. Mohamed Massaquoi – A long and lanky receiver for the Browns goes against a tall cornerback in Williams. Massaquoi leads Cleveland in receiving and is also the team leader in yards per catch with a 16.4 average.

Top 2 Bills Advantages
Good Advantage –
Pass rush – While the Browns have accumulated eight sacks in two games to Buffalo’s five, the Bills have an across the line edge in pass rushing talent with Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams, who accounted for three of the team’s five sacks last week.

Best Advantage – Run game – It’s hard to argue with the number one rushing attack in the league after two weeks. Head coach Chan Gailey runs the ball out of a varied number of looks and C.J. Spiller has proven difficult to corral.

Bills Number 1 Must
Red zone –
Buffalo’s offense must continue their run of success in the red zone. The Bills are the only offense in the NFL still perfect in touchdown percentage with five scores on five trips inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Conversely, the Bills defense needs to keep the Browns down as Cleveland has yet to score a touchdown in the red zone.

Scouting Eye
Rookie Combo
The combination of Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson is seen as a long term duo in Cleveland’s offensive backfield after both were selected in the first round of the 2012 draft. Weeden made a big jump from Week 1 to Week 2 when it came to personal performance. After a four interception outing in a one-point loss to the Eagles in Week 1 in which he completed just 37 percent of his passes, Weeden rebounded with a 322-yard passing day in which he completed 70 percent of his passes and tossed a pair of TDs.

Richardson meanwhile looks completely recovered from a knee scope during the preseason after he rumbled for 109 rushing yards and a pair of scores in the seven-point loss at Cincinnati last week. Yards after initial contact is where Richardson thrives, so sound tackling is a must against this powerfully built, low to the ground back.

Attacking Jackson
Browns LB D’Qwell Jackson had missed 26 straight games with torn pectoral muscles, but is apparently making up for lost time this season. Jackson has been a production machine on defense for Cleveland racking up three sacks, a pair of interceptions, a fumble recovery and a touchdown in two games. Currently second in the league with sacks, Jackson is the only player in the league with at least two sacks and two interceptions.

Takeaway streak
Cleveland has forced six turnovers in two games, including five against the Eagles. Five of those have been by interceptions. The Browns linebackers however, have been the main playmakers accounting for four of the five INTs. The only defensive back with an interception is the suspended Joe Haden. Tied for first in the league in interceptions and tied for second in takeaways the Browns has scored 23 points off their turnovers.

Shorthanded secondary
The Browns have three more games to go without their top cover corner, Joe Haden. Haden will be serving the second of a four-game league-imposed suspension for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. That combined with the injury loss of Sheldon Brown left Cleveland thin at cornerback. Brown is expected to be back in the lineup, but Buster Skrine and Dmitri Patterson struggled against the Bengals. The pair surrendered 15 completions on the 20 passes in which they were targeted in coverage. Against Buffalo’s spread formations Cleveland could be in trouble.

Young guns
Cleveland’s roster is one of the youngest in football. How young? On the Browns 53-man roster, 27 of them are either rookies or second-year players. That’s more than half the roster. Fifteen of those 27 are rookies. Nine of the rookies and second-year players either start or see regular playing time on offense or defense.

Dawson’s cannon
One of the more unsung players on the Browns is still among the most consistent in the league. Kicker Phil Dawson is 5-for-5 on field goal attempts this season and has connected on eight field goals of 50 yards or more since the start of the 2011 season, tied for most in the league. In fact since the start of the 2011 season Dawson is second in the league in field goal percentage from 50-yards plus (8-9, 88.9%). Only Chicago’s Robbie Gould (6-6, 100%) is better among kickers with more than five attempts from 50-plus.

Buffalo Chips
Quote of the Week
“You have to be able to run the football. It’s not going to always look pretty, but I think it we can scatter the negative plays when we’re running it we’ll be fine. They’re going to get us sometimes and we’re going to get them. Hopefully we’ll get them more than they get us, but you can’t just get away from the run game.”
--RB C.J. Spiller

Stat of the Week
In the month of September as a quarterback with the Bills, Ryan Fitzpatrick has 16 TDs against 8 interceptions with a 97.3 passer rating.

Milestones in reach
Scott Chandler
needs a touchdown reception to make it three straight games with a catch in the end zone.

Stevie Johnson is looking to make it four straight games with a touchdown reception dating back to last season.

C.J. Spiller needs 100 yards from scrimmage to become the first Bill with six straight games with 100 yards from scrimmage or more since 1992-93 (Thurman Thomas).

Final Note
Since 2011 Buffalo leads the league in scoring offense in September games with an average of 35.2 points per game.