Here's a pass-by-pass breakdown of Brady Quinn's effort in the Browns' heartbreaking loss to the Broncos on Thursday:
1) Incomplete over the middle to Kellen Winslow from an empty set on second-and-8. Bad read: Coverage is tight in the middle of a Cover-2. Steve Heiden is running a flat while a wideout runs a fly on the right side and the cornerback is caught in space. Quinn should have looked there, maybe dumped to Heiden for 4-5 yards.
2) Complete pass to Syndric Steptoe short of a first down on third-and-8. Can't tell if anything was open deep. Not a horrible decision: Steptoe was open and had a chance to turn upfield. Good throw.
3) Play-action completion to Donte' Stallworth for good gain on first-and-10. Stallworth runs a cross behind the line of scrimmage. Smart playcall from a run-heavy formation.
4) Touchdown to Winslow. Quinn does two things well on this pass. First, he looks to Heiden running an angle route before throwing to Winslow. That pulls the middle linebacker out of the middle of the field, opening a throwing lane. He also hangs in against the rush and delivers the ball before taking a hit. Well-thrown pass.
5) Misdirection swing pass to Jerome Harrison from the full house backfield for nine yards. The Browns are running the ball easily against a bad defense, so they are selecting pass plays that are high percentage and built off play-action or run-heavy formations.
6) Incomplete fade to Braylon Edwards. Good read, not a bad throw against single coverage.
7) Bad throw to Edwards on an out route in the end zone. The throw is too wide. Cris Collinsworth says that there are open receivers, but they aren't on screen.
8) Bad throw to Heiden in the middle of the endzone. The pass is at least two yards behind him on an in route, and he wasn't very open (the far-side safety closes quickly) . I think throwing the swing pass to the running back would have been a better move: He had space to run against a team that cannot tackle. Browns field goal.
9) Backside pass to Heiden on play action for minimal gain on second-and-long. Nothing special.
10) Touchdown to Winslow. Good play call against man coverage: Winslow works underneath Stallworth against man coverage. Stallworth eats up the safety, clogs traffic, even sets a little moving pick (see figure) . Good read and throw. For the record, the Broncos are really helping.
11) Complete to Winslow on an out route for 13 yards on first down. Ball is low but catchable. Another late reaction by a Broncos defender: The linebacker covering Winslow is peeking into the backfield until the ball is thrown.
12) Short completion to Winslow on a stop route. Good read and throw.
13) Very good third down completion. The Browns start in the shotgun with trips right. Quinn looks right to pull defenders out of the way so he can look off and hit Heiden sitting in the middle of the field. Quinn is using his eyes well.
14) Empty backfield, complete pass for six yards to Winslow on a stop route in the middle of the field. Awful throw that Winslow has to scoop. Quinn doesn't plant his feet and comes over the top in his delivery
15) Short completion to Winslow on a drag. Not enough for the first down on third-and-4. Field goal, then halftime.
16) Play action, backdoor slant to Edwards on first down. Wide open, good throw (a bit low) in stride, solid gain. Good play call and execution.
17) Checkdown pass to the fullback for minimal gain on second-and-9.
18) Very nice. Quinn avoids the rush and has Stallworth on a double drag across the middle. Hits him in stride and gets about 15 because of YAC. Short throw but good awareness. I like the design and the play call: Heiden picks off the middle backer for Stallworth.
19) First down, play action, dangerous throw to a double-covered Edwards, who was not open against Dre' Bly on the cross. Bad decision and timing.
20) Mistimed throw to Winslow on an out route on third-and-long. Similar play to the second touchdown, but Quinn is rushed this time. Throw was early and off-target. Browns kick a field goal.
21) Short-armed incomplete pass to Edwards on a flat route. I don't think Quinn sets his feet right here.
22) Another first down completion on third-and-long. Winslow is single-covered over the middle and Quinn sees it the whole way. Tipped ball behind Winslow, who reaches back for it and gets YAC.
23) Play-action, I formation pass to the halfback in the middle of the field for six easy yards on first down.
24) Safe completion to Heiden on an out route on second-and-long. Odd play design: Heiden and Winslow run duel, staggered out-routes on the same side of the field.
A fine play gets called back. Quinn rolls right away from the blitz and hits Edwards on a deep crossing route to convert a third-and medium. Very good throw, and the rollout gave him a throwing lane. Pass interference on Winslow negates the play. The turning point of the game, in retrospect.
25) Receiver screen on third-and-long. Punt.
26) Throw away. The Browns try to run the play that got Stallworth open in the first quarter, except with Winslow crossing behind the line. The Broncos sniff it out.
27) Very good read and throw to Winslow on a slant to convert a third-and-9, but Winslow fumbles. Good play from a Quinn scouting standpoint because he throws on time and target.
28) The Browns are suddenly trailing. Bad throw. Even Stallworth doesn't know if he was the intended receiver, though he got his hands on the ball. I think Quinn was looking for Winslow running a corner route behind Stallworth, but the throw was low and early.
29) Simple little completion to Winslow on second-and-long. Winslow turns a dig route upfield for serious YAC. The Browns like to run one or two receivers up the field and have Winslow work underneath them. It works again here, with Heiden throwing another little pick. Quinn made a nice read, easy throw.
30) Great awareness on second-and-long. Quinn has nothing downfield after a play action fake, steps up, and tosses to Jamal Lewis on a short angle route. Lewis has a mile to run. Easy throw, but good pocket presence and a smart decision with the ball.
31) Play-action backdoor slant to Stallworth, similar to an earlier play. Good mechanics, execution. Throw is a bit behind Stallworth but it is a tight spot where Quinn can't lead him. Stopped at the goal line. Touchdown run two plays later.
32) This is prevent/hurry up time. Quinn buys time and hits Winslow near the sideline for nine yards.
33) A high, throwaway incompletion along the sidelines. Quinn gets pressured by a four-man rush.
34) Short-hopped incompletion over the middle on third-and-1. Should be an easy throw, but Quinn comes over the top with his delivery.
35) Ballgame. Quinn delivers a very catchable throw to Winslow in fourth and short. It goes through Winslow's hands.
Conclusion: Quinn had a strong game against a poor defense. He did everything he needed to do to win. His mechanics were inconsistent but good for the most part. He handled the pass rush very well. He forced some passes, but he also made sound reads and was able to set up defenders. It was a very good outing, a B+ effort that should encourage Browns fans.