I cackled when I saw this:
Not that I didn't trust Dustin, but I just had to go back and look. Sure enough, the Browns somehow managed to fail to score on third-and-1 against a defense with just 10 men. Let's go back and analyze what went wrong.
On second down, the Raiders sent out 11 men:
The Browns tried a play-action pass, which Browns TE Gary Barnidge dropped, although he may not have gotten into the end zone anyway. We see some players scramble off, and some players scramble on, and sure enough, the Raiders line up with 10 men:
But the Browns never seem to notice they're going against just 10 guys. Josh McCown briefly looks up and points out how the linebackers are aligned, but the Browns plan a run up the middle and end up running the ball up the middle.
When you literally have more players on the field than the other team, a run up the middle is pretty much the worst option. You should try to spread as far as you can so the undermanned team has to cover the entirety of the field. Running up the middle is agreeing to fight the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae.
But the Browns break the huddle too late and don't really have the right personnel to spread the field out. They're kinda stuck with a run up the middle.
But they should still be able to succeed. This is how the Browns stacked the box on first and second down:
That's five down linemen, plus outside linebackers Khalil Mack (#52) and Aldon Smith (#99) as edge rushers for seven total players on the line of scrimmage. There's also a safety playing about a yard off the line and three inside linebackers. That's 11 in the box.
Look at how empty their third down set looks by comparison:
This front has three less defenders in it than the first two plays. There are now just three down linemen plus Smith and Mack for a total of five guys on the line of scrimmage, and there are only two inside linebackers. That ends up being a regular 3-4 front. There are two defensive backs out of the frame, and a safety off the line of scrimmage, leaving eight in the box instead of 11. Judging from the fact that there are so many fewer players up front than there were in the previous two plays, I'm guessing the missing player was meant to be a down lineman or linebacker.
So there's probably a missing guy up front, which means a run up the middle should be just fine. The Browns have eight blockers. There are eight Raiders defenders in the box. The Browns probably should be able to put their eight blockers against their eight defenders for long enough for the running back to get a single yard.
They do not:
Somehow the Browns turn an 11-on-10 advantage into their' RB getting gang-tackled by four Raiders. That's bad!
It looks like this play is supposed to go to the left:
The fullback, Malcolm Johnson, blocks to the left, and McCown's handoff is on the left side. If he were to follow that fullback to the left, it looks like he might have free passage into the end zone.
But the gap on the right was so large, Crowell couldn't ignore it. He runs into the gap on the right side:
Unfortunately for him, Raiders LB Curtis Lofton (#50) is lurking outside of that gap, completely unblocked. Lofton clogs the gap, and Crowell is doomed.
How did the Browns turn an advantage into a deficit? They're double-teaming two people: One is Khalil Mack on the left edge, who has two tight ends blocking him even though he's nowhere near where the play is going. The second is the guy in the middle of the Raiders' defense, #98, C.J. Wilson: Browns center Alex Mack picks him up off the snap, and fullback Malcolm Johnson runs to the left and picks him up.
Those two double teams leave nobody to block Lofton. And then the play's dead.
I wonder if the enormous open spot Crowell runs into was created by the void left by missing 11th defender. It's possible that he was lured to certain doom by the Raiders' own screw up.
On fourth down, the Browns attempted to go for it from the 1, but had a false start, pushing them back to the 6. They ended up kicking a field goal to make the score 10-3.
At the end of the game, the Browns trail 27-20 approaching field-goal range. If they'd been able to get a touchdown from a yard away against a defense without the right amount of players, a field goal would've been enough to tie. Instead, they need a TD. McCown forces a deep pass, which is picked off and the Browns lose.
Let this be a guide. If you cannot score against a defense with fewer players and from 1 yard away, you do not deserve to win. The Browns could not, and they did not.