Olivier Vernon, take a bow. You had been no person’s understudy on this efficiency, appearing very very similar to the star of the present.
CLEVELAND — Out of the blue the Browns protection is stealing the present — and this time it occurred with their main man on the COVID reserve listing. Sunday’s 22-17 win towards the Philadelphia Eagles was a pleasant mix of a succesful offense that had the proper mixture of run and go, and an opportunistic protection that wished to show they might nonetheless placed on a present with out Myles Garrett.
Olivier Vernon, take a bow. You had been no person’s understudy on this efficiency, appearing very very similar to the star of the present. Vernon registered three sacks of the NFL’s favourite tackling dummy this yr, Eagles QB Carson Wentz. Poor man regarded like a piñata at a birthday celebration for triplets. Adrian Clayborn performed a pleasant supporting position attending to Wentz twice, sharing one among them with Larry Ogunjobi. In the event you had the Browns getting 5 sacks of Wentz Sunday with no Myles Garrett, I guess you had been at Municipal Stadium for Len Barker’s excellent sport.
The paid attendance for the gem was 7,290, however I’ve met about 15,000 followers who insist they had been there. Regardless that Wentz is essentially the most sacked quarterback within the NFL this yr, nobody thought he’d go down 5 occasions towards the Browns. However this protection seems to have turned a nook. After being one essentially the most beneficiant defenses within the NFL via the primary seven video games, one thing has occurred over the last three video games. The protection that was gashed to the tune of 27 factors per sport via its first seven video games, has not allowed an opponent greater than 17 factors over its final three video games. The Raiders scored 16. The Texans put up 7. The Eagles scored 17, however the first landing was the results of a one play, 19-yard drive after a fumble, and the second landing was towards the Browns stop protection in rubbish time.
The Browns have practically reduce their factors per sport allowed in half over the previous three video games. The Eagles and the Texans offenses are clearly challenged, however the Raiders can rating factors. Positive, the terrible climate in every of the final three video games helped, however this protection is exhibiting progress and promise. They’ll should be significantly better of their round-two video games vs. the Steelers and Ravens. And talking of the Ravens, when was the final time they had been under the Browns within the AFC North standings after 10 video games? I’ll assist. It was 2007. In truth, it’s solely occurred twice. 2007 and 2002 and the Browns would end forward of Baltimore on the finish of each of these seasons.
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This win to get to 7-Three wasn’t simply concerning the protection. The offense, though not excellent by any means, got here in with the fitting mindset. Kevin Stefanski is shortly studying tips on how to name performs within the slop. The Browns threw the soccer simply 22 occasions in comparison with 40 working performs. So long as they’re not down just a few scores early, that needs to be the combination with this expertise and in these circumstances. Kareem Hunt struggled to discover a groove, however once more we see that should you maintain feeding Nick Chubb, it’s solely a matter of time earlier than he breaks the protection’s will. Earlier than you already know it, he’s over the century mark. Chubb’s 114 yards on 20 carries would have been unremarkable if not for his sport lengthy 54-yard run that arrange Hunt’s landing. By the best way, how humorous was it watching Baker Mayfield chug together with Chubb on that play? Good ethical assist. However that’s the factor with Chubb, he wears you down, one physique blow after one other, after which wham. The knockout blow to the top drops the protection to its knees. A participant like that’s uncommon in right this moment’s NFL, however he’s a commodity and the recipe for any Tremendous Bowl run features a participant like Nick Chubb.
Talking of Tremendous Bowl runs, week 10 was good to the Browns of their quest to make the playoffs. The Ravens, Dolphins and Raiders all misplaced, easing the AFC log jam that was bunched collectively at 6-3. The Browns went from outdoors of the playoff image, to a wildcard spot. It’s nonetheless early, however the Ravens play the Steelers on Thanksgiving night time and the Browns have the 1-9 Jaguars on Sunday. Favorable outcomes in each would give the Browns a two-game lead over the Ravens with 5 video games to go. Nonetheless loads of soccer to be performed, however you’d slightly be the Browns than the Ravens in that situation.
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Different notables from the win over the Eagles embrace Baker Mayfield, KhaDarel Hodge, Rashard Higgins and Austin Hooper on offense. The triple H go catchers every had Three receptions, with Hodge main the best way with a profession greatest 77 yards. Hodge was the step up man within the absence of Odell Beckham Jr. Higgins continues to be a serious goal of Mayfield, who was a pleasant and quiet 12-22 for 204 yards, however most significantly no interceptions. That’s a three-game stretch with out a decide for Mayfield, simply the second time he’s performed that in his three-year profession.
Defensively, the younger linebackers Mack Wilson and Sione TakiTaki are exhibiting good progress. Wilson completed with 4 tackles and TakiTaki added three to go together with his profession spotlight thus far, the decide six for the Browns first factors. And the way concerning the effort of third yr cornerback Denzel Ward? Of all his spectacular feats within the win, nothing was extra spectacular than bouncing again from a phantom and horrible go interference name solely to intercept Wentz deep inside Browns territory on the very subsequent play. Gamer! And let’s shoutout Andrew Sendejo. I do know he’s been the goal of many Browns followers’ screams this season, however as soon as once more he led the workforce with seven tackles and all the time appears to be across the soccer.
Including all the transferring elements from the week 11 win collectively, right here’s what we’ve got. The Browns are an excellent soccer workforce. They’re studying to win video games that previously they by no means did. Sure, their schedule has been straightforward, however they’re beating the groups they’re speculated to beat. Their losses are to a 10-Zero workforce and a pair of 6-4’s. Are they an incredible workforce, or perhaps a actually good workforce? No. Not but. However they’re actually trending in that path, and given what we’ve all needed to endure over the previous few many years, it is a enjoyable and nice various.
IT’S HOW YOU START: The Browns 7-Three document is the workforce’s greatest 10-game begin since going 8-2 to open the 1994 season. The 5-1 house document is the perfect for the Browns since beginning 5-1 in 2007.
TURNOVER GOLD: When the Browns win the turnover battle they’re an ideal 7-Zero on the season. The Browns 17 takeaways is second within the NFL this season.
WELCOME TO CLE, KEV: Kevin Stefanski is 7-Three in his first season as an NFL head coach. That’s the greatest document for any new coach this season. It’s the greatest mark for a Browns rookie head coach since Bud Carson additionally began 7-Three in 1989. The one different time a Browns head coach began his profession 5-1 at house, 1946, the nice Paul Brown.
IN THE NICK OF TIME: Nick Chubb went greater than 3,000 profession yards along with his 114 speeding yards in Sunday’s win. His eight rushes of not less than 20 yards leads the NFL. His two carries over 50 yards can also be tops within the NFL. Chubb now has 15 100-yard video games in his profession. That leads all gamers since 2018.
BAKER’S DOZEN: Sunday was Baker’s 13th win as a starter at FirstEnergy Stadium, tying Bernie Kosar for essentially the most house wins via the primary three years of his profession.
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