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Colts vs. Browns: Analyzing the Snap Counts (Defense)

Looking at the defensive snap counts in the Browns' 25-24 loss to the Colts.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns' defense brought their A-game against the Colts. Heading into the contest, Mike Pettine hinted that they had something unique brewed up for Andrew Luck, and it delivered better than expected. The 14 points that they scored, along with 4 total turnovers and continuously forcing good field position should've been good enough to win. We knew the Colts would eventually score, but all the defense needed was for Cleveland's offense to put together one good, second half drive. It never came. [Week 14 offensive snap counts for Cleveland can be found here]

Defensive Line
Desmond Bryant Billy Winn Ahtyba Rubin Ishmaa'ily Kitchen
Sione Fua
59/81 plays
47/81 plays
40/81 plays
17/81 plays
14/81 plays

Desmond Bryant: 1 assist (1 combined). 1 quarterback hit.
Billy Winn: 1 tackle, 1 assist (2 combined). 1 quarterback hit.
Ahtyba Rubin: 1 assist (1 combined). 2 quarterback hits.
Ish'maaily Kitchen: 2 assists (2 combined).
Sione Fua: No stats registered.

Thoughts: Every defensive unit played out of their minds against the Colts. Starting with the defensive line, four quarterback hits is pretty damn impressive. Billy Winn and Ishmaa'ily Kitchen flipped their snap count percentages this week, compared to the previous game.

Inside Linebacker
Craig Robertson Chris Kirksey Tank Carder
81/81 plays
40/81 plays
1/81 plays

Craig Robertson: 10 tackles, 2 assists (12 combined). 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass defended, 1 fumble recovery, 1 touchdown.
Chris Kirksey: 2 tackles, 1 assist (3 combined).
Tank Carder: No stats registered.

Thoughts: We have seen the emergence of Craig Robertson since Karlos Dansby's injury, and it's enough to warrant full-time playing status once Dansby returns and even for next season.

Outside Linebacker
Paul Kruger Barkevious Mingo Jabaal Sheard Eric Martin
76/81 plays
59/81 plays
27/81 plays
1/81 plays

Paul Kruger: 1 tackle (1 combined). 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 2 quarterback hits, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery.
Barkevious Mingo: 1 tackle, 1 assist (2 combined). 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 5 quarterback hits, 1 pass defended.
Jabaal Sheard: 1 quarterback hit.
Eric Martin: No stats registered.

Thoughts: We all know that Paul Kruger got screwed on his sack. I will take a step back and defend the officials, though -- if you are watching that in live motion, it looks as if Kruger hits Andrew Luck in the head with his helmet. These personal foul penalties should be a must for reviews next season. Barkevious Mingo also played arguably his best game as a Brown with five quarterback hits on Luck. Jabaal Sheard's reps remained relatively low as he still recovers from his foot injury...or maybe the coaching staff is impressed enough with Mingo now to make him the new starter.

Joe Haden Buster Skrine Justin Gilbert
K'Waun Williams
80/81 plays
80/81 plays
49/81 plays
26/81 plays

Joe Haden: 4 tackles (4 combined). 2 passes defended, 1 forced fumble.
Buster Skrine: 4 tackles, 1 assist (5 combined). 3 passes defended.
Justin Gilbert: 3 tackles, 1 assist (4 combined). 1 pass defended, 1 interception, 1 touchdown.
K'Waun Williams: 1 tackle, 2 assists (3 combined). 1 pass defended.

Thoughts: As a team, the Browns had 12 passes defended. It's a shame that the one time Joe Haden slipped, he was beat for a 40+ yard touchdown by T.Y. Hilton. Besides that, he had another great game. Buster Skrine's fourth quarter pass interference call looked very questionable. Justin Gilbert was beat a few times when replacing the injured K'Waun Williams, but he trapped Luck for a pick six. Gilbert did the same thing against Matt Ryan a few weeks ago and had a pass deflection.

Donte Whitner Jim Leonhard
Jordan Poyer
81/81 plays
80/81 plays
32/81 plays

Donte Whitner: 2 tackles, 4 assists (6 combined). 2 passes defended.
Jim Leonhard: 4 tackles, 2 assists (6 combined). 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 quarterback hit, 1 interception, 1 pass defended (also an INT on a two-point try).
Jordan Poyer: 1 tackle (1 combined).

Thoughts: It's a shame that we wasted such a complete effort defensively, especially from Jim Leonhard, who played the game of his life and has filled in for Tashaun Gipson better than anyone could have anticipated. The one defensive regret I have is that I wish Donte Whitner would have been able to stop Boom Herron before his first down spin move on the Colts' final touchdown drive.