After a 16-3 halftime lead, Cleveland capped the night off with a 23-3 victory to begin this season knotted at 1-1. There were many great plays, and not so great plays.
OBJ’s special talents: Odell Beckham Jr.’s one-handed grab in the first quarter was a tremendous catch under tight coverage. On his touchdown catch in the third quarter, the best part was when he faked to the right and then cut to the left side of the field, which basically took the only man who could tackle him, free safety Marcus Maye, totally out of the play.
Beckham’s six receptions for 161 yards equate to a 26.8 average. Anyone who is still not pleased with the trade for OBJ is a liar. Not a bad night even without the watch and the dark shield.
Myles Garrett: At times, defensive end Myles Garrett seemed almost unblockable. Jets left tackle Kelvin Beachum had no answer all night long for Garrett’s speed and first step. Bringing tight end Ryan Griffin over at times to chip did not help much. Garrett ended the night with three sacks, five tackles and three tackles for loss, but his constant presence in the backfield dominated the line.
Cleveland’s linebackers: Christian Kirksey, Joe Schobert and, at times, Mack Wilson made play after play all night long.
In the third quarter when the Jets went for a fourth-and-two at the Browns 12-yard-line, cornerback Greedy Williams hit running back Le’Veon Bell first, but it was Schobert who put the knock-back tackle on Bell who appeared ready to lunge forward for the first down.
Facing a third-and-11 for the Jets in the fourth quarter with 13:40 left, Bell caught a screen pass and then broke four tackles while reversing his field. It was Kirksey who brought him down just short of the marker to force yet another punt.
Finally, it was Schobert’s hit which forced Bell’s fumble late in the fourth quarter and eliminated the Jets’ best scoring opportunity. Schobert finished with 13 tackles.
Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks: To say that Wilks called a stellar game is an understatement. At times, he had eight players in the box with man-on-man on the two solo receivers outside. Wilks blitzed a fifth or sixth man all night long, which created a Jets offense who had dismal yards in the first half.
Other formations included a 4-2-5, 4-1-6 and, at times, the standard 4-3. The Browns pass rush dominated this game.
Kicking game: Punter Jamie Gillan routinely placed the ball inside the 20-yard line (four total), helping to keep the field position game in the Browns favor. Kicker Austin Seibert was true on all of three of his field goal attempts, connecting from 43 yards, 48 yards and 23 yards.
Two rookie kickers was a huge risk that head coach Freddie Kitchens took, and it seems to be paying off.
Solid Unies: The white jersey with matching pants and socks was a very clean look. But the most impressive aspect was the fact that the numerals were orange with a slight brown dropshade instead of a solid brown number. The continuation of the orange really compliments the orange helmet.
Also impressive were the Jets’ all-black uniform with the darker forest green color variation. The only thing missing from the Browns uniforms was the Bernie Kosar-era white facemasks.
Clock management at the end of the first half: A refreshing part of the Browns night was how the first half concluded.
The Jets got the ball with 57 seconds remaining and on first down Bell ran up the middle for only two yards. Sensing New York would simply run out the clock, Kitchens called a time out. This forced the Jets to try and get a first down and quarterback Luke Falk then threw an incomplete pass, which saved a time out. With five yards tacked on for delay of game, on third down, Bell was stopped for no gain and forced a punt with the Browns now having the ball with 35 seconds remaining.
On third down and 20 from midfield, quarterback Baker Mayfield hit Jarvis Landry for 25 yards and a first down with no timeouts left. The entire Browns offense sprinted up 25 yards to the line for Mayfield’s spike, which gave Seibert the opportunity to kick his third field goal and up the lead to 16-3.
Offense run game: Except for Nick Chubb’s 19-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, the run game did not get anywhere all night. Holes to either side never quite formulated because blockers were not moving their men out of harm’s way and just using arm pushes instead of drive blocks. Seventy rushing yards for a game is not going to beat the better teams in the league, just the lousy ones. Going into this game, the Jets were 24th against the run.
Offensive line pass blocking: Mayfield made a third of his pass attempts scrambling out of the pocket frequently. When he did have time to throw in the pocket, wonderful things happened, such as Beckham’s touchdown reception. The rightside in particular with right guard Eric Kush and right tackle Chris Hubbard was a jailbreak on many passing downs.
Right tackle Chris Hubbard: Chris Hubbard could not contain Jets defensive end Leonard Williams for most of the night. On one play, a cornerback blitzed with Williams stunting toward the middle, and Hubbard just kept following Williams instead of staying in his area and letting Williams go to take on the blitzer.
When Mayfield would have to pop out and run into the flats to throw, it was usually Hubbard’s man who would start this process. With 10:41 remaining in the fourth quarter, Chubb took a pitch from Mayfield on a toss sweep behind Hubbard, who had two Jets to choose to block and chose to block neither.
Myles Garrett: As a premier defensive end in the National Football League, you have to be aware that the league wants every single one of its member clubs to have every single one of its quarterbacks available each week. That is why there are special rules in today’s NFL designed to protect quarterbacks – make that numerous rules to protect the quarterback.
And one of those rules is as soon as the ball has left the signal caller’s hand he is no longer a target and can be bumped, but not tackled. The defensive player in pursuit of a quarterback has to make a reasonable effort to avoid hitting the passer.
Garrett’s two roughing the passer calls were just plain stupid and hurt the defense each time. He could have incurred a third such penalty on the Bell reverse field screen on third-string quarterback Luke Falk that thankfully was not called. It is going to be an expensive week for Garrett.