The Cleveland Browns face a tall task on Sunday when they face the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.
The Dolphins come into the game as the league’s top-ranked offense in passing yards and tied for first in yards per attempt, third in passing touchdowns, tops in offensive passing DVOA and second overall in offensive DVOA. And if that was not enough, Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is Pro Football Focuses’ highest-graded passer and leads the NFL in passer rating, all according to cleveland.com.
Tagovailoa is putting up those numbers while hitting wide receivers Tyreek Hill (a league-high 1,104 receiving yards) and Jaylen Waddle (fifth in receiving yards with 812) and feasting on passes of 10 yards or more in the middle of the field.
While that is a lot for Cleveland’s defense to worry about, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt had a different take on Thursday when he met with the media.
Van Pelt believes that as long as Cleveland’s offense takes care of business then the Browns don’t have anything to fear (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“They have to match us, as well. We plan to score every time we touch the ball and we go out on the field. Really don’t pay a lot of attention other than what the score is at that point. I rarely watch an offensive series for the other team. We are over there trying to figure out what the next drive holds for us. We feel that with our offense, we want to possess the ball, drive and score touchdowns and not really concerned about the other side.
“We always try to go in with that mindset. We do want to start fast. We have done well when we have started fast, but we have to contain that throughout the game. We have to gain speed as we go on and finish strong at the end. That is kind of the point of emphasis for us this week. We do need to score. Obviously, that is a good offense we are facing. We know that. I feel like if we play up to our potential, we will be able to do what we need to do offensively.”
It may be hard to see the Browns winning a shootout with the Dolphins, but Van Pelt does make a good point that the Browns should be able to put pressure on the Dolphins.
#Browns OC Alex Van Pelt said one conclusion during the bye week self-scout was to get to third-and-6 or less more often. That's because Cleveland ranks No. 1 in the league in offensive efficiency, No. 1 in QBR and 7th in first-down conversion rate on third-and-6 or less.— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) November 10, 2022
They may not have as many highlight plays as Miami, but Cleveland’s offense is averaging 25 points per game vs. 23.7 for the Dolphins. In addition, Miami is allowing 24.9 points a game, is at No. 19 in rushing yards allowed and has allowed 11 rushing touchdowns – which puts them basically on par with the Browns and that means there should be points to be had if the Browns can take care of business.
That is easier said than done, of course, when it comes to the Browns. But while everyone is wondering how Cleveland’s defense will slow down Miami’s offensive attack, it may turn out that the Browns offense was the real threat all along.