Going into the 2022 NFL season, the hope for the Cleveland Browns was that their defense and run game could keep the team afloat until QB Deshaun Watson was back on the field. Through eight weeks, the Browns have played well enough to have won five or six games but, instead, are 3-5.
Instead of being carried by the defense, it (along with special teams) has let the team down over and over again. While DE Myles Garrett has been the best player in the NFL, per PFF, the defense as a whole has struggled.
On the other side of the ball, the run game has been exactly what was expected. Nick Chubb leads the NFL in rushing and the offensive line, despite replacing two starting centers, continues to be elite. In terms of DVOA (a catch-all statistic), Cleveland has the best-run game in the league by a significant margin.
The surprise comes from the passing attack. The Browns have the tenth-best passing DVOA ahead of the Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals, to name a few.
Combined, Cleveland is tied for the fifth-best offensive DVOA in the league along with their next opponent, the Miami Dolphins:
The best offenses by DVOA so far pic.twitter.com/Doa4Cspyvz— Football Outsiders (@fboutsiders) November 2, 2022
The Browns offense moved up from 8th last week.
Unfortunately, due to the defense’s ranking down at 27, Cleveland’s overall DVOA drops them to ninth in the NFL. Only three AFC teams, including AFC North foe Baltimore, rank higher.
The Browns need to get it done on the field over the next few weeks to make Watson’s return meaningful but their DVOA and point differential share a story of a quality team in 2022 despite the defensive struggle. The run game and Jacoby Brissett-led passing offense deserve a lot of credit.
Are you surprised that the passing offense ranks so highly?