The story of Week 1 for the Cleveland Browns was just how dominant the defense was. DEs Myles Garrett and Za’Darius Smith were a powerful duo but the entire defensive line and the secondary controlled the game and kept the Cincinnati Bengals stymied all day long.
When discussing the Browns offense, concerns about QB Deshaun Watson were the primary topic. While RB Nick Chubb looked like his same elite self, Watson’s stat line (and some of his passes) were pedestrian: 16 of 29 for 154 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception (on a tipped ball).
Watson did have a few well-placed throws and added 45 yards on five carries including a rushing touchdown.
Looking at Cleveland’s DVOA, the defense was ranked second overall for Week 1 and the team, overall, was the third-best in the league. The Browns offense ended up 10th best at 12.9%. DVOA is a data metric that measures how a team performs throughout a game compared to the league average.
DVOA wasn’t the only sign that the offense played well:
#Browns had 17 offensive plays of 10+ yards on Sunday, which was third in the NFL for week one. Only Miami and Los Angeles had more.— Brad Stainbrook (@StainbrookNFL) September 13, 2023
In many ways, Cleveland’s offense was big plays and Chubb (who made some of the big plays). That helped keep the offense on the field and gave the defense even more time to relax. The Browns were top 10 in at least getting one first down on drives with just 21% going 3-and-out while Cincinnati was the worst:
% of drives that went 3-and-out:— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 12, 2023
67% - CIN
64% - IND
62% - PHI
58% - NYG
55% - PIT
55% - MIN
54% - ATL
53% - JAX
50% - TB
50% - TEN
46% - NE
44% - SEA
42% - CAR
36% - BUF
36% - KC
36% - ARI
36% - DET
33% - CHI
33% - HOU
33% - DAL
31% - WAS
30% - LAC
27% - GB
27% - NYJ
25% - SF…
Along with Chubb, the offensive line gets a lot of credit in pass protection despite some obvious pressures:
Aggregated pass protection measures from 3 sources.— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) September 13, 2023
Honestly this mostly checks out, though the ratings for PIT are all over the place.
The teams with 100 in the "SIS" column are teams with zero charted blown blocks
(BUF/NYJ not shown bc no data yet) pic.twitter.com/HWBqjqnABB
It was far from perfect in Week 1 but Cleveland’s offense put up 350 total net yards in a strange weather game that made Joe Burrow look like a QB that should be cut soon.
It must get better for the Browns passing game with Watson but the team is so talented and Kevin Stefanski is able to scheme up plays in a way that it didn’t matter in Week 1 as they were still productive.
Are you surprised all the numbers point to a good offensive game from the Browns compared to the rest of the NFL? Share your thoughts below in the comment section