The story of Week 1 was the Cleveland Browns making the Cincinnati Bengals look silly. While the Bengals took their second loss in Week 2, that doesn’t minimize how great DE Myles Garrett and company looked to open the season.
The hope for the Browns is that the dominance runs more than one week, especially with WR Amari Cooper likely to miss the game.
The pure counting stats were enough to laud compliment after compliment onto Cleveland’s defense run by Jim Schwartz:
- 3 points given up
- Joe Burrow not even throwing for 100 yards
- 2 sacks, 10 QB hits, 4 tackles for loss
- Joe Mixon just 56 yards rushing even with a 22-yard run
The highlights are a lot of fun as well:
think Za'Darius Smith was ready to rock on his first play of the season? pic.twitter.com/VaZEjmJp21— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) September 11, 2023
#Browns— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) September 11, 2023
Excellent game plan from DC Jim Schwartz.
Heat-up the pocket with multiple fronts, blitzes, stunts. And challenge the WRs on the perimeter.
Burrow was forced to move, re-set and throw vs. pressure.
CLE blitz rate vs. CIN = 41.2%. pic.twitter.com/2VHqEoQP6S
Dalvin Tomlinson beating his man so bad, guard couldn't help. Nice play by Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah dipping underneath the guard to make the tackle.— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) September 11, 2023
This CLE front looks legit pic.twitter.com/2HdR4cFowQ
On top of the highlights, the data behind the defense also shows exactly what we thought we saw from the defensive line, dominance:
the Browns defense had an average time to pressure of 1.95 seconds against the Bengals in Week 1.— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) September 11, 2023
this is tied for the 6th-fastest average time to pressure by a defense in a single game since the start of the 2019 season, via @TruMediaSports.
They PREACH Get-Off in Philly. There’s a reason they led league in sacks last year. pic.twitter.com/NlEpPgGfug— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) September 11, 2023
More on the Browns' defensive transformation under Jim Schwartz, via the folks at @NextGenStats: After using zone on 82.7% of dropbacks vs. CIN in '22, CLE bumped up man coverage to 36.4% Sunday. The results speak for themselves (that edge-rushing tandem ain't bad, either). pic.twitter.com/VgHBYzLT7Y— Nick Shook (@TheNickShook) September 12, 2023
As seen above, the creativity with which Schwartz deployed his defense was greatly helpful in confusing the Bengals. Garrett, for example, was lined up as an inside linebacker:
Browns DE Myles Garrett had four snaps rushing from inside linebacker.— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) September 11, 2023
Garrett had only 21 inside linebacker snaps in his previous six seasons.
New DC Jim Schwartz
Now, Browns fans hope the defense can keep it going in Week 2 on Monday Night Football but an extra day to enjoy last week is fun for now.