Dawgs Defense continues to hold running backs to under one-hundred yards rushing
The Cleveland Browns’ offensive output has resembled an electrocardiogram monitor: down in Week One, slightly up in Week Two, down again in Week Three, now, back up in impressive fashion in Week Four. It seems that, now, Head Coach and head play-caller Freddie Kitchens has found the mojo that got him the HC job in the first place. The offense took a major step upward, so the next step up needs to be consistency.
The Browns decisively beat the Baltimore Ravens 40-25 Sunday at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. While the game was competitive throughout, a back-breaking 88-yard touchdown run by Nick Chubb in the fourth quarter sealed the deal for a dominant day. That run in particular proved the offense, especially the offensive line, is getting better. On that play, lineman Eric Kush and JC Tretter pulled beautifully into the hole. They did not need to pancake their men; they simply created enough of a crease for Chubb (who, coincidentally was clocked at almost 22 m.p.h. on that run) to house the rock.
Chubb was not the only player to have a big day. Although superstar wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., was not a huge factor, his best friend, Jarvis Landry, had a huge day before leaving the game due to concussion protocol. Landry had 167 yards catching on eight attempts. Despite completing 75% of his passes, Quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 342 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, looking better than he had in previous games. Even Tight End Ricky Seals-Jones, who literally walked off the street and into Berea this week, got into the act by catching 83 total yards and one touchdown, including a wide open 59 yard strike that set the Browns up for a score.
The only consistent play this first quarter-season has been the defense. The Dawgs Defense, for the third straight game, held running backs to under one-hundred yards rushing. As impressive as that is, what is even more impressive is it, essentially, held two running backs under one-hundred yards. Considering the Ravens offense employs Quarterback Lamar Jackson as just as much of a runner as a thrower, the Browns defense stonewalled the Ravens’ offensive line, bottling up two explosive runners in Jackson and All-Pro Running Back Mark Ingram II. Ingram only ran for 71 yards, while Jackson ran for only 66. Jackson did toss 247 yards and three touchdowns, but he also tossed three picks and was sacked four times, making his day rather plebeian.
The much criticized offense showed its true potential this week. Because of OBJ’s lack of input in the game, some fans might not feel this was a perfect game. However, if you consider that the only reason why Seals-Jones was so wide open was because of OBJ being double-teamed, or, by playing soft coverages, Chubb was able to get to the next level of the defense and fly past them, OBJ impacted the game without really doing anything. The Ravens’ defense was so intimidated by OBJ that their plan was to simply get him emotionally out of the game. He did commit a personal foul against cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who was goading OBJ all game. Ironically, Humphrey returned the favor by choking OBJ on the ground obviously in front of a referee without a penalty. The once intimidating Ravens defense was finally being intimidated by the Browns, so much so that Earl Thomas admitted he gave up on Chubb’s big running play in fear that he might blow his hamstring out again on a chase down tackle.
While the Browns’ offense made a big jump toward potential, the next jump should hopefully be to sustainability.