The Cleveland Browns continue to show signs of improvement, being selfless and…….looking like a team? Is that possible? Right here on the Broulis Beat Report.
Ask and you shall receive. I guess that is the case when I’m talking about the Browns. Last week, I talked about some improvements I’d like to see the Browns make from the previous week. One of those was the penalties. Last year, Cleveland was haunted by penalties and there was a major lack of discipline on the team. Sunday against Washington, the Browns were once again under 10. Try six penalties. Again, not perfect, but so much better than the 10 plus penalties that occurred so often last year.
Next, how about the turnovers? Cleveland committed zero turnovers in their win over Washington. Yes, that means that quarterback Baker Mayfield didn’t throw any interceptions and it was a clean game on the offensive side of things. Meanwhile, Washington turned the ball over five times. Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. threw three picks and lost a fumble.
The Browns scored 21 points off turnovers and that’s something Cleveland will have to do all season long if they want to be successful. This defense isn’t the most talented and they don’t scream dominance on the field. They must force turnovers and give the offense a short field to work with. Cleveland isn’t going to be in the top ten of overall defenses this season, but they can be in the top ten in forced turnovers.
Baker Mayfield was sacked twice, but considering Washington leads the NFL in sacks, that is a good thing. The Washington defenders that were really doing a good job at getting to Mayfield were Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Montez Sweat and Chase Young. During the first half, Chase young went out with a groin injury.
I was once again really impressed with rookie Jedrick Wills jr. at left tackle for Cleveland. He had a few penalties early in the game, but that was it. If he can survive what Washington threw at him Sunday afternoon, he can handle the best. And the same goes for the rest of the Browns offensive line. What a great job of run blocking they did and the pass blocking wasn’t bad either.
This offense is slowly starting to look like the offense that head coach Kevin Stefanski both talked about and wanted all off-season. Mayfield only threw the ball 23 times!! Yes, you read that correctly, 23 times! When Browns fans see a stat like that for Baker, it’s a great thing. Thus far, Baker’s QBR has improved each week. Of the 16 completions from Mayfield, two of those went for touchdowns. After the game, Mayfield thanked his teammates for how they played and said that he didn’t play well. Sounds like Baker is staying humble and giving all the credit to his teammates.
I talked last week about the running game being the strength of this team on offense. Once again, Nick Chubb did his part. Chubb rushed for 108 YDS and two really nice runs that went for TDs.
Cleveland looked like a team that might be finding themselves. Another thing that I really liked was WR Odell Beckham talking about how he wants Nick Chubb to be the best RB in the NFL and if that means his stats take a hit, it’s worth it. I really liked hearing that. Right now, this offense is showing balance and the Browns played complimentary football on Sunday.
Up next, the Browns travel to Dallas and will play the Cowboys. While the Cowboys can score with the best of them, their defense is nothing to write home about. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott leads the NFL in passing yards with 1,188. On defense, defensive end Aldon Smith leads the NFL in sacks with 4. As a team, the Cowboys lead the league in total yards per game with 490 and passing yards per game with 383 yards. On defense, Dallas gives up a lot of total yards per game with 404 yards. That’s 25th in the league. For a team that has Ezekiel Elliot, the Cowboys aren’t even in the top 20 in the NFL in rushing.
Cleveland must avoid getting into a shootout with Dallas. That’s not how this game will be won. Force Dak into making mistakes and run the ball as much as possible.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick Broulis