The Cleveland Browns used the bye week to their advantage to tighten up the play of their defense.
Defensive coordinator Joe Woods worked with his team, and they improved in certain facets of the game.
The hard work paid off in the Week 10 victory over the Houston Texans against dual-threat QB Deshaun Watson.
After the Texans game, Coach Stefanski commented on the play of his defense.
“For our defense to play and hold them the way we did … It was not going to be easy. I thought our defense did a really nice job today and forced some punts.”
The Browns D will need to play tough and clean in Week 11 against an opportune Eagles offense.
Since Myles Garrett tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be on the field on Sunday, the challenge just got bigger for Woods and his defense.
Myles Garrett currently leads the NFL in sacks with 9.5. The rest of the Cleveland Browns defense has 12.5 sacks.
No other quarterback has been sacked more times this season than Carson Wentz (35).
Obviously a huge sigh of relief for Wentz & Philly's offensive line. #PHIvsCLE
— WBG84 (@WBG84) November 20, 2020
Here are 3 things the Browns D employed last week that worked.
1. Improved Efficiency On 3rd and 4th Down Stops
The Browns have struggled to shut down opposing defenses on big 3rd and 4th down plays.
In 2020, opposing teams have converted 13 out of 15 4th down plays and nearly 50% of their 3rd down plays.
Practically every game in the first half of the season, the Browns gave up big 3rd and 4th down plays to keep drives going.
However, the Texans were only 7 for 14 on 3rd down and were stuffed on a key 4th down play.
Fourth-down stop 🛑💪
📺: @NFLonFOX pic.twitter.com/NzXLzlq1At
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 15, 2020
After the game, Myles Garrett talked about how the Browns defense did it.
“We had a lot of good blitzes, and we were able to get some pressure on (Watson) and caused him to throw some errant balls. It’s a testament to great play-calling and guys just rushing the passer well.”
2. Winning the battle at the Line of Scrimmage
Despite it being a cold and rainy day, the Browns defense did not allow the Texans to run all over them.
In fact, the Browns only allowed 90 yards rushing.
And their excellent play kept the Texans out of the end zone until late in the 4th quarter.
“They battled. I thought our defense really, really strained today.”
The Browns showed different looks on defense, weaving Sheldrick Redwine into the game more than in previous weeks.
With Redwine at high safety, Woods had Sendejo and Harrison hovering at the line of scrimmage.
3. Winning the game…even without forced turnovers
Prior to the Texans game, the Browns were 0-2 in games where they did not force a turnover.
Key turnovers did carry them to big wins early in the season, but the fact they won without one is a good sign.
Coach Stefanski commented on this:
“We are always going to be looking to take the ball away, and then there are moments where they do not present themselves…Credit to them in that we were not able to get one, but the ability to get off the field on third and fourth down is just so big.”
Without Garrett in the lineup, the Browns defense will need to do all of this and more to beat the Eagles in Sunday.
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