Jim Schwartz and his aggressive new defense have given Cleveland Browns fans plenty to cheer about so far.
But there was one play Monday night that might have caused some flashbacks to the Joe Woods era.
That was when Steelers receiver George Pickens snagged a pass and ran 71 yards untouched for a touchdown.
Fortunately, the Browns won’t give up that type of big play too often, according to PFF’s Steve Palazzolo.
Lowest Comp% allowed, 10+ yard throws
1. Falcons 23.5%
2. Browns 26.3
3. Cowboys 26.7
4. Saints 33.3
5. Chiefs 38.1
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) September 20, 2023
This season’s defense ranks among the best in denying pass plays of 10 yards or more.
Cleveland’s formidable secondary allows only a 26.3 percent completion rate on those throws.
Their improved pass rush plays a role as well, forcing quarterbacks to make quicker decisions.
In the first two games, the Browns defense has held opposing quarterbacks to an average QBR of 21.4.
Despite the 14 points given up by the Browns offense, Cleveland still ranks second in total points allowed.
And that kind of effort gives the team’s offense some time to get their operation going.
Schwartz’s plan of attack works against the most popular style of offense in the NFL.
Forcing passers to throw early lets his secondary and linebackers play tighter.
Grant Delpit comes up with the interception for the Browns 🙌pic.twitter.com/dspfVtzTpw
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 19, 2023
And it doesn’t give the QB much time to scan the field.
Kenny Pickens never saw Grant Delpit breaking back toward his receiver Monday night.
What looked like an easy slant pass became Delpit’s first interception of the season.
And Browns fans can expect to see more of that shutdown type of effort all season.