The Cleveland Browns entered the season with plenty of hope and expectations about their offense.
Having Deshaun Watson leading the way could be just what this team needed to turn the corner and become a legitimate contender, especially after watching the way Amari Cooper had performed last season.
Nick Chubb was obviously one of the best — if not the best — running backs in the league, and they added some playmakers and speedsters to give this team another offensive layer.
Then again, from the very first game of the year, even when both Watson and Chubb were at full strength, the defense took over and proved that this was their team.
That’s why it wasn’t a surprise to see them set a 13-year-old mark in the league.
According to PFF CLE Browns on Twitter, the Browns’ defense allowed the fewest first downs since 2010 (247).
The Cleveland Browns defense allowed just 247 first downs this season
It's the fewest first downs allowed since 2010 🤯 pic.twitter.com/LeqaMUo2uo
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) January 12, 2024
It’s common to see defensive or offensive coordinators make an impact, but it’s not so common to see such a major turnaround overnight.
Granted that the Browns made plenty of moves in the offseason and revamped their pass rush with some elite personnel, but still, hiring Jim Schwartz proved to be the best decision GM Andrew Berry could’ve possibly made.
The Browns had the best defense in the league by a significant margin, all while also helping Myles Garrett become the leading candidate to take home Defensive Player of the Year honors for the first time in his career.
Now, it’s all about taking care of business in the playoffs.