Olivier Vernon knew the defense had to step up when Myles Garrett was ruled out of last week’s game.
The unit responded, with big plays from several members in the Cleveland Browns 22-17 victory over the Eagles.
Sione Takitaki‘s early pick-6 might have been the play of the game.
But Vernon brought the crowd to its feet again with a power-rush that resulted in a sack and a safety.
🚨 SAFETY IN THE LAND 🚨
Olivier Vernon gets after Carson Wentz in his own endzone
(via @Browns) pic.twitter.com/qxeZcNjZuH
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 22, 2020
Philadelphia’s double team was not enough to deny Vernon the biggest moment of his best game as a Brown.
And just in case anyone missed who made the play, Vernon stopped to let out a howl as he headed to the sideline.
Overall, the embattled edge rusher had 3 sacks, 5 tackles, a safety, and a pass defended against the Eagles.
For his effort, Olivier Vernon has been named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 11.
Browns Continue To Rack Up Awards
Olivier Vernon is not the first Browns player to be named Player of the Week.
Myles Garrett copped the same award for his efforts in the Browns Week 4 win versus the Cowboys.
After his big game against the Bengals, Baker Mayfield won the AFC Offensive Player of the Week nod.
Offensive lineman Jedrick Wills won Offensive Rookie of the Week after the Houston Texans game.
#Browns RE Olivier Vernon has earned AFC Defensive player of the week, after his 3 sack performance vs the Eagles. Congratulations, Olivier! pic.twitter.com/Q9XSRqBlVv
— Cleveland Browns Updates (7-3) (@clebrownsszn) November 25, 2020
That is on top of multiple Pro Football Focus nods and mentions.
While Vernon wreaked havoc on the edge, Jordan Elliott earned the highest PFF score by a defensive tackle this week.
And back in Week 10, Wyatt Teller and Jack Conklin earned top scores at their positions.
Teller won PFF Player of the Week in helping the offensive line earn top honors overall for the Texans game.
As for Vernon, this was his third career DPOW award and his first since 2013.
He was the first player in the NFL to have 3 sacks and a safety in the same game since 2014.
Myles Garrett was the last Cleveland Browns player to have 3 sacks back in September of last season.
Vernon Needs To Do It Again
Myles Garrett will not return in time to face the Jaguars this week.
Vernon and his teammates will face Jacksonville’s third quarterback of the season in veteran Mike Glennon.
But they don’t want to take the 1-9 team’s offense lightly lest they lose momentum on their own playoff push.
With the 6-4 Ravens facing the undefeated Steelers, Cleveland could leave Baltimore further behind in the standings.
#Browns coach Kevin Stefanski on DE Olivier Vernon being AFC Defensive Player of the Week: I'm happy for OV. He stepped up and I'm counting on him to do it again this week.
— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) November 25, 2020
Vernon has not had many notable games since signing with Cleveland.
The savvy veteran understands the risks of looking past any opponent and will try to replicate the effort of Week 11.
But he might have to rise up further to compensate for the loss of Denzel Ward to a calf injury.
Perhaps the best news Cleveland fans got this week is that oft-injured Vernon’s name is not on the injury list.
Vernon showed Browns fans what he can do when healthy.
And he’ll need to show us again come Sunday.
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