Myles Garrett takes his fair share of criticism from Cleveland Browns fans.
There are some out there who only go off his total of tackles and sacks to determine his impact on a game.
But that is a far too shortsighted way to analyze any defensive end’s performance.
Garrett got his massive $125 million extension this year and expectations are through the roof.
He finished Thursday night’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals with three tackles, one sack, and a forced fumbled that bailed out the Browns offense and set up an easy touchdown.
Those numbers are all nice.
However, fans watching the game noticed how often he was in the backfield forcing Joe Burrow into pressure.
That is where his impact was the greatest, and the advanced stats prove it.
Myles Garrett finished the night with 9 QB pressures, three times as many as the Bengals defense combined (3).
→ 9 pressures on 55 pass rushes
→ 16.4% pressure rate*
→ 0.72s avg pass rush get-off
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 18, 2020
Myles Garrett Harassing Opposing Quarterbacks
There is a reason why Sheldon Richardson had himself such a big night as well.
Garrett was taking up a ton of attention and also forcing Burrow out of his comfort zone.
The rookie quarterback threw 61 passes in the game and only completed 37.
The three sacks he took for 31 yards came thanks to all that pressure established on the edge by Garrett.
Week 1 was a bit of a wash for the entire Browns team.
The same goes for Garrett, who had one tackle and no sacks in the blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Myles Garrett’s pass-rush grade since 2018: 91.2 (T-1st among NFL edge rushers in that span).
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) September 17, 2020
Thursday got him back on track to being a player who can rack up well over 10 sacks in a season without a problem.
Garrett had 13.5 in 2018 and finished with 10 last season in only 10 games due to his suspension.
Beating up on Bad Teams
There is another argument out there that players like Garrett can pad their stats against lesser teams.
That is what players are supposed to do.
All dominant teams in the NFL pick up several wins per season over bad teams and stats are padded all around the league.
The Browns finally being good enough to take down lesser competition is not something to criticize.
The hope is that the Browns can get to a level where they can routinely take down a team like the Ravens instead of picking up close victories over a team like the Bengals.
The competition remains somewhat comparable next week against Washington.
The team, or “The Team,” did surprise with a Week 1 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
But Dwayne Haskins is still young and Garrett should be able to continuing piling up the pressures in that matchup.
Myles Garrett recorded 12 pass rush wins on Thursday (plays where he beat his blocker within 2.5 seconds). That matches Garrett's career-high in a single game.
In Week 1, no player in the NFL had more than 9 pass rush wins (ESPN pass rush metrics/NFL Next Gen Stats). pic.twitter.com/VrcQmTfo9H
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 18, 2020
A game against the Dallas Cowboys follows and that is where Garrett can really prove he is worth the money.
Some people will always find a way to be negative.
Garrett is a hard-worker and his results show when taking a closer look at any game he plays.
Forcing Burrow into pressure helped his teammates pad their own stats and also forced the Bengals offense to be out of sorts until late in the game.
That is what Garrett is being paid to do and only focusing on his tackles is a waste of energy.