The Cleveland Browns could have been 2-0 to start their 2023 campaign.
Unfortunately, a T.J. Watt fumble return for a touchdown turned out to be the winning points during their Week 2 Monday Night Football encounter.
Despite that setback, the Browns’ defense has been stellar through two games, as shared by ESPN writer for the Browns Jake Trotter.
Small sample size, but…
Defensive ranks in opponent QBR vs. man coverage:
1. Browns (5.4)
2. Commanders (23.3)
3. Chiefs (24.6)
4. Panthers (25.3)
5. 49ers (32.5)
* CB Denzel Ward allowing -8.9 EPA when targeted this season, the least (or best) in the NFL, per @NextGenStats
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) September 22, 2023
Ward leads the Browns with three pass deflections.
The stats above should lead opposing quarterbacks to second-guess their decisions in challenging the Browns in one-on-one coverage.
Their excellence on defense manifested when they limited Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals passing game to 82 yards.
Aside from their defensive secondary, the Browns’ defensive front has responded mightily through the first two weeks.
Myles Garrett, Dalvin Tomlinson, Za’Darius Smith, and the Browns defensive line had ten quarterback hits and two sacks against Burrow.
A week later, they had nine quarterback hits, seven passes deflected, five tackles for losses, and two sacks against the Steelers.
After Week 2, the Browns rank second in total yards allowed (198.5), third in passing yards allowed (133.5), and fourth in rushing yards allowed (65) per game.
Hands down, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has made an impact on the defense.