The Cleveland Browns got the job done in their first game of the season.
Even despite losing the turnover battle, 2-0, their defense was lights out and dominant, sacking Joe Burrow twice for 15 yards, and allowing just 142 total yards (67 passing, 75 rushing).
Moreover, Kevin Stefanski’s offense was rather efficient, logging 21 first downs and putting up 350 total yards while punting seven times, also dominating the time of possession 35:50 to 24:10.
Deshaun Watson showed glimpses of his former level, and while his final numbers weren’t the most impressive by any means, Browns insider Brad Stainbrook notes that he still paced all AFC North quarterbacks in QBR.
Apparently, the Clemson product finished ninth in the league in QBR, while Kenny Pickett finished in 21st, Joe Burrow in 26th, and Lamar Jackson in 28th.
AFC North QBRs week 1:
9. #Browns Deshaun Watson
21. Kenny Pickett
26. Joe Burrow
28. Lamar Jackson
— Brad Stainbrook (@StainbrookNFL) September 11, 2023
Watson completed 16 of 29 passes for 154 yards with one touchdown and one interception, adding 45 rushing yards and an additional score.
Pickett and the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn’t get anything going against the San Francisco 49ers’ elite defense, and we already know how poorly Burrow fared versus the Browns.
As for Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, they didn’t need to do much to dominate the Houston Texans, but it was still a disappointing outing by the former MVP.
Jackson completed just 17 of 22 passes for 169 yards and one interception, and there was no sign of Todd Monken’s new-look, pass-happy offense.
Next up is a date with the Steelers, and the Browns will have a blueprint as to how to stop Pickett after watching the Niners handcuff him for the entire game.