The Cleveland Browns just beat a dangerous Jacksonville team by leaning on their strengths. For some games, the final score can be deceiving and make the game appear closer than what it really was. This was definitely the case today, while the Cleveland Browns won it what appears to be a close one possession game, the win itself never really felt threatened at the end.
Cleveland Browns Overall Game Summary
In a 31-27 victory, the Cleveland Browns had a nice display on the field that they can be proud of. This defense just made plays all day. Against a talented Jacksonville team going in, it was known that points would be scored, but overall the Cleveland Browns did a really good job of limiting explosive opportunities and really made it difficult all day for the opposing offense. By limiting the Jaguars to only 4 yards a play, and holding them to under 300 total yards, the defense not only did their job, but then some, by also turning the ball over at so many opportune moments.
The offense was led by long time veteran Joe Flacco. For someone that was contemplating no longer playing, he looked good for having been a team member for less than a month. The offense did a nice job of running the ball, and using easier, shorter completions to break longer gains, This was used to set up the deep shot, just like what we saw on the first touchdown throw to David Njoku for 34 yards.
All day, the ball carriers were fighting for extra yards, and fighting through contact for their teammates. A nice offensive aspect to see was the timing. Joe Flacco was anticipating throws before receivers were breaking out of their routes, or turning to look for the football. Even on the interception, his receiver was caught up in the pick scrum of the coverage, Flacco was throwing to where the receiver would have been, just unfortunate to be caught up, throwing off the timing.
Cleveland Browns Effort
There were multiple moments throughout the game that exemplified what this Cleveland Browns team has become. In the first half, moments before halftime, David Njoku had caught a pass short of the line to gain. With a high amount of awareness, and just pure ability, he not only stiff armed the defender, but also smartly tip toed the sideline, stepping out after he was past the yard sticks. He finished the game with six catches, 91 yards, and two touchdowns.
On defense, this group made their presence known. For a game that often takes second and third efforts, Anthony Walker set the tone coming out of the locker room after halftime. On a third and long that was going to be well short, Walker made the initial stop, but he wasn’t satisfied. Using his awareness, he ripped the ball out that was then recovered.
Plays like this really put the Cleveland Browns in positions to win, and they are looking to be one of the better defensive units in the league at the moment.
Cleveland Browns Defense
If one man had a career day today it was Martin Emerson. He not only had three official passes defended, but a game changing two interceptions. Closing out the first half, the Jaguars were driving down the field and in the red zone.
For how good the timing was with Joe Flacco and his receivers, the opposite was true for Trevor Lawrence. On a very impressive play by Emerson, with quick reactions, and a play that easily could have just another incomplete pass, he used his reflexes to pluck out the interception.
Another player that deserves mentioning his linebacker Sione Takitaki. He was very effective in the run game and really was just constantly in the picture. On a small gain, with about 2:30 left in the half, Takitaki made a big legal hit on the Jacksonville quarterback, that had him wincing, visibly in pain. It’s this kind of pressure that players keep in the back of their mind throughout the game, not moments later, Lawrence threw the drive sealing interception. Takitaki finished with four tackles, and one QB hit.
Cleveland Browns Standings
Sitting now at 8-5, the Cleveland Browns are looking in control of the top wild card spot at the moment. With the big play ability, toughness, and hard nosed way this ball club is performing on the field, it will not be surprising if they are able to finish the season strong, and go on a run in the playoffs. They’ll need a little help, but there is still an outside chance of being the top seed from the AFC North.