There is a chance that Joe Woods is behind yet another surprising development. The Browns first showed signs of improvement in a close defeat to the Ravens when they successfully controlled Lamar Jackson but ultimately fell short of a comeback. The Browns came through when they needed to most, despite having to deal with another elite quarterback and the absence of several starters.
The pass-happy Bengals struggled throughout the night due to an offence that now can’t run its way out of a damp paper bag. First, a deflected ball from Joe Burrow led to an interception, and then Cleveland’s relentless pressure resulted in five sacks and a forced fumble for the Browns’ defence.
The Browns changed into an unexpectedly aggressive defence which led to two Burrow turnovers and more crucially held down an offence that had averaged nearly 300 passing yards per game during Weeks 4-7. The Browns’ defensive struggles have continued over the past six weeks, resembling their performance in the second half of the 2021 season. This news may have saved Woods’ job and turned around Cleveland’s season in the nick of time.
As of right now, Joe Burrow still hasn’t beaten the Browns. Burrow’s background is well-known at this point, yet for some reason, he still can’t find a way to beat the team he used to root for. So far in his professional career, Burrow is 0-4 versus the Browns. Both of his losses have come in Cleveland but with very different supporting casts each time. Burrow’s Bengals were inching closer to the playoffs the last time he went down at FirstEnergy Stadium during his rookie year.
It took some time, but the Browns are now fully committed to the run game. Two major themes have emerged in discussions about the Browns’ four-game losing streak: the team’s lacklustre defence and Nick Chubb’s insufficient opportunities to run the ball.
The 20-carry threshold that has separated wins and losses for Cleveland has been Chubb’s workload, so it will come as good news to Brown’s supporters who have been keeping track because Chubb got 23 totes Monday night and made the most of them by collecting 101 yards and scoring two touchdowns.
Chubb took a straight snap-in for a touchdown as Kevin Stefanski, realising he’d gotten too cute in the first half, resorted to his trusted back and sent seven offensive linemen out for a goal-line package.
Detail work is needed in Cincinnati
The Bengals came out flat against the struggling Browns on Monday night as if they were entitled to another victory after their previous victory against the Falcons. Cincinnati’s defence struggled in the first three quarters due to dropped passes on key downs and other miscues, and losing cornerback Chidobe Awuzie didn’t help matters.
Less than four minutes remained in the third quarter when the Bengals began their first touchdown drive of the night with 95 total yards of offence. A squad that gained 537 yards just seven days prior produced that much. When the Bengals finally woke up from their 40-minute slumber, the gap was already too great for them to recover from. Cincinnati must avoid showings like Monday nights if it wants to disprove the notion that it was a one-and-done contender in the AFC.
Learning how to finish off a game is a major focus for Cleveland. The Browns finally capitalised on a late opportunity to win a game since their Week 3 victory over Pittsburgh. Amari Cooper deserves some credit because he threw an interception on a trick play but recovered to make three crucial catches that added to Cleveland’s final score.
The Browns could have lost a game they could have easily won if not for these clutch grabs. Instead, they were able to lock the door with the help of Chubb and Kareem Hunt. It will be interesting to watch if the Browns still have that dynamic duo in the backfield after tomorrow’s trade deadline. For just one game, though they were just as crucial as they had always been thanks in large part to a key addition during the offseason.
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