Browns’ defense stifles Bengals in season opener

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Stellar showing from DC Jim Schwartz’ defense

The Browns’ new defensive scheme lived up the hype in their season-opener as they limited the Bengals to just a field goal in the third quarter. They limited Bengals QB Joe Burrow to 14-of-31 for 82 yards and sacked him twice. Burrow finished with a 52.2 passer rating on Sunday.

HC Kevin Stefanski rewarded the stellar defensive performance by highlighting Schwartz in his postgame press conference.

“The story of the day is our defense,” Stefanski said. “And I just gave Coach (Jim) Schwartz the game ball because that defense was outstanding. To hold that offense – and I have a ton of respect for that team and that offense and that whole team in general – but to hold them to 143 yards, two of 15 on third down was very impressive. So very proud of Jim and his staff, the defensive staff and the players.”

There was a noticeable increased level of aggression up front on the defensive line, and more man coverage on the back end. In the first half, they forced the Bengals to punt seven times on seven possessions, five of which were three and outs. They kept the Bengals scoreless in the first half, and only gave up a field goal in the third quarter.

DE Myles Garrett said the defensive scheme and game plan went according to plan. While the Bengals threw some adjustments that they weren’t exactly expecting, Garrett felt like they adapted on the fly to those changes and executed the scheme properly.

Up front on the defensive line, they were able to send different looks at the Bengals’ offense and keep them off balance. Then, on the back end, they were able to make big plays on some of the 50-50 balls to help get the Browns’ defense off the field.  

“It was a hell of a dress rehearsal with these guys,” Garrett said. “They have a very explosive offense, and they have very skilled players in each position. So, this was a big one for us to see where we’re at and we really showed what we can do and we set the bar high, and this is the standard we got to continue to improve from here.”

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