Browns defensive starters dominate and 4 other takeaways Friday night

Carlos Hyde, Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson truck Buffalo's defense

Daryl Ruiter
August 18, 2018 - 1:40 am
Cleveland Browns running back Carlos Hyde, right, celebrates his first quarter touchdown with running back Duke Johnson (29) and center JC Tretter (64) against the Buffalo Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – There isn’t more you could ask for from your starting defensive unit than what Gregg Williams got Friday night – 4 consecutive 3-and-outs.  

Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah, Larry Ogunjobi, Mychal Kendricks all wreaked havoc and were dominant up front as they didn;t allow Buffalo's starting unit to net a single first down.

“We can be as good as we want to be,” Ogbah said. “We have a mindset we have to dominate games, and that's our mindset going in, to be the best we can be.”

Garrett was credited with a quarterback hit, Ogunjobi 2 tackles for loss and a sack and Kendricks also registered a tackle for loss.

“I feel like we had a good rhythm going,” Ogunjobi said.

“We’re building. Every game you want to get better and better and we want to be ready when we play Pittsburgh so I feel like this is another building moment, but we’ve got to make sure the guys behind us are playing at a high level and can keep it going.”

Bills starting quarterback AJ McCarron, who reportedly suffered a hairline fracture to his right collarbone, was under siege on just about every sap while Buffalo's starting offense mustered just 22 yards in the first quarter.

“Guys were playing,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “Myles Garrett, I can’t wait to watch the tape. I could just feel him on the field. I thought the communication was really good with the defensive players within the first unit.”

McCarron was limited to completing 3 of 6 passes for 12 yards in 4 offensive series and safety Damarious Randall believes it’s just a sign of what’s to come this fall.

“Just being out there on the field, the other team feels it, everybody knows, this ain't the same team that it's been in the past, everybody knows that and we're just looking to get to September 9 healthy so we can show the world what the Cleveland Browns are really made out of,” Randall said.

Running the rock – After a week of questions about the run game and run blocking, the Browns answered them on the field emphatically, and they wasted little time doing it.

The opening drive saw 63 of the 70 yards come on the ground and, in total, Cleveland ran for 164 yards. Carlos Hyde had 64 of them on 9 carries and Nick Chubb added 53 more on 11 totes. Duke Johnson ran for 27 on 4 carries, including an 18-yard burst.

“We have a guy who can run between the tackles in Hyde and Chubb, and we have another guy who can do a lot of different things in Duke,” Jackson said. “That is the versatility of the guys we have, and we will continue to put those guys in situations where they can have success.”

Hyde and Chubb both scored on the ground.

Five of the 8 longest offensive plays of the night for the Browns came on runs – Hyde ran for 26 and 19, Chubb 17 and 14 while Johnson added an 18-yard burst.

“The mindset going into these games: take a step forward,” Hyde said. “Every day you want to get better. Even on your off days, you want to do something to help you get better. You want to always feel like you’re progressing and getting better, so that’s the mindset I have.”

Putting it all together – Last week the passing game ran like a finely tuned machine but that wasn’t the case Friday night. The exact opposite could be said about the run game too.

“Obviously, the first week the pass game was clicking. This week, our running game was going,” Jackson said. “Now, we have to put it together where we get offensively where it is both run and pass complementing each other.”

Starter Tyrod Taylor completed 4 of 7 passes for 22 yards in his 4 offensive series but the running backs carried the load with him on the field.  

“I’m expecting next game we’ll put it all together,” Hyde said. “The passing and running game, we’ll definitely give the fans a taste of what to expect this upcoming season. I think when we play a complete game in the passing and the running game, I think we’re unstoppable.”

Penalties a plenty – Once again penalties haunted the Browns.

After being flagged 13 times for 141 yards against the Giants, Cleveland was flagged 7 times for 70 yards, including 3 offensive pass interference penalties.

“That is something we have to get solved, one as a staff and with our players,” Jackson said. “It is the discipline part of doing things the right. We have to get that part of it squared away.”

Receivers Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins were penalized in the second quarter that stalled a drive and tight end Devon Cajuste’s in the third quarter was costly because it took a Baker Mayfield 2-yard touchdown pass to receiver Derek Willies off the board and forced the Browns to settle for a field goal.

“Penalties kind of hurt us,” Taylor said. “We were in the scoring zone. That is two weeks in a row that we have had penalties that have taken us out of the scoring zone. That is something that we have to clean up.”

Receiver Jeff Janis was flagged for fair catch interference that gave the Bills breathing room –instead of getting the ball inside the 10, they started at the 23.

Quiet return – Corey Coleman did his best not to come off as bitter or salty about the trade to Buffalo. His return to Cleveland was uneventful after being targeted just once, a 7-yard pass from Josh Allen in the third quarter, and that was it.

Coleman had nice things to say about the Browns he was forced to leave behind.

“The receiver coach was unbelievable.  That locker room is unbelievable, a good group of guys,” Coleman said. 

As for how he was portrayed in last week’s Hard Knocks episode, that was a different story.

“With all of that, I’m going to take the high road,” Coleman said. “You all can see for yourself how all that stuff worked out. I just laugh at it because it’s kind of funny. They should have shown the whole thing if they were going to show it.”