It was once again the Cleveland linebackers who stepped up for an otherwise struggling defense. They did this by both coming up to stop the run on numerous occasions, as well as playing well in pass coverage.
Christian Kirksey, Demario Davis and Emmanuel Ogbah all led the defense in tackles. Kirksey especially played very well in pass coverage, slowing the Jets’ middle-of-the-field pass attack until late in the second half.
Though the linebackers weren’t able to generate a great deal of pressure on Fitzpatrick, they also weren’t asked to since they were preoccupied with stopping a formidable New York rushing attack.
Against Powell and Matt Forte, the Browns gave up 158 yards to Jets running backs. This was mostly due to the defensive line though, as the linebackers were forced to make a lot of tackles after running backs slipped through the front three defenders.
Moving forward, it appears that the Browns are fortunate to have solid linebackers in Kirksey, Ogbah and Davis. This group, along with a committee of others, can have success filling these four slots. The problems the Browns have defensively are currently not due to their linebacker play.