Cleveland linebackers were never given a chance on Sunday, as they were forced to deal with Cincinnati’s running game as well as their air attack. With no help whatsoever from the defensive line, stopping Jeremy Hill was up to the linebackers. Also, since the secondary had a hard time against the Bengals’ sizable receivers, they were asked to help out in pass coverage.
Lost in all of the chaos was the lack of opportunity to muster up any pass rush. This was due to the fact that the team’s best pass rushers, the linebackers, were occupied in other efforts. This isn’t really their fault, but it does serve as a missed opportunity for them.
The only Browns’ linebacker who had a solid game was Jamie Collins, who has already indicated that he doesn’t want to be part of the team’s long-term solution. His 15 tackles led the team, with the next closest player only recording seven.
Demario Davis and Emmanuel Ogbah also got in on several defensive stops, but were beat on two reverses to Cincinnati receiver Tyler Boyd. Ogbah performed well overall though, finishing with 1.5 sacks, a tackle for loss, and three quarterback hits.
Christian Kirksey, the most consistent linebacker on the team this year, was held to just three tackles. This isn’t good enough for a defender on the field as much as Kirksey is.
Hopefully, the linebackers can bounce back, something they are certainly capable of doing. After all, this isn’t the group the team should be most concerned about. This doesn’t excuse the fact that they simply did not get the job done though.