It is safe to say that the coaching deserves a ton of credit after any victory. This one though, was an absolutely extraordinary effort by Hue Jackson and his staff.
Coming off of a short week, the Browns played on Saturday, Christmas Eve. They were also 0-14, and were written off by virtually everyone. Coming into a half-empty stadium on a holiday that they would likely would have much rather spent at home, bringing the intensity they brought all game long didn’t happen by accident.
But even though their effort is most notable, it didn’t guarantee them a win by any means. The coaching staff still had to come up with a brilliant scheme, which they did.
Finally, Ray Horton was more aggressive and brought pressure against a quarterback who lacked mobility. And unlike past weeks, he wasn’t afraid to bring this pressure consistently, no matter what the down and distance may have called for statistically.
On offense, Hue Jackson’s play calling was better than in past weeks. He struck the balance between sticking with a failing running game and opening up the passing attack. They kept the Chargers honest, yet maximized their ability to throw the ball to multiple targets.
This was evident in the fact that the Browns were virtually even in passing and rushing attempts, running the ball 29 times and throwing 28. As a result, they were able to convert 6 of 15 third downs since most were manageable, and converted touchdowns on two of three red zone trips.
Penalties also weren’t a significant issue. The Browns committed just four, costing them a total of 44 yards. They also didn’t turn the ball over all afternoon despite feeling relentless pressure from the Chargers. This sort of discipline despite lacking important pieces on the roster speaks to the ability of the coaching staff to get the team ready for this game.
Winning this game really came down to the coaching staff, who did everything in their power to allow an overmatched Browns team to squeak this one out.