Cleveland Browns: Grades from thrilling victory over the Chargers
Defensive Line: A
It was easily the best performance from Cleveland’s defensive line this season. Part of this was due to individual effort, and part was a credit to a more aggressive strategy which paid off.
Pass rush generated by Carl Nassib, Danny Shelton, and Jamie Meder disrupted San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers. While they were unable to finish any sacks, this unit effectively collapsed the pocket on a consistent basis. This is part of the reason Rivers was only able to complete half of his pass attempts.
For one of the first times this season, the Browns were able to stop the running game of the Chargers. Kenneth Farrow and Ronnie Hillman were limited to 34 yards combined. Without a running game, the Chargers were extremely limited on offense. Due to this, they were held scoreless for most of the second half despite getting opportunity after opportunity.
The play of the defensive line began what was an incredible effort on defense to preserve the lead. Without Ray Horton’s aggressiveness and willingness to bring pressure consistently, and without the strong play of the front three, fans would not have experienced win number one on Christmas Eve.