Cleveland Browns: Grades from thrilling victory over the Chargers
Much like it was a tale of two halves for the offense, it was also somewhat the same for the defense. The difference was, the first half was when the defense struggled, and the second was when they thrived. Contributing to both ends of this, the linebackers played as the defense as a whole played.
Jamie Collins was once again impressive, flying all over the field and contributing with five tackles. Even more productive though was Christian Kirksey, who led the team with ten tackles. Rookie Emmanuel Ogbah also added to an already very productive rookie campaign with four tackles.
On the first drive, the Browns surrendered a touchdown, and the second a field goal. At this point, it appeared that the Chargers were going to put up 40 points on the afternoon. When the linebackers started playing better though, all of this changed.
In the end though, it really came down to scheme. When the linebackers dropped into coverage, the Chargers found moving the ball to be very easy. When they were sent to pressure Rivers however, San Diego was forced to shorten their routes and were thrown completely off-balance. All of this began with the play of the linebackers, who represented both the best and the worst of the Browns defense on Saturday.