1. The Browns Offensive Line
If anyone had an excuse to have a bad performance, it was this Browns offensive line. Both tackles had never started a game in a Browns uniform before. Jedrick Wills, Jr. was playing in his first NFL game, he didn’t even get preseason reps to adjust to the game speed. J.C. Tretter was playing hurt, a few days ago the team didn’t even know if he would be suiting up.
Offensive line coach Bill Callahan got his boys coached up and prepared for this game though, as they balled out. Against one of the best defenses in the NFL, they only gave up two sacks, when any other offensive line in their position would have given up significantly more. Starter Jedrick Wills, Jr. even went down with an injury and backup Kendall Lamm entered the game, and there wasn’t much dropoff.
Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb, and D’Ernest Johnson combined for a total of 24 carries for 137 yards, which was 5.7 yards per carry. That is great efficiency out of a running game, which the Cleveland Browns will likely rely on more often throughout the season.
The pockets in pass protection were also significantly improved from last season, which is great news for quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mayfield looked uncomfortable in the pocket at times, but that should be fixed the more he realizes that he no longer has to run for his life.
He finally has an offensive line that he can trust again, which is great news for the rest of the season. Great football teams are built upfront, and the Browns potentially have the league’s next great offensive line.