1. Turnover margin
Baker Mayfield didn’t throw many picks, and the running backs fumbled a total of four times on 495 attempts. The defense forced 1.5 turnovers per game, which ranked fifth in the league. These combined to give the team a +0.5 turnover margin, which also ranked fifth in the NFL.
That’s a great spot to be in, because most times the team that wins the turnover battle also wins the game. That is one classic aspect of the game that will never change.
However, the takeaway number is inflated by early-season performances against the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, and Indianapolis Colts. Dwayne Haskins, Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, and Philip Rivers graciously contributed to the cause. Turnovers are not a sustainable stat, because they depend on many factors, especially the opponent making a mistake.
On paper, the Cleveland defense appeared to be great early on, but the eye test did not match up with that, and once the turnovers stopped coming at an abnormally high rate, the defense was exposed as what it truly was; one of the league’s poorer units.
Without a three-week run against turnover-prone teams and with more interceptions as a natural result of more attempts, the Browns may not have such a rosy turnover margin.