Cleveland Browns: 3 players that are key to beating to Lions

Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Browns
CLEVELAND, OHIO – OCTOBER 31: Running back D’Ernest Johnson #30 of the Cleveland Browns runs for a gain during the first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 31, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Steelers defeated the Browns 15-10. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Browns Key Player No. 1: D’Ernest Johnson

The strength of the Cleveland Browns.

What is the running game?


This Sunday the Browns must pound the football. Detroit has given up 989 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground this season.

Enter D’Ernest Johnson.

With Nick Chubb just coming back after being on the COVID-19/reserve list and Kareem Hunt still doing a bid on IR, Johnson will again have a key role.

Feed him the ball.

In his two starts this season, Johnson has stepped up and proved he can be a huge factor for this offense. In his first start against the Broncos on Thursday Night Football, he rushed 22 times for 146 yards and a touchdown. In his second start last week against the Patriots, he rushed 19 times for 99 yards while leading the team in receptions (7) and receiving yards (58).

While his rushing attempts and numbers look good, Stefanski abandoned the run game after the opening drive. Johnson rushed four times for 58 yards on that drive, setting Cleveland up inside the five-yard line. He got three carries the rest of the half.

On Sunday, Stefanski needs to let Johnson cook. With Mayfield banged up, this would be a perfect time to lean on the best part of the team. This will also open up play-action, which Mayfield thrives in, should he be healthy enough to make the throws.

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The Browns desperately need a victory and these three players will be key in assuring that happens.