Cleveland Browns Defensive Grade
The defensive unit was the unit that led this team in the 2021 season and that was no different on Sunday against the Bengals.
For the ninth time this season, this defense which was rebuilt in the offseason, allowed 16 points or fewer. Think of that stat and then think of the offense not being able to score more than 16 on a few different occasions. Now you see why the team finished 8-9.
Ironically, in both wins over the Bengals, Cleveland held them to 16 points.
The leader of the defense capped off a historic season with his franchise record and career-high 16th sack of the season. He likely won’t win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, but he is definitely in the discussion. Garrett is a generational talent and it’s nice to know he’s going to be a member of the Browns for the foreseeable future.
Garrett’s battering mate, Jadeveon Clowney, who was part of the offseason spending spree, had himself quite the season finale. Clowney finished the 2021 campaign with two sacks against the Bengals, bringing his season total to nine, the most he has had in three seasons. By hitting nine sacks, Clowney earned an additional $250K with an incentive.
Clowney flourished alongside Garrett this season and it would be extremely wise for general manager Andrew Berry to do whatever it takes to bring Clowney back. Clowney said money is “always” speaking, but he wants to make sure he goes to a good fit, something he said he had in Cleveland.
Jacob Phillips got in on the sack party with one to go along with nine tackles, eight of which were solo. He can be a solid player for this defense, but he needs to stay healthy.
The Cleveland defense allowed just 182 total yards primarily against the Bengals backups, but a nice way to end the season nonetheless.