3 huge Browns takeaways from Week 1 victory over the Panthers

Browns, James Hudson III. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Browns, James Hudson III. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /
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Browns, Grant Delpit. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

1. The defense looked elite at times

Outside of some busted coverages, the Browns defense looked elite on Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, Carolina. They did allow 24 points, but again, broken coverages will do that to a team every now and again.

Myles Garrett had back-to-back sacks in the third quarter, the second being a strip-sack recovered by the Panthers, as he creeps closer to Cleveland history. He’s now just two sacks away from passing (should be Hall of Famer) Clay Mathews for the all-time sack record in Cleveland.

He could get that as soon as next Sunday against the Jets as he will face a rookie offensive lineman for the second week in a row. He also compiled six pressures, which three per game is a good pace to have for Defensive Player of the Year honors.

The Browns sacked their former quarterback Baker Mayfield four different times. John Johnson III, Ronnie Harrison, Tommy Togiai, and Jadeveon Clowney all had 0.5 sacks. Clowney also had two pass deflections at the line of scrimmage.

The defense forced just one turnover as Grant Delpit picked off Mayfield, but that led to the first Hunt touchdown of the game. They also forced the Panthers to punt five times in the game, including two three-and-outs.

After Carolina got the game within six points with an 11-play, 75-yard drive, the Browns answered with a field goal to put the deficit back to nine for Carolina. That was shortlived as the first play on the Panthers ensuing drive resulted in a 75-yard hookup from Mayfield to Robbie Anderson to get the score within two.

Cleveland’s defense stepped up on the go-ahead field goal drive by the Panthers, as they didn’t let them get in the endzone. They left the field down two with 1:13 on the clock, giving Brissett and the offense just enough time to go down and get in field goal range and win the game.

The defense will need to continue its good play, outside of the busted coverage plays, to keep the Browns close in games. We now know that Cleveland finally has a kicker and that will be huge in these close games, especially within the division.

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