5 takeaways from Browns loss to Falcons in Week 4

Browns, Nick Chubb. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Browns, Nick Chubb. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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Browns, Amari Cooper. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

4. Shutting down Cooper stops the Browns offense

Through the first four weeks of the season, Jacoby Brissett has had two really good games and two to forget. What was the difference? Amari Cooper.

In Week 1, the Browns beat Carolina but Cooper had just 17 yards on three receptions. He was finding openings in the defense but he and Brissett just couldn’t connect. Even with that being the case, he was leaving things open for the other pass catchers and Donovan Peoples-Jones had six receptions for 60 yards.

In Week 4, Brissett again struggled and Cooper was beyond quiet. The veteran wideout had just one reception on four targets for nine yards. Again, the defense focused on him, daring DPJ to beat them. The Michigan product had 71 yards on five receptions, but it wasn’t enough for Cleveland to get the win.

Brissett felt the Cooper effect as he had a quarterback rating of 74 in Week 1 and just 68 this past weekend. In the two games where Cooper had 101 yards receiving in each, Brissett had a rating of 98.9 and 109.6.

Clearly, the key to shutting this offense down is to take Cooper out of the equation. It’s not an easy thing to do with his insane route-running but if the defense continually focuses on him and dares DPJ or David Njoku to beat them, it seems to be a good gamble.

That might not always remain the case but right now, the quarterback has looked vastly better when Cooper is making catches than when he’s throwing it to everyone else.