If the Cleveland Browns truly aspired to winn the AFC North this season, then their matchup in Baltimore against the Ravens was a must-win. Well, mission accomplished. The Browns outlasted the Ravens and won on a walk-off field goal by Dustin Hopkins by the score of 33-31.
It wasn't all sunshine in rainbows for the Browns in Baltimore, but the team played their best football when it mattered the most in the fourth quarter. Above all else, this team has proven that they will not lay down and quit when things aren’t going according to plan. This Browns roster will fight until the echo of the final whistle under head coach Kevin Stefanski.
For the Browns defense, Sunday’s game against the Ravens was a mixed bag. For Jim Schwartz’ unit, it was a day that was filled with everything from lapses in basic fundamentals to massive game altering plays. In the end, the defense made the plays that had to be made to give their offense a chance to seal the deal. Here is how Cleveland's defense graded out in the best win of their 2023 campaign.
Cleveland Browns secondary grade: B+
It was a solid effort from the Browns secondary on Sunday. After losing Pro Bowler Denzel Ward to a neck injury in the first half, special team ace Mike Ford had to step up and made an excellent account for himself. Ford even came up with an interception in the final minute of the first half that put an end to Baltimore’s attempt to double dip.
Martin Emerson had his roughest day of the season in coverage but battled all afternoon long. The second-year corner had his aggressive used against him several times on Sunday. However, Emerson used his physicality to his benefit and led the Browns in total tackles with eight.
Grant Delpit spent his afternoon in the box trying to keep tabs on Mark Andrews and providing some thump in run support. Delpit had an up and down day, but given what he was tasked to do, the fourth-year safety is receiving glowing marks in this week’s report card.
The news of the secondary is the play making efforts of nickel cornerback Greg Newsome. The Ravens run a ton of quick game and keep cornerbacks honest with their stellar run game. Baltimore tests the eyes of nickel corners probably better than any other team in the league. But when it mattered most, Newsome made the defensive play of the game when he picked off Lamar Jackson and took it back to the house. The pick-six gave the Browns the momentum they needed to continue their fourth quarter comeback.