Grading the Browns defense against the Bengals in Week 1

• Jim Schwartz's defense shows out

• Something special on the horizon

• D-Line shows vast improvement

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns
Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns / Jason Miller/GettyImages

The Cleveland Browns are fresh off a 24-3 Week 1 win against the Cincinnati Bengals. This win marks the first season opener win at home since 2004. The most significant help in the win over the Bengals was the defense showing what it is capable of doing with all the new additions.

The Browns' Week 1 win was one of the most dominant defensive performances in recent years. The defense only allowed Joe Burrow to complete just 14-of-31 passes and a career-low 82 yards. They also got home twice to sack Burrow, one of them being by Myles Garrett as the Bengals tried to convert on a fourth down in their own territory.

This got the crowd and the sidelines fired up as it was the Star player shutting the door on any chance of a comeback.

Cleveland's defense was getting to Burrow the entire game and didn't let up. The secondary complimented the defensive line by not giving Burrow anywhere to throw. Multiple times Burrow has to chuck his pass into the dirt to not take a sack or force a bad throw. The defense tallied four passes defended and smothered the Bengals receivers all game.

The run defense looks to have been a massive leap since last season. Other than a 22-yard run by Joe Mixon, they were on top of Cincinnati's run game, allowing only 75 total yards on 20 attempts for an average of 3.8 yards per carry. Take away the one big play by Mixon and the Browns only allowed 2.7 per carry and 53 yards. Stopping the run was a big focus coming into the season as Cleveland had one of the worst run defenses in 2022.

Everyone on the defense showed up to play. Denzel Ward looked lockdown, Grant Delpit looks like he is going to build off his great 2022 campaign. Myles and Za'darius Smith might be the best pass-rush duo in the entire league.

On top of that the defense played with a swagger and confidence many fans have not seen before. They were celebrating every single play they made no matter if it was a huge sack or a tackle at the start of the drive.

Overall the defense was elite in every single aspect of the game. The defensive line got home and did not allow Burrow to have any time. The linebackers were flying around and getting to the ball quickly. The secondary did not allow the Bengals receivers to get open and when they did their close-out speed did not allow for any yards after the catch.

The only knock is that they did not force any turnovers, which will come as the season progresses. However, if the defense keeps playing like this they will not need turnovers to get the other team's offense off the field.

Overall Grade: A+

Rush Defense Grade: A+ Pass Defense Grade: A+ Last Week's Grade: NA

Final thoughts:

This Brown's defense has the chance to be something extremely special. If they stay at or around this level of play all season they will have multiple Pro Bowlers, All-Pros, and potentially a Defensive Player of the Year.

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