Defensive Line: A
This was a masterful performance that started on the inside and then spread to the outside. Dalvin Tomlinson was erasing the line of scrimmage and then redrawing it in the Niners backfield with regularity on Sunday. Jordan Elliott was taking Tomlinson’s lead and constantly redirecting ball carriers at the line of scrimmage.
Myles Garrett was Myles Garrett. Although he did not record any sacks on the afternoon, Garrett was a straight-up menace as usual and was giving All-Pro Trent Williams the business. Everything I just said about Garrett also applies to Za’Darius Smith, who altered Brock Purdy’s confidence to stand in the pocket with the first hit he delivered.
But what really made the Browns hard to deal with on the edge was their ability to sub in Ogbo Okoronkwo and Alex Wright without a drop-off in the level of play. Okoronkwo in particular stood out in his reps on Williams when he was relieving Garrett, beating the All-Pro with twice inside rip moves that, on one occasion, forced a hold from Williams.
In total, the Browns pressured Purdy a staggering 19 times on only 36 dropbacks, and the Browns defensive line was responsible for the bulk of those pressures.
If the football-viewing world does not who Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is, then they are about to learn today. JOK is a heat-seeking playmaker who possesses elite range and versatility. On Sunday, against the 49ers JOK had all of his elite traits on full display, registering five tackles, three tackles for loss, and two quarterback hits to go along with a sack.
Fellow starter, Anthony Walker was forced to leave the game early and enter the concussion protocol. Starting SAM backer, Sionne Takitaki stepped up in Walker’s place and helped JOK thwart the Niners run game. The remaining snaps at linebacker were filled by the Browns Swiss Army safety, Grant Delpit who did not come off the field for a single defensive snap Sunday.