There's been a lot of talk of the stellar defensive effort of the Cleveland Browns with their hammering of the Cincinnati Bengals 24-3 on Sunday. While the offensive unit wasn't as impactful on the day, they did just enough to roll and give everyone a lot of hope as to how this unit will function moving forward.
Let's take a look at each section of the offense, break down what we saw, and give them a grade on the day. It may not have earned them an 'A' but it certainly feels like that high mark is achievable as time marches on.
QB/ passing game- C+
The weather in this one was truly ugly. There was a steady drizzle for most of the day and it certainly was a factor in the passing game. Cleveland quarterback Deshaun Watson threw several passes into the ground and I believe the grip on the ball was difficult due to the conditions.
While no one wide receiver or tight end really shined, they all contributed a little and that balanced effort paid off in the end. Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore both caught three passes. Moore had one that went for 33 yards and set up a touchdown run by Watson a few moments later to close out the first half.
Cleveland did a nice job getting all three tight ends involved as the game moved on. David Njoku caught a 15-yard pass and Harrison Bryant caught a backbreaking touchdown at the goal line in the 4th quarter to push the lead up to 24-3. Finally, Jordan Atkins, made a grab at the end of the game to put the contest away.
Watson finished the day going 16-of-29 for 154 yards. While he threw one touchdown to Bryant, the 13-yard quarterback run to the endzone at the close of the first half really put a dent in the Bengals' hopes of keeping the game within reach.
Running game B+
When you have running back Nick Chubb on your team, then you're usually going to have a lot of success on the ground. That's what we've seen in the last five seasons with Chubb in the backfield.
That continued in this game against the Bengals as Chubb had another solid outing. He ran for 106 yards on 18 carries and an almost six yards-a-carry average, Just your typically outstanding effort by the Browns No. 1 running back.
Jerome Ford, the No. 2 back came into the game and had his first carry stripped by the Cincinnati defense, but the Browns stuck with him and he ended up carrying the ball 15 times for 36 yards. While those numbers weren't off the charts the fact that the team used both Ford and Chubb almost equally in carries was the more impressive statistic on the day.
When you throw in the fact that Cleveland has a quarterback now, in Deshaun Watson that can take off and scramble at any time, then you have an even more potent offense.
Offensive line: C
The story of the offensive line in this game was the loss of veteran right tackle Jack Conklin, who suffered a season-ending knee injury at the start of the game. While that was a blow to the unit, rookie Dawand Jones stepped in and performed admirably.
Jones had a very nice preseason and now he'll be thrust into the spotlight in the regular season. Next week, the Browns will face the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jones will have to guard defensive end T.J. Watt.
This will be a tough task but Jones seems to be managing all this attention well. Cleveland may still go out and try and bring in a veteran tackle but you get a sense watching Jones so far that he can handle the position.