Week 14 instant reactions: Defense leads Cleveland Browns to victory

The defense led the way on Sunday as the Cleveland Browns snapped a two-game losing streak with a win at home over Jacksonville

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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Cleveland Browns defense is elite at home

Whenever this defense takes the field at home, they're unbelievable. They've been relied upon with the quarterback issues and came up big again. This week, Martin Emerson was one of the biggest stars, making a couple of third-down stops in the first quarter. One was a break-up downfield and the other was a huge tackle on third-and-eight to stop Zay Jones in his tracks. He also recorded a pick early in the second quarter.

The defense even bailed the Browns out following an ill-timed turnover of their own. Moving down the field after Emerson's turnover, Flacco was picked off when Cedric Tillman ran into a defender. The ball was given right back to them when Grant Delpit — who just agreed to a three-year extension Sunday morning — sacked Lawrence on a third-down blitz.

Emerson again came up big when the offense started to stall late in the half. Protecting a seven-point lead, the defense was struggling to stop the Jags who moved the ball to the Cleveland 24. Then, Emerson secured his second pick of the day when he took one away that was intended for Calvin Ridley.

Cleveland's offense was unable to score off the first half turnovers but they got another opportunity to kick off the third. Jacksonville came out and made several mistakes to begin the third quarter, and on third-and-21, Parker Washington fumbled the ball away. Anthony Walker stripped it out and the Browns ended up going up 21-7 when Kareem Hunt took the snap from the Wildcat into the end zone.

All day, they made life miserable on the Jacksonville offense. Lawrence was under constant pressure and even without Denzel Ward or Juan Thornhill — plus seeing Delpit leave late in the game — the secondary kept rising to the occasion.