It is true that the Cleveland Browns scored 31 points on the offensive side of the ball on Sunday. After only scoring 16 points in the first 2 games, we matched that in the first two quarters under quarterback Brian Hoyer. But the bigger story is probably on the other side of the ball. The Browns’ defense stopped the leagues most prolific rusher in Adrian Peterson and the up and coming quarterback in Christian Ponder.
The Brown’s held Peterson to just 88 yards and 1 touchdown after his 100 yard game in Chicago and his 2 touchdown game against the Lions. The Browns front seven has now kept the rushing numbers to only a total of 253 yards over the first 3 games. That ranks for 7th in the league right now, but that’s not even the best stat. They are 2nd in yards per attempts in the NFL with 2.8, trailing only Denver. This run defense is getting praise from all over the country with the additions of Kruger and Mingo from the offseason and the draft. They also recorded 6 sacks on Sunday and are tied for 3rd with 12 total sacks on the year.
The pass defense also had a sign of hope with an interception from TJ Ward and a strong attack by the corners. Buster Skrine, who has a reputation for making bad plays, did a great job on Sunday including deflecting two passes in the end zone to stop touchdowns. The secondary has been said to be terrible but if the front seven can hold the run, the secondary can only get better with time. Their strong showing against the Vikings only shows they are getting there.
The one thing that could help the defense is a stronger offensive. They say that defenses win championships, but when your defense is constantly on the field, it is pretty tough to get something going. After the Browns’ traded away Richardson and named Hoyer the starter, fans believed that the season would be over, but if the Browns are able to stay this defensively sound they could be looking at an 8-8 season.