4 Downs: Ode to P.J. Walker, the dominance of Jim Schwartz, and the sought-after ugly Browns win

They did it. The Cleveland Browns have shocked the world, beating the undefeated San Francisco 49ers by a score of 19-17. Starting practice squad quarterback P.J. Walker, they mustered up enough points for Jim Schwartz and his unit to do the rest. Ultimately it came down to a missed field goal from Niners’ kicker Jake Moody, but the Browns advanced to 3-2 on the season nonetheless (and made our entire Browns Wire staff look dumb in the process).

The Browns have lacked an ugly, gritty win. The Pittsburgh Steelers do it time and time again under Mike Tomlin and have done it twice in the AFC North this season alone. Niners’ head coach Kyle Shanahan routinely won games with C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullins under center. And now head coach Kevin Stefanski notches a much-needed gritty win with his back against the wall on his resume.

Welcome back in to another edition of 4 Downs, which always go down smoother after a Browns win. Enjoy it, Cleveland!

1st Down: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is building an All-Pro case

Browns 49ers P.J. Walker Jim Schwartz
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

There is always one down that is designated to a particular player that stood out in the game. And linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah continues to stack a dominant season for the Browns. And now more than a quarter of the way through the season, it is safe to start calling it like it is:

The third-year linebacker is having an All-Pro season under Jim Schwartz. In this game, he registered five tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack, two quarterback hits, and a batted ball.

If you see a blur on your screen, there is no need to wipe it off, it is probably just Owusu-Koramoah exploding into the backfield. In this game, he even showed the savvy to deep drop over the middle of the field, almost intercepting a perfectly anticipated Purdy throw. He has been a massive lift this season and is one of the prime benefactors of the reshaped defensive front.

And we still have 12 games to go.

2nd Down: Browns find success on the ground for first time since Nick Chubb's injury

Browns 49ers P.J. Walker Jim Schwartz
Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns finally found some success on the ground, and it was due to some much-needed nuance. Trap, inside zone, pin and pull, and more, the Browns kept the Niners’ defense on their heels, and while it might have been a slow burn, were able to create space in the run game for the first time since the injury of Nick Chubb. And they even found the endzone on a nifty tendency breaker off of the Harrison Bryant quarterback sneak look.

All in all, the Browns ran for 160 yards on the ground. 84 of those came from Jerome Ford on 17 carries, while Kareem Hunt toted the rock 12 times for 47 yards. They broke their tendency of just running outside zone and adapted their attack to match that of their personnel (as I have been yelling for them to do!), and it paid off for the Browns.

Nick Chubb is not walking through those doors in 2023, so the Browns need to continue to make do with what they have.

3rd Down: Jim Schwartz advances to 9-1 against Kyle Shanahan

Browns 49ers P.J. Walker Jim Schwartz
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

It was a massive talking point coming into the week.

Jim Schwartz was 8-1 against Kyle Shanahan. Correction. Jim Schwartz is now 9-1 against Kyle Shanahan. In classic Shanahan fashion, he did a pretty good job of getting the ball out quickly to protect Brock Purdy, but the Browns buckled in on first and second down, forcing the Niners and Purdy to call some deeper drops. This allowed for Schwartz’s defensive line to do what they did.

While Myles Garrett will not show up on the stat sheet, the tape will reflect that he beat Trent Williams time and time again as those around him ate. The cornerbacks, for the most part, lined up and hit their receivers in the mouth. Who knows the reason, but Schwartz has the number of Shanahan and has had the number of Shanahan for quite some time.

4th Down: This team will not back down from anyone

Browns 49ers P.J. Walker Jim Schwartz
Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

It started with some pregame shoving and early fireworks, and it ended in a Browns win. For the first time in quite some time, this team has the feelings of a team that will not back down from anyone. Not even the 5-0 49ers with their backs against the walls.

And because of this, everything the Browns want this season is still in front of them. They now sit at 3-2, take on the Indianapolis Colts and their backup quarterback Gardner Minshew next week, and face eight AFC opponents over their last 12 games.

The Browns are right where they want to be. One week at a time, but the Browns will not turn down the opportunity to advance to 4-2 on the season as they travel to Indianapolis next week.

Extra Point: An ode to P.J. Walker

Browns 49ers P.J. Walker Jim Schwartz
Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Listen, it was not perfect or even pretty. P.J. Walker threw two pretty bad interceptions and got away with another one that would have ended the game in a 49ers’ win. However, Walker proved he can play within himself (for the most part) and lead scoring drives. The Browns and Stefanski mustered up 19 points with Walker, and that is no easy task.

Despite an up-and-down showing, and some throws that he should not have made, Walker deserves his flowers. He stared into the teeth of an NFL juggernaut and did not back down for four quarters. He made quality throws in there as well! That takes a dawg mentality, that takes a different mindset to do so.

Hopefully, the Browns do not have to rely on him next week, however.

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Story originally appeared on Browns Wire