As the Cleveland Browns look to climb back from a 2-5 start to the season, a Monday night beatdown of the Cincinnati Bengals will go a long way toward building team morale. Coming away with a 32-13 victory over the Bengals, the Browns now advance to 3-5 on the season as they enter their bye week with the Miami Dolphins on the horizon.
The Browns have now played two games in a row for a full 60 minutes, even if they did not come away with a win over the Baltimore Ravens a week ago. Here we will take a look at individual performances in this game that helped contribute to a complete team win.
Who stood out the most in this game on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball for the Browns?
LB Sione Takitaki
Cleveland Browns Sione Takitaki
Linebacker Sione Takitaki has been thrown into a couple of new roles this season as the Browns have not been even the slightest bit healthy at the second level of their defense. Missing both their starting MIKE linebacker Jacob Phillips and WILL linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Takitaki was forced to play out of position against the Bengals.
And he may have just played himself into a new position.
As Takitaki was asked to play MIKE and a bit of WILL, he stacked together his best performance as a member of the Browns. Takitaki has always been known for being a disciplined and assignment-sound player, but SAM linebackers generally only see about 15 snaps per game.
The Browns will continue to search for their long-term answer at MIKE, but they may have found it in Takitaki as he flew all over the field on Monday night. He is due to hit free agency this offseason, and the Browns would be wise to prevent that from happening.
WR Amari Cooper
Cleveland Browns Amari Cooper
After a drop on an open look over the middle of the field and an ugly interception on a trick play gone wrong, wide receiver Amari Cooper rebounded nicely for the Browns. He finished the game with 131 yards and a touchdown on five catches as quarterback Jacoby Brissett found his number one option with frequency in the second half.
Cooper is on pace for about 1,200 yards this season, as the Browns continue to look like they robbed the Dallas Cowboys by exchanging just a fifth round pick for his services. With their second-leading receiver in tight end David Njoku out, more emphasis was added to Cooper, and he found ways to win anyway.
As the Browns look to stack wins out of the bye week against the Dolphins, they will rely heavily on Cooper once again.
DE Myles Garrett
Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett
Spooky season, indeed.
Myles Garrett’s Halloween celebrations are well-documented, but he partook on the field as well against the Bengals. Racking up a plethora of pressures, Garrett found his way to Bengals’ quarterback a total of six times on the evening, tallying 1.5 sacks. He is now up to 7.5 sacks on the season in just seven games played.
He is back in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation as he has racked up 4.5 sacks over the last three weeks alone. An alien, a player like Garrett may not come around for a while, as he can bend the edge or work through tackles at 275 pounds.
To add to his scary evening, Garrett also got his hands on a football that resulted in an A.J. Green interception as well. All-in-all, Garrett continues to play like the All-Pro that he is. And this should be no surprise to those who tune into Cleveland Browns’ football week after week.
RB Nick Chubb
Cleveland Browns Nick Chubb
Myles Garrett was not the only player instilling fear into the Bengals on Halloween, as running back Nick Chubb also dressed as The Punisher on the evening. Chubb continues to lead the league in rushing, now sitting with 841 yards and a massive 10 rushing touchdowns on the season.
Every time the Browns needed a big run, Chubb busted one. This included a massive gain on a 3rd and 6 in the second half. The Browns were certainly setting up a fourth down play call by running it on third and long, but Chubb ripped the run for a big gain anyway out of shotgun to take the decision off of his play caller’s plate.
Nobody hands the football to their running backs more than the Cleveland Browns, and Chubb is on pace for a career year in not only yards and touchdowns but in carries as well. With Brissett set to start three more games for the Browns, this will be the recipe to stay in front of the sticks.