The Cleveland Browns were able to upset their in-state rivals in the Cincinnati Bengals with a 17-6 victory this past Sunday, and it’s time to delve into some advanced statistics from the game and see what we can glean on the Cleveland Browns from the numbers in our weekly feature. The Browns looked absolutely terrific on defense, and this is clearly the strength of this team.
1. I would say that the Cleveland Browns benefited from facing an offense that shot themselves in the foot by executing poorly, but you obviously don’t shut down the Bengals offense with luck only. While the Browns barely got pressure on the quarterback, which is uncharacteristic of them, their secondary was absolutely phenomenal on Sunday. Joe Haden deserves to get the “Game Ball” for that performance, and he came into the game with plenty of well-deserved praise for Bengals elite wideout A.J. Green. But Haden, as he proved in Week 4, is one of the game’s finest corners, and he helped hold Green to just seven catches for 51 yards. That sort of production on 15 targets is absolutely nothing, and Haden put forward a scintillating display in coverage. If you crunch the numbers, Green averaged a meager 3.2 yards per target.
2. When a cornerback is able to shut down A.J. Green like that, then this rarest of performances has a massive effect on the Cincinnati Bengals offense. You can see it plain as day, as Andy Dalton averaged under five yards per pass attempt, had a QB Rating under 60, and he had a TQBR under 30. Great work from the secondary, no doubt about it.
3. How good was Haden(who is the LCB lined up on the offense’s right side)? Well, A.J. Green was 5-5 on the left side of the field. On the right? The superstar wideout was just 1-8.
4. Brian Hoyer was excellent and locked up the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback gig by completing 25 of his 38 attempts for 269 yards, which is an average of 7.1 yards per attempt (two touchdowns and no interceptions). His QB Rating? 103.9. His TQBR? 64.5. Another interesting thing to note is that he had a 0.29 WPA, per Advanced NFL Stats, which means that he added a 29% win probability to his team (a stat that is inherently skewed to weigh things more for QBs). Andy Dalton‘s WPA was a negative 0.21.
5. Hoyer has a very limited skill-set, though, and we all know he has a very weak arm. His game is predicated on short, quick passes that showcase Hoyer’s intelligence and accuracy, and his deep throws are just a disaster. During the game, the only region of the field (left, right, middle) where Hoyer attempted a deep pass was to the left, and he was awful when throwing it in that direction. Hoyer finished 3-9 on deep passes to the left, but he was 9-10 on short passes to the left. Go figure.
6. Evidently the Bengals were so afraid of the right side of the Cleveland Browns defense that they never even bothered to run a play to the outside on the right side (usually the strong-side) of the offensive formation.
8. The Cleveland Browns defended a whopping ten passes thrown by Andy Dalton, so he definitely lucked out in throwing just one pick. The Browns ball-hawking secondary was all over the place, as Buster Skrine and underrated safety Tashaun Gipson combined for three passes defended. Joe Haden? The blue-chip CB had two PDs of his own.
9. Does Oniel Cousins know what pass protection is? It looked like he turned a corner in Week 3 after a horrendous first two weeks of the regular season, but the well below-average backup right guard was back to his old self on Sunday. According to the Pro Football Focus, Cousins gave up eight pressures on the quarterback. On the bright side, he did a good job in the running game.