CLE-BAL Grades: Browns' O-line solid in win
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Cleveland Browns 33-30 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
– The left side of the Browns’ line was a key reason for Cleveland’s upset of the Ravens. LT Joe Thomas (+5.6) is making a strong case for being the best at his position after another dominant game. He allowed just a hit and a hurry in 64 dropbacks, and finished second on the team with a run blocking grade of +2.1. Thomas wasn’t even the Browns best lineman however, with LG Joel Bitonio (+6.1) taking that honour. Bitonio wasn’t as effective in pass protection, allowing a sack in his 64 drop backs (+1.9 grade), but finished with easily the team’s best run blocking grade (+3.4). Cleveland’s offensive line in general was a big reason for their success; the unit combined for a +6.3 grade in pass protection and a +6.7 grade in the run game.
– One free agent addition who is yet to make an impact is DE Randy Starks (-4.4). This was his worst game as a Brown. Starks was shut out as a pass rusher, despite playing 25 run snaps, resulting in a -0.9 grade in that facet of his play. It was in run defense where he struggled in particular however, recording a -2.6 grade, which put him in the bottom three on the team. In contrast to the impressive performance of the Browns’ offensive line, the defensive line struggled throughout the rotation. The six players to take snaps combined for a -5.7 grade in run defense and had just a solitary hit between them.
– The Browns’ defensive rookies flashed against the Ravens, but both NT Danny Shelton (-1.6) and OLB Nate Orchard (0.0) had ultimately only average grades. Shelton graded positively in run defense, making three defensive stops and generating some good penetration against C Jeremy Zuttah, but was shutout as a pass rusher and had a foolish unnecessary roughness penalty where he gave the Ravens a new set of downs on the goal line. As for Orchard, he generated an impressive two hits and batted a pass in just 10 rushes, but failed to make any stops in the run game, resulting in a -1.5 grade.
LG Joel Bitonio +6.1
LT Joe Thomas +5.6
RT Mitchell Schwartz +2.0
HB Isaiah Crowell +2.0
SS Donte Whitner +1.9
– LT Eugene Monroe (+5.9) looked like a man on a mission on his return from injury. Just in time too, considering James Hurst (-0.0) was our bottom ranked OT through four weeks. Monroe gave up just a solitary hurry in 38 dropbacks, and finished with a run blocking grade of +3.8. Partnering him on the left side, Kelechi Osemele (+5.0) was not far behind his teammate. The only blip in pass protection was the sack he gave up to Armonty Bryant, although that was the only pressure he gave up in 38 drop backs.
– ILB CJ Mosley (-4.1) had his worst-graded game since entering the NFL in 2014. As a run defender, he made just a pair of stops in 26 snaps and was generally easily blocked at the second level, resulting in a -2.5 grade in that facet of his play. That makes a stark contrast to his rookie season, where he avoided grading in the red throughout the entire year and only graded negatively in five games. As a pass rusher, he had just a single hurry in 17 drop backs. Finally, in coverage, he allowed 7-of-10 targets to be complete for 103 yards.
– With the Ravens’ pass rush struggling without Terrell Suggs, an injury to Elvis Dumervil (+2.9) was the worst case scenario. Despite playing just 21 of 90 snaps before injury, Dumervil finished as the highest-graded Baltimore defender. He had a pair of stops against just four rushes, and had a hit and pair of hurries in 14 McCown passes. His replacement, Jason Babin, finished with a -4.7 grade, including his trademark three-penalty game, and recorded just a solitary hit.
LT Eugene Monroe +5.9
LG Kelechi Osemele +5.0
TE Nick Boyle +3.2
OLB Elvis Dumervil +2.9
RT Ricky Wagner +2.5
CB Ladarius Webb +2.5