The Cleveland Browns came into Sunday with two consecutive wins but the narrative was that it was against bad teams in Cincinnati and Washington so many that cover the league didn’t know how to judge the 2-1 Browns.
After Sunday, many should think and expect that the Browns are going to be a tough team to beat in 2020 and perhaps beyond.
Yes, it was against a bad Dallas defense and yes, they almost blew a 27-point lead in the fourth quarter but the Cleveland defense stepped up and made a big play when it was needed the most. The Browns won 49-38 and are now 3-1 for the first time since the 2001 season.
Odell Beckham Jr. had the best game of his Browns career with seven offensive touches (5 catches, 2 carries) for 154 yards and three touchdowns and likely silenced the critics at least for a while who said he needs out of Cleveland and is better off with another team and another quarterback.
The chemistry between Beckham and quarterback Baker Mayfield has been getting better in the last few weeks and if they can keep building on it each game and each offensive series, who knows how dangerous can become.
However, the biggest story on the offense continues to be the running game. As long as the running game continues to dominate defenses, this should and will be the Browns calling card until defenses can figure out a way to stop it.
Even with Nick Chubb going down with a knee injury early in the second quarter, it was a next man up approach and it showed from the moment Chubb had to leave the game. Reserve running backs D’Ernest Johnson, Dontrell Hilliard and of course Kareem Hunt each stepped up and carried the load in Chubb’s absence.
The 304 rushing yards by the Browns were the most since 2009 when they rushed for 351 yards as a team and their 818 yards through four games (204.5 per game) currently leads the NFL and is on pace to break the record set by last year’s Ravens for the most rushing yards by a team in a single season (3,225 yards).
Who knows if they can stay on this pace especially with some tough defenses on the horizon including the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers in the next two matchups but with defenses having to focus on the running game as well as Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, and the tight ends which should be getting David Njoku back from injury soon, it’s going to be interesting to see how defenses will look to slow this high-powered Browns offenses as the 2020 season moves forward.