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Browns' aggressive mentality on both sides of the ball on display throughout win over Denver

The decision, ultimately, didn't work. The Browns went for it on fourth down late in the action Saturday in Denver and came up short.

Denver had new life, a chance to win, an opportunity to crush Cleveland's fleeting playoff hopes. Instead, the Browns defense rallied behind the aggressive mentality that's been a calling card of the entire team throughout the second half of the season. It was their turn to pick up the offense.

In the moment, coach Gregg Williams had no regrets, and he certainly didn't in the aftermath following Jabrill Peppers' game-sealing sack.

"The big thing was, we came up here to win the ball game," Williams said. "I don't think anyone was ever worried about me not being aggressive. We came up here to win it. Offensively, we were going to win it right there. If not, defensively we're going to come back and do it, pretty similar to how we finished the game on defense going all-out blitz.

"That's the aggressive nature of this team. They accepted it very well."

That all-out blitz came with plenty of risk, too. All blitzes do. But the down and distance made it especially perilous, as the Broncos needed just a few more yards, not even a first down, to get inside the realistic range of Denver kicker Brandon McManus, whose career long is 57 yards.

Peppers, though, was confident he would deliver what Williams envisioned with the call. Still, even the second-year safety referred to the blitz as "wild."

"I absolutely knew I was going to break that play up," Peppers said. "I knew I was going to be free around the edge. I almost had (Broncos QB) Case (Keenum) earlier, he was stronger than I thought, so the second time I made sure to wrap him up."

Asked after the game if Cleveland was the most aggressive defense he's faced all season, Keenum simply said, "yeah."

The numbers back it up, too. According to Pro Football Focus, Keenum was pressured on 33 percent of his dropbacks and completed just 4-of-14 passes for 30 yards with two interceptions and two sacks.

That aggressive mentality has been absorbed by players on both sides of the ball.

"Bring the pressure and trusting your defense to make plays. That's a gutsy call but they made plays," quarterback Baker Mayfield said. "Peppers, they freed him up and he had a sack. It's huge."

In Week 4, the Browns faced a similar situation in Oakland, where it could have won the game with a fourth-and-short conversion. Ultimately, the Browns punted, and the Raiders came back to win the game.

The defense was put in a similar situation in Denver, but it came about from a different set of circumstances. The group entered the field with confidence, and it delivered by playing with the same, aggressive mentality that played a big part in the Browns being in position to win the game in the first place.

"He has complete confidence in us whether on offense or on defense, that we were going to make the plays we were supposed to make," defensive end Myles Garrett said. "He knew that if they didn't make it then we would get the stop. We proved him right."