Skip to main content

Team Coverage

Presented by

How the Browns defense can shut down the Titans offense

Browns Titans

Now that Week 2 is behind us, the Browns look forward to the matchup against the Titans at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

During the off-season, the Titans revamped their offense, adding veteran WR DeAndre Hopkins and WR Chris Moore. They also won their first game of the season with an impressive 27-24 overtime victory over the Chargers in Week 2.

The Browns' defense will face an improving offense that has had an excellent running game in recent years featuring the two-time NFL rushing leader RB Derrick Henry. He was the primary offensive weapon in the past, but with new OC Tim Kelly, the Titans now utilize multiple weapons.

One of those weapons in the backfield is rookie RB Tyjae Spears, who will provide relief for Henry. On Sunday against the Chargers, Henry played in 46 of Tennessee's offensive snaps, while Spears played in 24 snaps. Both players had productive games, with Henry making 95 all-purpose yards and scoring a touchdown and Spears averaging 6.1 yards per carry.

The Titans passing game made a complete 180 against the Chargers after struggling against the Saints in Week 1. QB Ryan Tannehill bounced back in Week 2 after a tough week against the Saints, where he threw three interceptions and no touchdowns. He finished with a Passer Rating of 28.8. Against the Chargers, Tannehill completed a 70-yard pass to WR Treylon Burks and a 49-yard pass to Moore. He also connected with Hopkins four out of five times. Tannehill finished with a 123.3 Passer Rating.

"Very physical group," head coach Kevin Stefanski said of the Titans offense. "Starts with the run game, getting a ton of touches for Derrick Henry, who's as good as anybody as there is - one man can't tackle Derrick Henry. They have a great boot action game, a great keeper game, run actions, play action shots down the field, screen game."

RB Kareem Hunt is returning to the Browns, who played four seasons in Cleveland beginning in 2019. In 2022 with the Browns, Hunt rushed for 468 yards and three touchdowns, while also adding 210 receiving yards and a touchdown catch. Hunt was a free agent this offseason.

The Titans offense played a great game against the Chargers' defense, but they are not the Browns. The Browns defense leads the league with a 46.8 completion percentage, while the Chargers give up 69.6 percent. The Browns also give up the third-fewest rush yards with 130, while the Chargers gave up 211 through two games.

The Titans offense had poor pass protection on Sunday against the Chargers, resulting in Tannehill being sacked five times, all on third or fourth down, killing drives. The Browns have the highest third-down efficiency rating in the league, converting six out of 29 attempts. They have only allowed 14 first downs this season, leading the league. 

"They gap you up, attack, penetrate, run and are fast," Titans HC Mike Vrabel said. "They have good players and force you to get in the line of scrimmage and block them."

The key for the Browns defense will be sacking Tannehill. Despite the Browns defense being at the top of most defensive categories, they are in the bottom half of the league in sacks. They have four sacks through two games this season. 

The opportunity for the Browns defensive line to take over the game will be there, as the Titans offensive line still has problems. Against the Chargers, on drives when they allowed a sack, the Titans had 27 net yards, five first downs and scored zero points in 26 plays. On drives when they didn't allow a sack, the Titans had 333 net yards, 17 first downs and scored 27 points in 39 plays.

"They are a fast defense," Tannehill said. "You see them flying around. They are an aggressive front. Their defensive line is strong with a bunch of talent. I have a ton of respect for the Browns defense."

Related Content