Emmanuel Ogbah wasn't ready to call it his best game yet in the NFL. In fact, it might not have been his best game against the Bengals.
Still, Ogbah came away as one of the bright spots from Sunday's 23-10 loss to the Bengals after compiling 1.5 sacks and a couple of more quarterback hits.
"He is a young player that has emerged, and he is starting to have his arrow go up," Browns coach Hue Jackson said. "These young guys have been playing a lot. They start off going and learning how to play the NFL game and then you start making plays. Then you kind of taper off a little bit and then you hit it again."
That's a good way to describe the ups and downs of Ogbah's rookie season, which began with him playing more of an outside linebacker role but quickly shifted him back to his comfort zone on the defensive line.
It took Ogbah six weeks to pick up his first NFL sack but then he followed with two more the following week at Cincinnati. He carried that total into Sunday's game at home against the Bengals before adding to his team lead in the second quarter. He combined with Stephen Paea on the first before dropping quarterback Andy Dalton for a 10-yard loss on a drive that reached the red zone but ended with no points because of a missed field goal.
Ogbah remains the team leader with 4.5 sacks after Cleveland tallied four as a team Sunday.
"It was constant pressure," Ogbah said. "I have to give credit to the DBs back there. They were making them hold onto the ball longer, which allowed us to get back there to him."
If anyone saw it coming, it was Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
On Friday, Horton told reporters his last two words to Ogbah were "two sacks." He's been high on the rookie's progress throughout the year at a position where he's lining up against linemen much stronger and better than the ones he faced at Oklahoma State.
"I know he is strong, but you put on a different kind of strength in the NFL that some of it is just a will, want to, heart and determination and once you realize that these guys are grown men that you are playing with, it takes a little bit of an adjustment to that type of football," Horton said. "He is growing and he is getting smarter. That is the thing that is hard to quantify is how do guys and how you perceive what they are learning and what they are doing. Sometimes it is as subtle as learning how to take on a double team or where the guy is leaning. He is progressing."
Ogbah has three more games to enter the offseason on an even higher note than the one he notched after another big game against the Bengals.
"Hopefully, he will finish the season strong with making plays," Jackson said, "because we think this guy has a bright future ahead of him."