Game Day

Larry Ogunjobi leads another big-time performance from Browns defense

Larry Ogunjobi views his weekly matchup, whether it be against a guard or center, as a chess match. It evolves as the game progresses. By the end, he wants to be the one providing more "checkmate" moments.

"I just like to play my game," Ogunjobi said. "You just react and learn as you're going against your opponent throughout the game and then you adapt. That's the biggest thing."

Ogunjobi had more of those moments Sunday than he's ever had in an NFL game. The second-year defensive tackle delivered two sacks, both of which came on third down. The plays helped take points off the board from a potent Saints offense, which the Browns limited to just 275 yards of offense and 21 points in a gut-wrenching, 21-18 loss.

"It'd feel better," Ogunjobi said, "if we won."

Though the Browns continue to search for their first win of 2018, there's been so much to like from a defense that has controlled the line of scrimmage, forced plenty of takeaways and kept two of the league's perennially potent offenses below their traditional averages.

See the best photos as the Cleveland Browns play the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Week 2.

Cleveland recovered two fumbles, both of which were forced by cornerback Terrance Mitchell, and sacked future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees three times -- all coming on third down. Ogunjobi would have had three by himself if not for a costly, illegal contact penalty called on safety Derrick Kindred, nullifying a play that would have forced the Saints to punt midway through the fourth quarter.

"I thought that the defense all day, for the most part, did some great things," Browns coach Hue Jackson said. "You hold that offense with those players that they have over there to what we did (is an accomplishment). I don't know what the final stats were. I thought that we were controlling the line of scrimmage at times. I thought that we controlled the passing game at times, so I thought that (our defense), they did some good things."

On the season, Cleveland leads the NFL with eight takeaways (three interceptions, five fumble recoveries). The Browns are tied for fourth with seven sacks.

Ogunjobi, who was a reserve most of last season and supplanted his role as a starter after Trevon Coley suffered an injury during training camp, leads the team with three.                                            

"My man was amazing," defensive end Myles Garrett said. "He had a great game and that's what we need from him. All the guys on the D-line, we've got to rise to the occasion."

The Browns defense, which could be potentially without starters Emmanuel Ogbah and Christian Kirksey for a second straight game, will take every big play Ogunjobi can provide from the middle of Cleveland's defensive line. The next chess match is just a few days away, when Cleveland hosts the Jets for Thursday Night Football at FirstEnergy Stadium.

"I'm just trying to play my game, trying to do whatever I can to help my team win," Ogunjobi said. "Obviously I've got to do a little more. Just come back next week. Football is one of those games that doesn't let you soak on things too long. We've got to flush this one and be on to the next one."

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