In Week 1, the Browns faced the reigning NFL MVP in Lamar Jackson and, despite pressuring him on 48.3 percent of his dropbacks — the second-highest percentage in the league — they were not able to slow down the Ravens offense.
This week, however, the Browns are facing No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow in his second career start, and that kind of pressure could have much more of an effect on the Bengals passing game.
When under pressure by the Chargers in Week 1, Burrow completed just three of his 10 pass attempts (30 percent) for 31 yards and quarterback rating of 40.0. He was sacked three times in that game and was under duress on 17 of his 44 dropbacks, (38.6 percent). When Burrow was in a clean pocket, the rookie showed great prowess, completing 20-of-26 attempts (77 percent) for 162 yards and a quarterback rating near 80. His completion percentage from a clean pocket was 11th-best in the league Week 1, while his 30 percent completion rate when under pressure ranked in the bottom third of the league.
The Browns secondary is definitely depleted, and the Ravens were able to take advantage of that in Week 1. The Bengals have an excellent receiving quartet featuring A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd (back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons), John Ross and Tee Higgins. Given that Greedy Williams (shoulder) and Kevin Johnson (liver) could miss their second consecutive games, it is critical the Browns are able to disrupt Burrow in the pocket. It is even more important they are able to generate that pressure with their front four so they can deploy seven defenders in coverage.
In Week 1, the Browns defense pressured the quarterback on 14 of his 29 dropbacks, and the defensive line totaled 13 of the team's 16 total pressures (multiple players pressured the quarterback on two plays). Myles Garrett (five) led the way, while Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon chipped in three pressures each. Larry Ogunjobi — who was Pro Football Focus's highest graded defensive lineman in Week 1 — and Adrian Clayborn each had one pressure against the Ravens, with Clayborn notching the lone sack for the defensive line.
The Bengals offensive line was graded as the fourth-worst pass blocking unit in the NFL in Week 1 by PFF and right tackle Bobby Hart allowed a league-high six pressures against the Chargers. Garrett, who rushed exclusively against the right tackle in Week 1, could have a monster game in primetime, as he and the defensive line will be counted on to dominate this game and disrupt Burrow.
Check out the best photos from the Cleveland Browns game against the Baltimore Ravens yesterday by the Browns photo team