As the Browns reviewed the tape from their 19-17 win over the 49ers on Sunday, there were a number of positives to take from the game, as well as areas they can improve. HC Kevin Stefanski said as a team, they embraced the challenge that the 49ers presented and used it as an opportunity.
"Really hard-fought, gutty win," Stefanski said on Sunday's win. "Proud of the effort from the players. Really proud of the game plan put together by the coaches. So, it was really a good outing for a bunch of people. And it wasn't perfect. It wasn't pretty, but I think you just saw a team battling and that's what you have to do against a really good opponent."
As the Browns head into a new week and begin preparation for Week 7's matchup against the Colts, let's look at the news and notes from Monday.
LB Anthony Walker Jr.
Stefanski said on Monday that Walker is in concussion protocol. The Browns announced during the third quarter of the game that Walker was being evaluated for a head injury, and then he was officially ruled out in the fourth quarter with a concussion. Walker recorded just one tackle during Sunday's win over the 49ers.
QB Deshaun Watson
Stefanski said on Monday that Watson is continuing his rehab process and making progress with his shoulder injury. He continues to be day-to-day as the Browns head into Week 7. Stefanski added that part of Watson's rehab process does include throwing, and they will see how he progresses throughout the week.
G Michael Dunn
According to Stefanski, Dunn is dealing with a calf injury, but he battled through the injury throughout the game as he filled in and started for G Joel Bitonio.
"He was unbelievable," Stefanski said of Dunn. "I mean, the way he fought through his injury, he wouldn't come out of the game, and you can see it on tape that he was fighting and just in the run game and in the pass game. He's a guy that we trust so much. He's played well when we put him in there. He is an awesome teammate, just an all-around good person. We're really pleased that he's a member of the Browns."
G Joel Bitonio
Bitonio is coming off a knee injury that he had a knee scope surgery on during the bye week. Stefanski said that Bitonio's knee continues to improve, and that he hopes to see Bitonio out at practice on Wednesday.
Bitonio missed his first game since Jan. 1, 2017, due to his knee injury. He had previously played 102 consecutive games and had a snap streak of 6,481 consecutive offensive snaps.
WR Cedric Tillman
Tillman was ruled out for Sunday's game against the 49ers with a hip injury, but Stefanski provided an update on Monday saying that he believes Tillman is "good to go."
Browns defense putting up historical numbers in first portion of the season
Through the first six weeks of the season, the Browns have showcased a high level of dominance defensively. The latest example came in the 19-17 win over the 49ers, limiting San Francisco to its lowest total in points all season, as well as in passing and rushing yards.
They are also putting up historical numbers. The Browns have allowed just 1,002 yards this season, which is the third fewest by any NFL team through the first five games since 1970. It's also the fewest allowed in Browns history through the first six weeks.
The Browns entered Week 6 leading the NFL in third down conversion percentage, as they have limited opponents to 23.1 percent (15-of-65) on third down. On Sunday, the Browns held the 49ers to 35 percent (3-of-12) on third downs.
The Browns aren't chasing certain stats and more focused on playing sound defense. They hold a mantra that they are the best defense in the league and strive to accomplish that goal. The numbers help demonstrate just how dominate of a unit they have been this season.
"That's what we break it down on each and every day. You know when we do our job, we win. And then it's we the best," S Rodney McLeod said. "I think for anything in life, you have to speak things into existence, and you have to manifest it. And it's just a constant reminder about who we are and what we're striving to be day in and day out. And everybody holds one another to that standard. And I love it."