Browns players had plenty of big plays to discuss in the locker room after a blowout win over the Bengals on Monday.
There was Amari Cooper's incredible deep ball catch in the fourth quarter (as well as his INT that fortunately didn't cost the Browns). There was the direct snap touchdown run by Nick Chubb. The diving touchdown run over the pylon from QB Jacoby Brissett.
Most players, though, were discussing what OT James Hudson III did on their 2-point conversion in the second quarter.
It happened after Chubb's direct snap touchdown, which the Bengals followed with a penalty on the extra-point. That allowed the Browns to take their chances with a 2-point play to go up 8-0, and Stefanski dove deep into his playbook to pull it off.
Seven offensive linemen were sent out on the field. Hudson, the second-year backup tackle, was one of them. He started on the right side of the line, and then was sent in motion around to the left.
The ball was snapped as Hudson was still jogging over. His eyes were fixed on Bengals LB Akiem Davis-Gaither, who was holding the right side of the Bengals' defense.
Davis-Gaither set his feet in anticipation for Hudson — but he stood no chance. Hudson acted like a human battering ram, lowering his head and shoulder right through Davis-Gaither and clearing a path for Chubb to sneak into the end zone once more.
When the play was over, Hudson pointed to the Browns bench and sprinted over to celebrate with his other offensive line teammates, who were jumping with joy.
RT Jack Conklin was in the play and couldn't see it unfold live, but he said after the game that "I heard he killed him, which is awesome."
Come Monday afternoon, Conklin said he had watched the play "a couple times."
"He wrecked him. It was awesome to see him do that. Those are the types of plays you look back at. Just the power and physicality of it."
Guys from O-line and DE Myles Garrett all stopped by Hudson in the locker room after the game to gush about the hit. Hudson said he "spoke (the play) into existence" and visualized the play when he knew he'd be going into the game.
"It's something I could possibly get used to," he said.
Stefanski specifically mentioned Hudson's energetic celebration as something he'll remember.
"Just watching James Hudson running off the field after that 2-point conversion, really goes to show you how much those guys love competing and play that physical brand of football," he said.
The Browns celebrate after a win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football on October 31, 2022 at FirstEnergy Stadium.
A career-performance for Takitaki
The Browns benefitted from several standout individual efforts on both sides of the ball Monday,
No player might've had a bigger performance than Sione Takitaki.
The fourth-year linebacker sparked one of the Browns' two takeaways when he swiped the ball from QB Joe Burrow. DT Tommy Togiai fell on it, but Takitaki was just getting started.
He finished the night with a team-high 13 tackles and added a tackle for a loss. He was also credited with a sack on the Burrow strip, solidifying what was likely the best performance of his career. The Bengals were held to just 36 rushing yards and didn't have a run for over 7 yards, and much of that is because Takitaki was always around the ball.
"When opportunities come, you want to take advantage," he said. "I feel like wherever I can help, and the coaches felt like I was the next guy up, kind of just went out there and did my job. I felt like that is all I was doing, getting the calls from the sideline, coaches calling some great plays and I was just out there doing my job. It was fun to be out there with the guys."
Takitaki played 45 snaps, his second-highest snap count of the year, and made them all count. His workload has increased with the losses of Anthony Walker Jr. and Jacob Phillips in the linebackers room, and his showing Monday could lead to an even bigger role in the future.
"He's done a really nice job," Stefanski said. "In the past, he's been our base linebacker and then not in there in some of the sub-packages, but he's always ready to go the moment we would need him.
"It's an increased role, and he's doing his job, I think that's where it always starts. He's doing his job, he's where he is supposed to be and then he's tackling well. There were a bunch of moments where they were checking the ball down to their running backs, and he was right in position and got them on the ground."
The Browns fortunately came away from their win with no new injuries, and they're hopeful to return a few key pieces who were missing Monday after their Week 9 bye week.
TE David Njoku (ankle), CB Denzel Ward (concussion), LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (knee) and RG Wyatt Teller (calf) will all have another 13 days to rest up before the Browns are back in Week 10 against the Dolphins.
"Nothing new to add with Denzel," Stefanski said. "All of those guys are progressing. They are all heading in the right direction. Again, this bye week is helpful that they can use these extra days. All progressing, and I'm hopeful on those guys."