"Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Cleveland Browns' Ground Attack Takes on Denver Broncos' Defensive Wall!" - footballivenews
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“Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Cleveland Browns’ Ground Attack Takes on Denver Broncos’ Defensive Wall!”



The Cleveland Browns faced a tough challenge in their rushing game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, struggling to find consistent production. The ground attack had a 39 percent success rate, averaging 3.4 yards per attempt and totaling 96 yards (with 78 coming after contact). The Steelers’ strategy of stacking the box with 8 or more defenders contributed to the lack of efficiency, with Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt facing such situations on a significant percentage of their carries.

In fact, Jerome Ford encountered eight or more defenders on 33.3 percent of his carries (ranking 6th-highest), while Kareem Hunt faced this challenge on 50.0 percent of his attempts (ranking 3rd-highest). Consequently, the Browns posted their lowest rushing yard total since Week 4 against the Baltimore Ravens. Despite this, the Browns still maintain a strong season-long performance, ranking in the top half for various rushing metrics, including an 11th-overall running grade (80.9) and the 15th-highest EPA per attempt (-0.081).

Looking ahead to Week 12 against the Denver Broncos, there’s optimism for a rebound. In the 2023 regular season so far, the Broncos’ defense has struggled, allowing the 3rd-highest EPA per rush (-0.017), the 4th-highest rush success rate (43.3 percent), and ranking in the bottom 5 for explosive run rate allowed. This sets the stage for the Browns to capitalize on a potential “get right” game against the Broncos.

Taking a closer look at the Mile High defense’s performance during their recent four-game winning streak, here’s a breakdown of their metrics and rankings against the run in each game:

Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers:

– 137 yards allowed
– 5.1 yards per attempt
– Four explosive runs
– -0.079 EPA per attempt
– 44.8 percent success rate
– Six missed tackles

Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs:

– 62 yards allowed
– 4.8 yards per attempt
– One explosive run
– -0.248 EPA per attempt
– 23.1 percent success rate
– Five missed tackles

Week 10 against the Buffalo Bills:

– 188 yards allowed
– 7.5 yards per attempt
– Six explosive runs
– 0.145 EPA per attempt
– 60.0 percent success rate
– Six missed tackles

Week 11 against the Minnesota Vikings:

– 175 yards allowed
– 5.5 yards per attempt
– Four explosive runs
– -0.187 EPA per attempt
– 47.1 percent success rate
– 12 missed tackles

Additionally, the defense has been one of the least efficient overall, with the second-lowest rate of forcing a three-and-out (it’s worth noting that the Browns lead in this metric):

As evident from the data above, opposing offenses have found success in accumulating rushing yards against the Broncos’ defense throughout the season. With a potentially more open game plan that allows quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson to target intermediate and deep passes, the Browns’ rushing attack has the potential to thrive both in terms of quantity and efficiency. However, achieving this requires improved run-blocking from the offensive tackle position.

In Weeks 10 and 11, among the 62 qualifiers at the position, Geron Christian, the left tackle, ranks 60th in run-blocking grade (37.3), while James Hudson, the right tackle, ranks 58th (42.6). The rookie right tackle Dawand Jones hasn’t excelled in run-blocking either, holding the 69th position out of 77 tackles with a grade of 48.5 for the season.

If the tackles can effectively hold their ground against the Broncos’ defensive front, it not only ensures that Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt receive ample opportunities, but it could also create advantages for designed runs involving Thompson-Robinson. After all, he ranked in the top 11 among 106 qualifiers at the quarterback position in 2022 for first down percentage (41.0), Expected Points Added (10.35), and explosive runs (25).

*Expected points added (“EPA”) via Inside the Pylon: “Expected Points Added (EPA) is a football statistic that aims to measure the value of individual plays in terms of points. It calculates the Expected Points (EP) based on the down, distance, and field position situation at the start of a play and contrasts it with the situation at the end of the play. This framework helps translate raw gains into value.”

Please note that all statistics were gathered from Sports Info Solutions, SumerSports, rbsdm.com, and Pro Football Focus unless specified otherwise.

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