2. Ravens defense makes a stand
The biggest storyline coming into the Ravens’ Week 12 matchup with the Browns was how the defense would hold up against the run game.
The Browns came in leading the NFL in rushing yards with one of the best backfield duos in the league with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
And they would have to do it without Calais Campbell, one of the best defensive linemen in the league, who was out with a concussion.
In the postgame conference, Marlon Humphrey said the team’s goal was to hold the Browns to 80 yards rushing.
The defense exceeded those expectations and held the Browns to just 40 yards rushing. Nick Chubb, a top-three running back in the league, was held to eight rushes for 16 yards.
This was a remarkable performance for a defense that has caught a lot of heat the last few weeks. Odafe Oweh and Tyus Bowser were men amongst boys. They continuously harrassed Baker Mayfield in the passing game.
The Browns love to use Chubb in outside zone schemes, however, neither edge rusher allowed him to bounce outside for huge gains.
Sunday night was also a perfect example of Tyus Bowser’s value to the Ravens. Not only was he applying pressure on Mayfield all night, but he was very stout in coverage.
In fact, he ended the game playing one-on-one man coverage against David Njoku. Njoku is one of the most athletic tight ends in the league, and the fact the Ravens trusted Bowser to cover him is a testament to his value.
He has become a leader and a true chess piece on this defense. When Campbell and Jimmy Smith get back, look for the defense to continue to improve.
The Ravens will need it as they come towards the toughest stretch of their season.