This week I’m sure that is the case. For one thing, the Browns only brought four rushers the majority of the game. For another, the Ravens did the majority of the damage in the second half on the ground. In fact, Baltimore only attempted eleven passes in the second half. Eight of those attempts came in obvious passing situations (3rd and long and one first and 22).
So here are the numbers for this week. I will keep tracking them this season unless I don’t think that they are useful. Here is a reminder on the method.
I went through each pass attempt and counted the number of players that appeared to be rushing the quarterback. Inside linebackers that are keying on the running back aren’t counted as rushers, only players that are after the QB.
Here are the totals.
The Browns sent four rushers a total of 24 times. Baltimore converted six of those into first downs. The Browns sacked Joe Flacco twice while bringing only four, and batted down a pass. They also stopped a swing pass for negative yards.
Nine time the Browns rushed five players. Baltimore converted six of those plays into first downs. Cleveland batted down a pass while rushing five, and stopped a WR screen for a negative gain.
Twice the Browns brought six rushers. Once the pass was incomplete, and the other was a five yard touchdown pass.
The Ravens attempted eleven passes on third and long (more than four yards to gain). The Browns rushed just four on nine of those plays. Four of them were converted into first downs.
Here is the cumulative chart for the season through week two.
If you are looking for a pattern, the biggest one I found is on second and long (seven or more yards) where the Browns predominantly rush only four. That would seem to make sense, and likely would be the trend around the league I would imagine. It does raise the question whether Horton’s defense is ‘attacking’ as much in Cleveland as it did in Arizona.
Keep in mind that even though the Browns may be bringing four rushers on the majority of pass plays, those four rushers aren’t always the same. The three down linemen usually rush, although we have seen a few zone time blitzes in which the defensive ends and even the nosetackle have pulled back into a zone.
The nature of the defense is to keep the offense off balanced, not knowing which players are coming on a given play. All six of the Browns sacks this season have come on plays in which they only rushed four players.
Rookie Barkevious Mingo saw his first regular season action this week and recorded his first sack. Desmond Bryant and Jabaal Sheard shared a sack.