NFL Week 4 Game Recap: Cleveland Browns 14, Minnesota Vikings 7 | NFL News, Rankings and Statistics | PFF

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NFL Week 4 Game Recap: Cleveland Browns 14, Minnesota Vikings 7

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass as Cleveland Browns linebacker Jacob Phillips (50) looks to tackle him during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns outlasted the Minnesota Vikings, 14-7, in Week 4 behind a dominant defensive effort and another impressive team-wide rushing performance. Thanks in large part to Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt’s combined 191 all-purpose yards, Cleveland’s offense did just enough to hold on for victory while the defense allowed just 136 second-half yards.

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Cleveland Browns

Quarterback

Kirk Cousins completed all six of his opening drive attempts for 59 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown toss. The optimism was short-lived, though, as he struggled for much of the rest of the contest, ultimately finishing with just 203 yards on 20-of-38 passing to go along with one interception and the touchdown. Cousins produced an average yards per attempt mark of just 5.7 yards and was uncharacteristically risky with the ball, as he finished with three turnover-worthy plays.

Target Depth Comp./Att. Yds Adj. Comp. % TDs
Behind L.O.S 5/6 15 100% 0
Short (1-9) 7/13 36 61.5% 0
Medium (10-19) 5/5 81 100% 1
Long (20+) 3/7 71 42.9% 0
Running Back

Dalvin Cook was largely ineffective Sunday, collecting just 34 rushing yards on nine carries before exiting after a reaggravation of his ankle injury. Alexander Mattison spelled Cook yet was similarly ineffective. He gained just 20 yards on his 10 attempts.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Justin Jefferson reeled in seven of his eight targets for 84 yards, including the team’s lone touchdown. He was especially effective moving the chains, picking up a team-high five first downs in the defeat. He was the only Vikings pass-catcher to collect more than four receptions or 50 yards.

Offensive Line

Minnesota’s offensive line failed to open up significant running lanes but performed adequately in pass protection. In the run game, the unit allowed almost instant penetration from the Cleveland defensive line. Minnesota rushers averaged just 1.1 yards before contact. The group was only slightly better in pass protection, allowing just two sacks in the loss. That had more to do with Cousins’ ability to get the ball out quickly, though, as the Vikings allowed 30 total pressures and seven quarterback hits.

Defensive Line

The Vikings' defensive line was effective in its pass rush yet failed to do much to contain the Browns' dynamic rushing attack. The group finished with 20 pressures, including three sacks. Edge rusher Danielle Hunter was especially impressive in the loss, registering a team-high seven pressures and one sack. The group was less imposing against the run, though. It finished with a unit-wide average depth of tackle of four yards.

Defender Pass-Rushing Snaps Pressures Sacks 
Danielle Hunter 36 7 1
D.J. Wonnum 27 1 0
Everson Griffen 23 5 1
Dalvin Tomlinson 21 3 1
Sheldon Richardson 17 2 0
Linebackers

Minnesota’s linebackers proved ineffective in their attempts to limit the Cleveland rushing attack and failed to make much of an impact as pass-rushers. The unit allowed 3.1 yards after contact to Browns rushers.    

Secondary

The Vikings' secondary may have been the team's strongest unit in Week 4, smothering the Browns' passing attack in the loss. The group didn’t allow a single Cleveland pass-catcher to finish with more than five receptions. Patrick Peterson drew a team-high five targets yet conceded just two receptions en route to a 52.1 passer rating allowed into his coverage.

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Minnesota Vikings

Quarterback

Baker Mayfield finished with just 155 yards on 15-of-33 passing but made enough key plays to lead Cleveland to victory. The former No. 1 overall pick consistently tried to work the ball downfield, with his passes going 11.5 yards downfield on average. Yet, he averaged just 4.7 yards per attempt. Mayfield was proficient at getting the ball to his playmakers in space, as 53.5% of his yards came after the catch.

Target Depth Comp./Att. Yds Adj. Comp. % TDs
Behind L.O.S 6/6 42 100% 0
Short (1-9) 4/8 26 50% 0
Medium (10-19) 5/9 87 66.7% 0
Long (20+) 0/6 0 0% 0
Running Back

Both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt continued their strong starts to the season as PFF’s second- and third-highest rated rushers entering Week 4. Chubb finished with 100 yards on the ground on just 21 carries. Hunt thrived in his complementary role, averaging almost five yards a carry on his 14 attempts. He ended with 69 rushing yards rushing to go along with 17 receiving yards. Both were particularly effective shrugging off would-be tacklers, as Chubb and Hunt collected 61% and 66.7% of their yards after contact, respectively.

Rusher Yds After Contact/Total Yds Missed Tackles Forced First Downs
Nick Chubb 61/100 1 5
Kareem Hunt 46/69 2 4
Wide Receiver/Tight End

Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashard Higgins tied for the team lead with seven targets, yet it was Higgins who did the most with his limited opportunities. He finished with 63 yards on four receptions in the win. Beckham was repeatedly targeted downfield, finishing with an average depth of target of 22.9 yards, but he failed to find much success. The star wideout collected just 27 receiving yards in the victory.

Offensive Line

The Browns' offensive line once again facilitated a fierce rushing attack while performing adequately in pass protection. The unit manhandled Minnesota’s defensive line to the tune of 4.8 yards per rush, including 1.7 yards before contact. The group was less proficient in pass protection, allowing 20 pressures — including three sacks.

Defensive Line

Myles Garrett picked up right where he left off last week, collecting a team-high seven pressures, including a third-quarter sack of Cousins. The former No. 1 overall pick also excelled against the run, notching a team-best two tackles for loss.

Linebackers

The Browns' linebackers negated much of the Vikings' ability to get consistent offense going through the air or on the ground. Malcolm Smith was the standout of the group, racking up eight total tackles and the unit’s lone tackle for loss.

Secondary

Cleveland’s secondary shook off a poor opening possession to hold Minnesota’s passing attack to just 190 yards through the air. Troy Hill may have been the unit’s most imposing member, seeing a team-high six targets yet surrendering just two catches for 20 yards and forcing a game-high two incompletions. 

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