News & Analysis

Cleveland Browns 2018 season recap

By PFF Analysis Team
Feb 4, 2019

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Dec 30, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Breshad Perriman (19) celebrates with wide receiver Jarvis Landry (80) and quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) after catching a touchdown in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

During the NFL season, our team of 300-plus staff spend around 20,000 man-hours grading and analyzing every play of the NFL season, from the kickoff in the Hall of Fame game to the final play of the Super Bowl.

Now that the 2018 season is officially in the books, we can now take a look back at the season through the eyes of each NFL team and using the grades and statistics that we have compiled, we and detail what went right, what went wrong and explain what that team has to look forward to.

Below is the 2018 season recap for the Cleveland Browns.

Overview

The Cleveland Browns finished the 2018 season with a 7-8-1 record, bouncing back from an 0-16 campaign and instilling new life into their fan base.

What went right?
  • The Browns found their quarterback of the future. First overall pick, Baker Mayfield, lived up to the hype, finishing with a PFF grade of 84.5, good for ninth in the NFL. He showed the accuracy and big-play ability that made him PFF’s No. 1 player on the 2018 NFL draft board.

  • Fellow rookie Denzel Ward justified his No. 4 overall selection, finishing seventh among cornerbacks with a coverage grade of 83.6, though he did miss three games due to concussions.

  • Second-year edge defender Myles Garrett ranked 13th among with an 87.0 grade and he was one of only two defensive linemen to register over 1,000 snaps. His 15 sacks tied for third at the position.

What went wrong?
  • Failure to generate pressure on the quarterback outside of Garrett led to Cleveland ranking just 29th as a pass-rushing unit in the NFL.

  • Cleveland’s 169 missed tackles led to the worst team tackle grade in the NFL at 34.8, and the lowest recorded by PFF since 2011.
  • While Mayfield played well from start to finish, the scheme did not do him any favors early in the season and his passer rating increased by 27.3 points following the firing of head coach Hue Jackson.

Highest-grade player on Offense

RB Nick Chubb, 87.5

Chubb was efficient as a runner, averaging a league-high 4.5 yard after contact per rush and ranking second in the NFL with a 90.2 rushing grade.

Highest-grade player on Defense

Edge Myles Garrett, 87.0

Garrett tied for seventh in the NFL with 67 total pressures, including 15 sacks, 16 QB hits and 36 hurries. He also played well against the run, tying for  13th with an 80.2 grade.

Breakout Player/Secret Superstar

Guards Kevin Zeitler and Joel Bitonio were pivotal in the success of Mayfield and the passing offense they posted the top two PFF pass-block grades at the position. The duo combined to allow just 24 pressures on the season.

Key Rookie

The Browns had the most valuable rookie class in the NFL this season, led by Baker Mayfield ranking ninth among NFL quarterbacks, Nick Chubb finishing with the highest grade among running backs, and Denzel Ward ranking 15th among cornerbacks.

In conclusion

The Browns laid the groundwork for a bright future with their 2018 campaign.

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