6. Denzel Ward
Denzel Ward was the lone bright spot in a Browns secondary that is really, really bad. He was often lined up against Cincy’s best option, A.J. Green, and all he did was frustrate the veteran all night, as Green managed just three catches for 29 yards.
With Ward as nearest defender, the Buckeye product was targeted 11 times, while allowing five receptions for 46 yards. He did allow a touchdown, and while we all want perfect games, they just don’t happen, even among the best.
Plus, there was this from NFL Next Gen Stats: Ward forced eight tight window passes on 11 targets as the nearest defender. Those eight tight window targets are the most in a game since 2017.
The secondary will be the cause of angst moving forward, though, as Burrow was able to pick apart Cleveland on short throws. The Browns are getting no pass coverage help from the linebackers and the secondary outside of Ward.
If this doesn’t change, things could get ugly as the Browns work deeper into their schedule.