Who needs offense when you have Myles Garrett?
The Cleveland Browns offense was hampered by poor play and then an injury to quarterback Deshaun Watson on Sunday. But Cleveland took a 27-21 lead into halftime thanks in large part to Garrett, who made three plays on defense that led to 17 Browns points.
Garrett got the party started with a strip sack of Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew in the first quarter. With Indianapolis leading 14-7, Garrett got pressure off the edge against left tackle Bernhard Raimann, who was helpless to stop him. He then wrapped up Minshew from behind and knocked the ball loose with his right hand.
The Browns recovered the ball at the Indianapolis 36-yard line and converted the short field into a touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.
The next Colts possession concluded with more Garrett-induced chaos, this time on special teams. The Colts’ drive stalled at the Cleveland 42-yard line, setting kicker Matt Gay up for a 60-yard field goal attempt. It never had a chance.
Garrett rushed up the middle this time, then leapt over long snapper Luke Rhodes to block Gay’s kick.
The play was legal. Garrett didn’t touch Rhodes or any Colts linemen to gain leverage. The block set Cleveland’s offense up at the Indianapolis 26-yard line.
The Browns didn’t gain a yard on the drive, but kicked a field goal to take a 17-14 lead.
Garrett wasn’t done. With Indianapolis leading 21-17 late in the second quarter, Garrett got pressure again on Minshew on a second-and-16 play from the Indianapolis six-yard line. This time, he beat a chip block from tight end Will Mallory then right tackle Blake Freeland off the edge to get to Minshew in the end zone.
He strip-sacked Minshew again, and linebacker Tony Fields recovered the ball in the end zone for a Browns touchdown.
The Browns have plenty to worry about on offense with an ailing Watson who’s been ineffective when he’s healthy. But their defense is in great hands with Garrett, who’s making a strong early case in the Defensive Player of the Year race.