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Browns' defense shows why it's 'best in the world' in win over 49ers

The Cleveland Browns gave up one long touchdown drive to open the game against the San Francisco 49ers, then essentially slammed the door shut en route to a 19-17 victory over the previously undefeated Niners.

"We say it all the time. We're the best in the world, as a defense and particularly as a secondary," Browns corner Greg Newsome II said after the victory, via the official team transcript.

The 49ers zoomed down the field, going 84 yards on five plays for an opening-drive touchdown, aided by 30 yards in Cleveland penalties. The Browns held San Francisco to 10 points and 161 yards of offense the rest of the way.

"We just came to the sideline (coach Jim) Schwartz was like, 'That's their only one,'" Newsome said of the first drive. "Everyone just started doing their job, what we do every day at practice. They didn't give us anything new. They are a team that is going to stick to what they do. We just did our job, and we were successful."

On the following 12 drives, the Browns D forced four 3-and-outs, a 4-and-missed FG (following an offensive interception), and picked off Brock Purdy for the QB's first INT of the season.

The Browns held San Francisco to 215 total yards of offense, the fewest by the 49ers under Kyle Shanahan, and broke their streak of at least 30-point outputs at eight.

"That's that swagger. That's that swagger that Jim has brought and helped bring out of us," Myles Garrett said. "Not just on the defensive end, but all throughout the team and that kind of confidence we exuded it all through the week. I think you all just seeing the beginning of it and just starting to take notice. But we always bring that type of energy, and no matter who's on the field, we know we can bang with anybody."

Browns' new defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz, has long had Shanahan's number. The DC is now 8-1 against a Kyle Shanahan-led offense (only win was as OC in Houston versus Schwartz's Titans in 2008, a 13-12 victory). In nine games, Schwartz's defenses have held Shanahan's offenses to 15.8 points per game, 319.4 total yards per tilt, 28.3 on third downs and 2.0 turnovers per contest.

Sunday, his defense was able to rattle Purdy enough to get some mistakes from the young QB. The Niners QB finished 12 of 27 for 125 yards with a TD, an INT, and took three sacks.

Yes, the Niners saw a host of playmakers go down Sunday, including Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel. Still, it's not as if the Browns were playing with a stacked deck, given a practice squad quarterback P.J. Walker was under center (threw two INTs, including one that led to an 8-yard TD).

The Browns also got bailed out by rookie Jake Moody botching a 41-yard field goal that would have won the game for San Francisco after the defense allowed San Francisco to drive into range on the last possession. But sandwiched between the first and final drives, Cleveland's defense commanded the contest.

"We know who we are," Garrett said. "We made a statement to everyone else, but to us, we knew what we had in our building in our room and continued to just play the game that we know we can play. These guys are very confident, and rightfully so. And we're going to continue to ball."

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