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Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski: Cleveland defense 'playing lights out' through three weeks

Jim Schwartz's defense in Cleveland has opened the season terrorizing opponents through three weeks.

Sunday's 27-3 smothering of the Tennessee Titans encapsulated the dominance. The Browns allowed a measly 94 total yards (68 passing, 26 rushing) and six first downs, held Tennessee to 2 of 12 on third downs, gobbled up five sacks and allowed one drive of more than 35 yards. The Browns held Derrick Henry to 20 rush yards on 11 carries in Week 3, the running back's second-fewest rush yards in a game he had 10-plus carries (had 13 rush yards on 13 carries in Week 7, 2017, also at Cleveland).

"I mean our defense is playing lights out," head coach Kevin Stefanski said Sunday, via the team's official transcript. "So, from the players to coach Schwartz, the defensive coaches. We're playing at a high level. Now you have to continue to play at a high level. Every week is going be a different challenge. But the way we stopped the run, which we knew -- we know that when you're playing Tennessee, you have to stop the run and you got to stop it getting off the bus. And I thought the guys did a really nice job knowing what the challenge was in front of us and I thought they stepped up to the challenge."

Through three weeks, the Browns have boasted the best defense in the NFL. They've allowed 335 total passing yards and 156 total rushing yards. After Monday night's games, they could rank first in both categories. Their 14 first downs allowed are the fewest in the league (No. 2 is the Rams at 14, who have only played two games thus far). Cleveland's 3.5 net yards allowed per pass attempt is nearly one yard fewer than No. 2 on the list (Baltimore/San Francisco 4.3).

Schwartz's attacking defense fit perfectly on paper this offseason. They've proved it on the field through three weeks. The additions of Ogbo Okoronkwo, Za’Darius Smith, Dalvin Tomlinson and Shelby Harris up front have been a home run thus far.

But Myles Garrett remains the straw that stirs the Browns' drink. He dominated Sunday, generating 3.5 sacks, eight QB pressures and a forced fumble.

"I don't know. I'm running out of things (to say about Myles)," Stefanski said. "Teams come in here and they say, don't let 95 wreck the game. And he continues to do it."

Next week, Lamar Jackson and the rival Baltimore Ravens head to Cleveland, a much bigger test than they faced Sunday.

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