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3 Big Takeaways: Greedy Williams waited years for a moment like Sunday's

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The Browns are 3-1 for the second straight season, but this Week 4 performance couldn't have been more different than last year's.

In 2020, the Browns scored their third win by scoring, scoring and scoring some more in a wild shootout with the Cowboys. On Sunday, the Browns just needed to hit double digits to come away winners in the 14-7 defensive battle with the Vikings.

That's why we're honing our focus on the defense in this edition of 3 Big Takeaways, and it starts with one of the biggest plays in Sunday's win.

 

1. Greedy Williams waited years for a moment like Sunday's

Greedy Williams wasn't thinking about 2020 — his lost season because of a frustrating shoulder injury — after Sunday's game.

He wasn't even thinking about 2019 — his rookie season that included 12 starts.

It was 2018 that came to mind when Williams met with reporters after the Browns' 14-7 victory. That was when Williams, the former LSU star, last had an interception. It came early that season, too, so Williams had plenty of reason to feel like he was long overdue to get the ball in his hands.

"I slept on it all night," Williams said.

Williams ended that drought at a pivotal moment in Sunday's win. 

With the Browns clinging to a 14-7 lead after a Chase McLaughlin field goal, Williams gave the ball right back to the offense on the first play of Minnesota's ensuing drive. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins looked long, and Williams followed the ball from the moment Cousins released it. Williams tracked it perfectly and stepped in front of Adam Thielen to secure the pick.

Williams jogged the ball all of the way to the back of Cleveland's end zone and celebrated with his teammates, who were equally thrilled to see Williams make one of the biggest plays in the Browns' third straight win.

"It's been long, it's been long," Williams said. "This here feels amazing."

That kind of effort and play-making is what the Browns expected from Williams, who was the easy answer to replace Greg Newsome II when the rookie went down with a calf injury. Though Williams missed all of 2020, he showed so much promise as a rookie in 2019, when he beat out multiple veterans for the starting job in training camp and held his own in 12 starts alongside Pro Bowler Denzel Ward.

Williams, though, was on the wrong end of the competition in training camp this year. No matter, Williams stayed ready and embraced his role on special teams, where he was singled out as one of the team's top performers Week 3.

It's unclear if Williams will be called upon again next week when the Browns travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers. For now, he won't soon forget Sunday — a performance that was truly years in the making.

"Getting this opportunity and taking advantage of it is kind of a blessing," Williams said. "Without my support — teammates, family, God — I wouldn't be here right now."

2. 3rd-and-20? No sweat for Kareem

The Browns looked to add points at the end of Sunday's first half when they took possession with 45 seconds to play. Then it looked like they were simply trying to run out the clock after their first two plays went backward, resulting in a third-and-20 from their own 26-yard line.

A couple of cuts and more bulldozing running from Kareem Hunt changed everything, and the Browns ultimately got the additional points they desired.

"I knew it was third-and-20, I heard the play come in and said, all right, just get what you can get," Hunt said. "Then I was like, 'let's go get the whole thing.'" 

Hunt's 33-yard run on third-and-20 was a literal game-changer, as the Browns moved into field-goal range on the following play. McLaughlin nailed the kick, and Cleveland's one-point lead turned into a much more palatable four as the teams retreated to the locker room.

"It was huge," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said.

Over the past two games, Hunt has 251 yards of offense and two scores. Both games featured a run of more than 25 yards. Sunday's run was the longest play of the game by either team and yet another example of Hunt's danger to opposing defenses.

3. Chase-ing Points

The Browns don't want to have to keep settling for field goals, but McLaughlin has served as quite a weapon over the past two games.

McLaughlin is a perfect 7-for-7 on the season, and the degree of difficulty on his attempts hasn't gotten any easier. He made both of his kicks — with plenty to spare — from 48 and 53 yards to give the Browns just enough insurance in Sunday's defensive battle.

McLaughlin is the first Browns kicker to make three field goals from 50+ in a season since Phil Dawson, who had seven in 2012. McLaughlin has 13 more games to match or exceed that total, but the Browns would obviously prefer to see less of McLaughlin and more touchdowns.

 Deontay Wilder Will Knock Out WBC Champion Tyson Fury Within Six Rounds On Oct. 9 

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Deontay Wilder will stop Tyson Fury in the first half of their third fight on Oct. 9, according to Wilder’s manager, Shelly Finkel.

Wilder will “conclusively” regain his WBC heavyweight title from Fury said Finkel, who considers “The Bronze Bomber” to be “on that level” with four other champions he’s guided — Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali.

“I believe Deontay is going to knock him out in under six rounds,” said Finkel, 77.  “There won’t be any reason for a fourth fight. I think you’re going to see a very dominant performance from Deontay, and I think he will end the fight conclusively, and then we can move on.”

The 6-foot-7 Wilder (42–1–1, 41 KOs) is facing the 6-foot-9 Fury (30–0–1, 21 KOs) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on ESPN+/Fox joint pay-per-view, having battled “The Gypsy King” to a draw in a December 2018 defense of his crown before being knocked out and dethroned via seventh-round TKO in their February 2020 rematch.

“In the last fight, Deontay got a little bit arrogant, thought he could just do this or that, and he’s learned from it,” Finkel said. “He’s told me that it may be among the greatest experiences he’s ever had and needed. I think Deontay is going to knock out Tyson Fury within the first six rounds.”

Wilder dropped Fury once each in the ninth and 12th rounds of their first fight, but was floored himself in the third and fifth rounds of his loss to Fury.

“Tyson is working on putting more power in the right hand and actually in both hands,” Fury’s trainer, Javan “Sugar” Hill-Steward, said exclusively to Zenger on Thursday.

“It’s to the point where he’s become a fighter who has one-punch knockout power. The first fight went 12 rounds, and the second fight went seven, so I want to start this fight like it’s round No. 20.”

Deontay Wilder (left) “was losing big-time” to Luis Ortiz in their rematch in November 2019 “but he knocked him out,” said Wilder’s manager, Shelly Finkel. “When that happens, you can have the puncher’s curse. You feel like you can always bail it out. But Deontay has not cut corners” for his third bout with Tyson Fury on Oct. 9. (Premier Boxing Champions)

Finkel said Wilder has learned from mistakes made against Fury as well as in his pair of victories over Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz, whom he led by one point en route to a two-knockdown, 10th-round TKO in March 2018.

Wilder was losing to Ortiz during his come-from-behind one-knockdown, seventh-round knockout in November 2019.

“Before the loss, he was able to do whatever he wanted to do. In the second Ortiz fight, for example, if he didn’t knock him out, he was losing, big-time. But he knocked him out, and when that happens, you can have the puncher’s curse. You feel like you can always bail it out,” Finkel said.

“In some ways, I feel that Deontay had developed the puncher’s curse in that he singularly depended on his punches. Like Deontay used to say: They need 12 rounds, I need two seconds. So then you start to depend on that, and you start to cut corners. But Deontay has not cut corners this time.”

Wilder’s new trainer, Malik Scott, said “The Bronze Bomber” has improved his “speed, strength and physicality on the inside,” and will stop Fury “inside five rounds,” or “can win a 12-round decision.”

“Deontay is not going to be bullied or pushed around like he was in the last fight,” Finkel said. “I believe that Deontay knows what he’s got to do to control this fight. You’re talking about a fighter who is 6-foot-7, and he’s like a big Tommy Hearns.”

“Deontay is a much different fighter. Much heavier, and he has trained much harder,” Finkel added. “His bench-pressing has improved to around 350 pounds. Deontay is going to surprise people with his physique and how solid he looks. If Deontay can’t beat Tyson Fury this time, then it’s just that he can’t beat Fury.”

Deontay Wilder retained his WBC heavyweight title with a draw against Tyson Fury in December 2018, was bloodied and dethroned via seventh-round TKO in February 2020 and has a third bout with “The Gypsy King” on Oct. 9. “Deontay is not going to be bullied … like he was in the last fight,” said Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel. (Premier Boxing Champions)

Wilder, who bled from his left ear during the rematch, at one point stated that Fury had cheated by adjusting and manipulating his gloves to the point where his fingernails were exposed enough to cut him.

“Everyone knows what it is about the gloves,” Wilder exclusively told Zenger, regarding videos that were circulated on social media and Youtube.com. “We’re going to make sure nothing like that happens in this next fight.”

Said Finkel: “There was doubt about the gloves and [Fury] doing things, but we’ll be more careful than we were before, and I don’t think that will matter in this fight.”

Fury retorted during a virtual press conference on Wednesday in Las Vegas.

“I don’t really make much of the excuses that were flying around for so long. I think they just made him a weaker character and less of a man and less of a fighter because when you get beat, you get beat,” Fury said.

“I hope he brings a better fight because [our] last fight was disappointing, to say the least. I trained for an absolute war, and it was a one-sided beatdown, so hopefully he can give me a challenge.”

Twice named Manager Of The Year by The Boxing Writers Association Of America, Finkel said Wilder looks “better than I’ve seen in the 14 years I’ve been associated with him,” comparing him favorably with four-time heavyweight champion Holyfield, 58, former champion Tyson, 55, and the former champion Klitschko siblings, Wladimir, 45, and Vitali, 50, who reigned simultaneously for two years, five months and 13 days between 2008 and 2012.

“Deontay is on that level in terms of size, strength and power, and he’s actually learning more now that he’s lost,” Finkel said. “In the 14 years or so that I’ve been with Deontay Wilder, I’ve never seen him train like this. He’s the best I’ve ever seen him to be, physically and mentally.”

Female Boxer Claressa Shields Challenges Jake Paul to Match

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Could we be in for a match between Jake Paul and Claressa Shields?

On Thursday, (Sept. 30), boxer Claressa Shields called out Jake Paul and challenged him to a match. Notably, Claressa Shields is the only boxer in history to simultaneously hold four major world titles in two different weight classes. She also has two Olympic gold medals.

Claressa Shields called out Jake Paul by stating:

“Jake Paul gets inside a boxing ring with me, he’s getting his a** whooped! And look, Jake Paul is gonna say a lot of stuff. He’s gonna say ‘Oh, she’s a woman, I would never fight a girl. It’s a lose-lose because if I beat her I’m a woman beater’–that’s what he gon’ say. Well look, this is the truth: I am a decorated female fighter. I’m the motherf**king GWOAT. I saw him make that post today with Amanda Serrano, he needs to know that I’m the GWOAT. Me and Amanda Serrano share that sometimes because I have a lot of love and respect for her, but I feel like when he said it he was being petty, so that’s just my word to him. I’m the GWOAT, and I been that.” Claressa Shields continued, saying she’d also be open to sparring with Jake Paul instead … Full story on #theJasmineBRAND.com