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Paul Kruger starting to live up to his big contract with Browns

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A dominant day against the Raiders boosted Paul Kruger's sack totals in a year when he's emerged as the Browns top pass rusher.

I don't want anyone to think that just because I didn't award him with Hoss Of The Week honors this week that I missed Browns outside linebacker Paul Kruger's big day against da Raidahs. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I thought it was one of Kruger's best games in his career.

The Browns signed Kruger for mucho dinero last year in hopes that he could provide a big time pass rush for the team. Coming on the heels of his last season with the Ravens when he had nine sacks, last season's total of four and a half in sixteen games with the Browns had to have been a bitter disappointment for both him and the team. Well Browns fans, with three sacks against Oakland on Sunday, Kruger has already surpassed his 2013 output with five sacks in just seven games. He might just be worth the money after all.

Kruger had two of his sacks on first downs and he helped end the game with a sack on a third down play with just 40 seconds left in the game. He did have one gimme sack where the Raiders' offensive line just left him unblocked, but as I always say, they don't come with an asterisk beside them. A sack is a sack, forever and always. Bigger than that he made the most of his free rush by blowing Raiders quarterback Derek Carr the hell up and forcing him to fumble the football deep in his own territory.

On his first sack, which came in the second quarter, he was able to bat away Raiders right tackle Menelik Watson's hands and then rip outside to get around him. Once he was free he turned on the jets and put Carr on the turf with the quickness.

On his last sack Kruger actually lined up inside as a defensive tackle and beat Raiders right guard Austin Howard with a stutter to window wiper hands move to the outside and dove at Carr's legs to make him trip and fall down.

Along the way, Kruger also forced Raiders running back Darren McFadden into an errant throw on an attempted halfback pass. He also beat tight end Mychal Rivera inside with a swim move and was still able to react well enough to a run toward him that he corralled running back Maurice Jones-Drew in the backfield for a loss of four yards.

That was one helluva day for a guy in whom a lot of expectations have been heaped on because of his fat contract. If Kruger keeps up that level of production, I think a lot of those doubters will start to come around.