CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from Jan. 11, 2021.
Entering a divisional round matchup against the NFL's most potent passing offense, the Cleveland Browns' secondary received a big boost on Wednesday when the team activated cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Kevin Johnson from the NFL's reserve/COVID-19 list.
Ward and Johnson had each missed Cleveland's past two games, each of which came against the Pittsburgh Steelers. After beating Pittsburgh 24-22 in their regular-season finale to clinch a postseason spot, the Browns earned a 48-37 victory over the Steelers in last weekend's wild card round to advance to the AFC divisional round, where they'll face the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
The return of Ward and Johnson could prove pivotal as the Browns prepare to face a Chiefs offense that ranked first in passing in 2020. Headlined by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, Kansas City averaged 303.4 passing yards per game, with the reigning Super Bowl MVP Mahomes totaling 4,740 yards, 38 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Without Ward and Johnson in the lineup and Greedy Williams having missed the entire season due to a shoulder injury, the Browns secondary was forced to rely on veteran Terrance Mitchell and former practice squad player Robert Jackson at cornerback the past two weeks. On Tuesday, the Browns placed Jackson on injured reserve after the 27-year-old suffered a hamstring injury in Cleveland's victory over the Steelers on Sunday.