BEREA — Myles Garrett is on pace for 16 sacks this season, but it won't be enough for the defensive end unless he truly dominates more often.
"I need some more highlight games, some games that you go back and you're like, 'He took over,' " Garrett said Friday. "The [season opener against the Pittsburgh] Steelers might have been one of them, but I need some more of those."
Garrett had two sacks, two forced fumbles and a pass defensed in the 21-21 tie with the Steelers. His next opportunity to make a splash will come Sunday when the Browns (2-2-1) host the Los Angeles Chargers (3-2).
Seven-time Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers led the Chargers to a 19-10 win over Garrett and the Browns last season in Carson, Calif., and managed to avoid being sacked by No. 95.
"You want to know where guys like that are so you can be aware and so you can try to do what you can to handle them if you need to do anything extra protection-wise," Rivers said during a conference call.
Garrett pays close attention to how quickly or slowly a quarterback releases the ball. He said Rivers falls somewhere between the last two quarterbacks he faced, Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders and Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens. Garrett had a half sack against each of them.
"Sometimes [Rivers will] hold it, and sometimes he'll get it off just as quick as Carr," Garrett said. "So it just depends. If he wants to make a big play, he'll hold onto it, and if he needs to make a big throw, he'll step into it, and that will take a couple more ticks."
The No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft, Garrett is tied for fifth in the NFL with five sacks. Three players are tied for first with six sacks.
"I think I can go for [the league lead] this year," Garrett said.
Told Browns defensive line coach Clyde Simmons led the NFL with 19 sacks in 1992 as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, Garrett said, "Oooh, might have to pick it up then."
Garrett's mission to rack up sacks has caused him to take the advice of Simmons, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith about how to better anticipate when the center will snap the ball. Trying to get the best possible jump has resulted in three offside penalties and a neutral zone infraction Garrett insisted he can tolerate.
"More than a couple times I've been right with the ball," he said. "I might have been a little bit too fast for the ref, so he might have to catch up to me. Going back and watching, it's definitely close, and I'm going to keep on walking the line. I've got to avoid the ones where it's obvious. But the ones where it's 50-50, I'm going to take those every time."
The Chargers have detected signs of Garrett's growth from his rookie season until now. After missing five games last year because of a high-ankle sprain and a concussion, he has 12 sacks in his first 16 games.
"He was a heck of a player last year," Rivers said. "He has even improved. The thing that impresses me is his ability. He's not just your 'line up at end and rush' [player]. He can do that with the best of them, but his ability when he's stemming down to the A gap and doing so many different things in there in the blitz packages, he still finds a way to relentlessly rush."
"The biggest difference is you're seeing other people get more involved winning one on ones, and you just can’t always slide the protection to Myles," Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said on a conference call. "There are going to be some times when you got to leave him out there one on one with the tackle — we have a pretty good tackle — but that isn't a good thing to do all day with a guy like Myles. He's an elite rusher."
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read his Browns coverage at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.