The Browns weren’t able to get into the end zone for the entirety of the game, yet they still had chance to take the lead with just over 2 minutes left in regulation. However, a bounced snap led to Phil Dawson losing his timing and sending a 22 yard field goal wide left. Dawson was a perfect 4-4 before the 4th quarter and the Browns entered the final period with a 12-10 lead. It was Josh Brown who put the Rams back on top with a 34 yard field goal of his own, which ultimately ended as the game winner. In a battle of defense and special teams, it shouldn’t surprise many that a missed field goal would end it. Conditions were windy for much of the day and each team featured some of the worst offensive stats going into the game.
It was not a completely wasteful day for the Browns who had a few bright spots highlighted in this game. The defense continued to be excellent, and after keeping Sam Bradford in check for most of the game, they now possess the number one pass defense in the league. The second year quarterback was held to 155 yards and was picked off by Fujita. However, he did throw a second quarter TD to Brandon Lloyd which ended up being the only TD of the game for either team. Not surprisingly, the Rams relied very much on offensive standout Steven Jackson. He ended the day with 27 carries for 128 yards, and added another 23 yards in the passing game.
Offensively, Colt McCoy had one of his better games of the season. He completed 20 of 27 for 218 yards and did not turn the ball over once. The crippled running game was once again without Hillis and Hardesty, and Hillis has already been ruled out next week. Chris Ogbonnaya once again drew the start, but fared much better than he has all season, rushing for 90 yards on 19 carries. Of course, this was the worst run defense in the league, so keep your expectations tempered. Greg Little is starting to prove he is the best receiver on this team after hauling in 6 catches for a career high 84 yards.
Next week Cleveland will host Jacksonville in what should be another defensive battle. The Jags are coming off their 3rd win of the season, but similar to the Browns, they have played most of their opponents very close. Similar to the Rams, the Jaguars have a struggling passing game (worst in the league) but have an All-Pro running back in Maurice Jones-Drew. The pass D shouldn’t have much trouble against rookie Blaine Gabbert, so the key to stopping their offense is by stopping MJD. Colt McCoy did better than I expected this week, but this Jaguar secondary is very solid (5th pass D in league). With Hillis out once again and Hardesty still in the air, the Browns will likely need to win this game through the defense.