The rain poured down all game long as the Cleveland Browns played the St. Louis Rams at home Saturday night, losing by a final score of 19-17. The rain certainly played a factor in the game too, at least against the Browns.
Things got off to a rough start on the team's first offensive play of the game. Jake Delhomme took the snap and sort of bobbled it before handing it off to Jerome Harrison. Harrison gained four yards and lost the football, but the referees ruled that he was already down by contact. On the second play, Harrison fumbled the ball again, but thankfully the ball squirted out to Joshua Cribbs to prevent a turnover. It was a sign of things to come in the rest of the first quarter.
On the Rams' first drive of the game, A.J. Feeley marched his offense down the field rather quickly for a touchdown as he kept connecting with his tight ends over the middle. On the Browns' second drive, Delhomme fumbled on the second play and the football was recovered by the Rams' Fred Robbins. Due to a hand injury to Feeley on the first drive, first overall pick Sam Bradford entered the game. St. Louis tacked on a field goal to make it 10-0, getting off to a similar start that the Browns did last week.
On the third offensive drive for the Browns, Delhomme was sacked on a third down play when Billy Yates missed a block. The Browns forced a quick punt on the Rams' next drive, but the fumble woes continued as the ball was lost by Joshua Cribbs on the punt. The Rams recovered and eventually tacked on another field goal to make it 13-0 late in the first quarter. After that, the Browns started to click.
With Peyton Hillis in at running back, Delhomme led the Browns down the field for a touchdown, finishing things off with a pass to Ben Watson in the back of the end zone. Watson did an amazing job hauling in the one-handed pass, as the play was originally called incomplete but was overturned after a challenge. Delhomme saw two more series and was fairly effective, leading the Browns to a field goal before the half to make it 13-10.
Seneca Wallace got to play with the first-team offense to start the second half. There was a stretch when Hillis ran the ball on five consecutive plays for 25 yards, before the drive was capped off by a nice 15-yard touchdown pass to Cribbs. That gave the Browns their first lead of the game at 17-13.
After that, the game was pretty boring if you're a Browns fan. The Rams just dominated the time of possession against the Browns' second-string defense, putting two field goals on the board to take a 19-17 lead. Colt McCoy was the third quarterback into the game, but he finished 0-for-2 and was sacked twice. Brett Ratliff came into the game with a chance to run the two-minute offense. He made some pretty darn good throws to try to lead the Browns down the field, but Carlton Mitchell either wasn't looking or dropped the pass on two consecutive plays. The game was officially over when Ratliff was picked off on a third down play.
Overall, it wasn't as bad of a game as it could've been given the team's start in the first quarter. I guess it's a good thing to practice under the elements though, and one thing you can take out of this game is that Hillis will be getting a lot of reps on the ground this season. I'll have my full, in-depth recap up tomorrow.