The Cleveland Browns lost by a final score of 24-6 to the St. Louis Rams, as they were victimized by fumbles on offense and some questionable penalty calls that helped put the game out of reach late in the third quarter. The loss dropped them to 2-5 on the season.
The offensive woes began on the team's first series. On QB Josh McCown's first pass of the game, he threw a bubble screen to WR Taylor Gabriel. CB Janoris Jenkins read the play, beat his block, and got his helmet on the football right away, forcing a fumble, which S Rodney McLeod scooped up and returned 20 yards for a touchdown. On the Browns' next drive, McCown was stripped of the ball on third down. Cleveland's defense held tough, holding the Rams to a 35-yard field goal by K Greg Zuerlein. St. Louis led 10-0 mid-way through the first quarter.
The Browns then strung together their longest drive of the game that extended into the beginning of the second quarter, but they had to settle for a 25-yard field goal by K Travis Coons, cutting the Rams' lead to 10-3. The Browns got the ball first in the second half and had back-to-back big plays, but then the drive stalled, leading to a 44-yard field goal by Coons to cut it to 10-6.
Cleveland's defense was holding pretty tough. The turning point of the game came with about 5:30 to go in the third quarter. On 3rd-and-9 from their own 43 yard line, McCown hit WR Travis Benjamin for about a 35-yard gain down the sideline, which would've set the Browns up at the 22 yard line. The play was called back due to a questionable holding penalty on LT Joe Thomas, and the Browns had to punt.
Then, for the first time all game, QB Nick Foles got aggressive and attacked CB Pierre Desir downfield. First, he got Desir for a 26-yard pass interference penalty. On the next play, WR Kenny Britt beat Desir for a 41-yard gain, down to the 1 yard line. RB Todd Gurley punched it in for the score on the next play, giving the Rams a 17-6 lead.
The Browns were moving offensively near the start of the third quarter. McCown had just completed a pass to WR Travis Benjamin in to Rams territory, but then Benjamin took a big hit and fumbled with the Rams recovering. A 16-yard touchdown run by Gurley put the game away for good at 24-6.
Before it was all said and done, McCown left the game with a possible head injury, so let the speculation about QB Johnny Manziel run rampant again. Cleveland's next game is at home against Arizona next Sunday.
- QB Josh McCown: 26-of-32 (81.3%) for 270 yards. 2 fumbles lost.
- RB Duke Johnson: 6 carries, 17 yards (2.8 YPC). 7 catches, 73 yards.
- TE Gary Barnidge: 6 catches, 101 yards.
- 11 penalties for 98 yards for the Browns. 4 fumbles lost.
- RB Todd Gurley: 19 carries, 128 yards, 2 TDs. 4 catches, 35 yards.