Let's get straight to the point.
The Cleveland Browns are the worst in the NFL at stopping the run. The Rams want to run the ball. The Rams have had an extra week to gameplan. The Rams have Todd Gurley. Many reasonable minds could conclude that this is a very favorable matchup for the Rams in Week 7.
The Browns are no pushover. Since losing 31-10 to the Jets in Week 1, the Browns have gone 2-3 while having lost their three games by a combined 13 points. Their pass defense is about average in terms of yards allowed and yards per reception, but they have allowed the most rushing yards in all of the league. Only San Diego is yielding more yards per carry (5.4).
Anyone with eyeballs can tell you that the Rams' pass offense is horrid. That means the Rams must once again ride RB Todd Gurley and company (is Tre Mason alive?) all game if they want to secure themselves a victory. Let's take a quick look at the game by game rushing stats allowed by the Browns:
A few quick notes: The Browns' two wins came in their two worst performances yardage-wise (TEN, BAL). They've faced 30 carries or more in all but one game. Cleveland has allowed eight runs of 20+ yards and three runs of 40+ yards. Update: Todd Gurley has five rushes of 20+ and two of 40+ this season.
Springing Running Backs to Life?
Chris Ivory, Dexter McCluster, Latavius Murray, Danny Woodhead, Justin Forsett, and Ronnie Hillman were all the leading rushers for their respective teams vs. the Browns. A few of these RBs found their breakout game (or only good one) against the Browns.
- Dexter McCluster: Rushed 10 times for 98 yards vs Browns. Has totaled 20 carries for 58 yards in his other four games
- Latavius Murray: Rushed for 26/139/1 vs Browns. Had splits of 26/109/1 in two games before CLE and 28/88/0 in the two games that have followed.
- Danny Woodhead: Topped 11 rush yards in three games in 2015. His 54 on eight carries vs CLE is a season best for him.
- Justin Forsett: Rushed for 21/121/1 vs Browns. Though he went for 150 yards the week before vs PIT, his only TD has come against CLE.
- Ronnie Hillman: Rushed for 20/111/0 vs Browns. Take away his 11/103/1 performance against MIN and Hillman had went 35/109/1 in his other four games.
(Chris Ivory went for 20/91/2 against the Browns)
Rams Running Game
Since Todd Gurley has been fully implemented in the lineup starting in Week 4, the Rams' rushing yards total has more than doubled per game. After dipping since the Seattle game, the carry totals are also on the uptick.
- Week 1 vs SEA: 26/76/2
- Week 2 @ WAS: 13/67/0
- Week 3 vs PIT: 18/71/0
- Week 4 @ AZ: 26/164/0
- Week 5 @ GB: 36/191/0
The Rams only rushing touchdowns have come from Nick Foles and Tavon Austin but they have finally committed to
the run game Todd Gurley, regardless of the score, and are starting to resemble the smashmouth team they have billed themselves to be for years.
As long as Gurley is good to go, the Rams should easily become the sixth team in seven games to post 30+ carries.
Gurley is averaging 5.7 yards a carry, and as long as he is getting the volume of carries, he should put up some monster yards. If Tre Mason can't get on the field vs the Browns then A) Gurley lit the turf on fire, and B) he's in the doghouse or C) the Rams are getting blown out. I'd even expect Benny Cunningham to get a few carries.
Once again, this is a very good match-up for the Rams.