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Los Angeles Rams at Cleveland Browns: Game notes

After getting a chance to rip through the film, here are Sosa’s takeaways.

Los Angeles Rams v Cleveland Browns Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams beat the Cleveland Browns 20-13 on Sunday Night Football in what seemed to be quite a sloppy game that ultimately went down to the wire. After reviewing the tape, I’ve come away with a lot of opinions/observations that I think will help explain what actually happened in the game.

Here are my takeaways:

  • Michael Brockers was absolutely outstanding in this contest. When the Rams let nose tackle Ndamukong Suh walk, they entrusted a lot of faith in Brock to return to the player we all knew he was, and so far, it’s paid off brilliantly. Brockers affected the game as a pass rusher on multiple occasions and was dominant in the run game
  • Most of the damage on the ground came against the Rams in subpackage formations and/or light box counts
  • Dante Fowler Jr’s incredibly relentless, giving all-out effort every rep. He had a major impact on the game with multiple pressures that forced Baker Mayfield to throw errant passes or move off his spot and not get a chance to throw to an open receiver. He’s also developed into an awesome weakside unblocked edge player as he routinely runs running backs down in those scenarios
  • The pass rushes by Fowler actually affected Mayfield so much he began to roll out of the pocket and scramble on plays where it wasn’t necessary
  • The Rams ran a handful of play action levels concept plays, and all worked tremendously. They should use it more often
  • The secondary played an outstanding game, as I didn’t really see many open receivers, and the times that they were open, Mayfield was generally affected by the pass rush. Slot cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman was pretty much the only member of the secondary who struggled as he was beat a handful of times in the slot for decent gains. The Browns had to manufacture whatever they could for the passing game with run-pass options (RPO’s)
  • The Rams had safety Eric Weddle and cornerback Marcus Peters operate in bracket coverage against Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. with the game on the line. Two plays, two positive results, and smart game-planning by Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
  • Quarterback Jared Goff did a great job maneuvering in the pocket to buy himself some extra time when needed, though he did not play a good game. On his first interception, Goff had wide receiver Brandin Cooks wide open for two seconds on a comeback route and was staring at him the entire time. For whatever reason, Goff held the ball for a lot longer than needed, allowing the cornerback to break back to Cooks and the ball, ultimately picking it off. Goff had an easy pitch and catch for 15 yards, and instead ended up with an interception. His chemistry is obvious with Cooper Kupp, though at times he can lock on even when other guys have more separation or are open. He also nearly threw another interception (well, a third) when a sinking zone defender left wide receiver Robert Woods wide open
  • The Browns love to run RPO’s. They got safety John Johnson III on three occasions for decent gains, though he was in the tough spot of choosing whether to defend the run or the pass. Majority of the Browns’ best gains came from these types of plays
  • First drive in the second quarter was very bad. Goff missed two open receivers on passing plays and the offensive line had a rough rep. Not to mention, the Rams had no hot receiver on third down when the Browns blitzed a ton of guys
  • The offensive line actually played great. The biggest gaffs were simple miscommunications usually between center Brian Allen and right guard Jamil Demby. To be fair to the young and inexperienced players who’ve never played beside each other, that’s fair to expect. Outside of maybe 4-5 plays where a specific OL was beaten (and the miscommunications), they played a solid game
  • The touchdown in the third quarter from the Browns seemed to be a miscommunication between the trio of safety Taylor Rapp, John Johnson III, and Marcus Peters. It’s hard to say who was at fault, though it looked like it was Rapp’s responsibility and he simply got caught staring into the backfield on an RPO

At the end, I believe the Rams played a very solid game that had a few mistakes included. The defense was outstanding on all three levels the entire contest. The offense had some minor gaffs, struggled to run the ball on occasion, and with Jared Goff making some crucial mistakes, that was ultimately enough to stifle what could have been a great offensive game.