Oct 25, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine reacts after a penalty flag during the second half against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams won 24-6. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
After a week of rumors fueled by speculation that the Cleveland Browns’ defense had lost faith in coach Mike Pettine’s scheme, the team came out in Week 7 and played as poorly as you can imagine. Penalties, turnovers, and flat out bad play doomed Cleveland against the Rams. FoS has everything you need to know about the 24-6 loss.
Rapid Reaction, 1st Half: If you had told me that the Browns defense would hold the Rams to 108 total yards in the first half and be losing, I might have thought you’d taken your crazy pills. As bad has the Browns have been, that would be a great defensive effort.
Instead, the Browns ended the first half down 10-3, somehow. This game looked like a defensive match up early, given the offensive struggles especially of both teams all season.
The biggest factor was turnovers on each of the first two Browns possessions. First, Taylor Gabriel took a swing pass and had the ball ripped from his hands. Then, William Hayes, starting for the injured Chris Long, strip sacked Josh McCown. The Gabriel fumble was recovered by Rodney McLeod for a score and the Haynes sack lead to a Zuerlein field goal. Even with the early turnovers, the Rams were held to 3 total yards in the first half.
Todd Gurley is really, really good. He is everything the Browns thought they were getting when they drafted Trent Richardson. Hurley carried the ball 9 times for 45 yards and added 2 catches for 31 yards during the first half. The Browns defense has looked pretty solid against the run early, but Gurley showed why he was so highly drafted. That type of burst and power through the hole is what makes him truly special.
Anyone else see Josh McCown run into the wall when running out of bounds? I had flashbacks to Gus Frerotte head butting the wall after a touchdown and knocking himself out of the game. Luckily, McCown wasn’t hurt. His 13-of-16 start helped the Browns’ offense move the ball, but he hasn’t challenged the Rams’ defense deep, almost entirely because the Rams’ front made the Browns’ offensive line look dysfunctional. Three false starts and multiple blown assignments led to 2 sacks and 4 quarterback hits. The Browns were held to only 188 total yards themselves.
Next: Rapid Reaction: 2nd Half
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