The Rams played much better to start the game against the Browns, but then they began to play worse as the game went on. The Rams were saved by their special teams, which provided three turnovers for the offense and allowed the Rams to kick 4 field goals. The Rams recovered 5 turnovers and did not lose the ball once and they won the game by the score of 19-17 over the Cleveland Browns. Here are my notes and observations from the game.
AJ Feeley moved the offense down the field on the first drive with 45 yards passing. Steven Jackson had 4 rushes for 20 yards on the drive. Feeley went to the locker room after his first drive with a right thumb injury. He did not return to the game.
The Rams offensive line played better early on in the game, opening holes for Steven Jackson, but their play deteriorated as the first half went along. Most of the Rams offensive line is returning from injury, so it is possible that they were dealing with a bit of fatigue as the game wore on.
More as always after the jump!
It rained the whole game which could have contributed to the Rams receivers having trouble catching the ball and the Rams conservative play calling.
Jake Delhomme fumbled the snap on the Browns second possession, recovered by Fred Robbins which led to a Josh Brown field goal as Sam Bradford took over at quarterback.
Fred Robbins had a sack in the 1st quarter. That play was the most consistent pass rush the Rams got with their first team front four.
Mardy Gilyard had a slick 23 yard punt return on his first NFL preseason touch. He wasn’t featured much on offense as he saw his first action since returning from a wrist injury. He also had a few kickoff returns. He dropped the ball the first time he got his hands on a pass and was not looking another time he was targeted.
Josh Cribbs fumbled on a punt return, recovered by Chris Massey, long snapper lead to another Sam Bradford-led field goal. Steptoe lost the other fumble for Cleveland.
Sam Bradford did not have a line to write home about as he went 6 for 14 for 24 yards, but he was handicapped by the offensive line putting the Rams in 2nd and 3rd and longs and was not getting any help from his receivers. He also did not have the benefit of working with Steven Jackson. Bradford returned for the second half and led the team to a 3 and out before giving way to Keith Null.
To say the Rams ran a preseason vanilla offense would be an understatement. Their preseason offense was frighteningly familiar to the overly conservative offense the Rams ran in 2009. It would be very easy to chalk up the vanilla to preseason if it was not for the striking resemblance to the 2009 version of the Rams.
Ron Bartell had what looked like a stinger and came out of the game for a few plays, limiting the Rams first team defense to Antoine Thompson and Marquis Johnson at cornerback. Johnson had a much better game than his first preseason game with 5 tackles including a one on one tackle on the tough to tackle Peyton Hillis and a great pass break up.
Rams 2nd string defense was burned for a touchdown drive by Seneca Wallace in the Browns first drive of the second half. Quincy Butler was burned on the play and he did not turn to find the ball. Butler got his revenge on the next drive as he picked off Wallace on a deep pass down the sideline on great coverage.
Josh Brown hit a field goal to put the Rams ahead 19-17 with 3:29 left in the game as Keith Null led the Rams down the field.