It wasn’t pretty, but the Los Angeles Rams were able to maintain their flawless start to the 2019 NFL season with a victory over the Cleveland Browns in Week 3.
The offense struggled to start again as they didn’t find the endzone until the third quarter. They eventually found a rhythm though and the defense was strong all night, resulting in a 17-13 victory.
Both offenses struggled to find their footing to start the game with three-and-outs on each opening drive. The Rams finally managed to get on the board first on the back of an 11-play, 51-yard drive that resulted in a successful 53-yard field goal attempt from kicker Greg Zuerlein to take a 3-0 lead.
Although there was no shortage of firepower on each offense, it was the defense that managed to dominate in the first quarter. Both teams managed to muster up a mere 128 yards of total offense combined heading into the second quarter.
It appeared as though the Browns were on the verge of scoring the first touchdown of the game after piecing together a 13-play, 70-yard drive. Fortunately, the Rams’ defense was able to show some resiliency by locking up in the red zone to force a 23-yard field goal by kicker Austin Seibert.
Head coach Sean McVay was hoping to keep one of their more promising series’ alive by challenging a potential pass interference call on wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Although the decision ultimately cost Los Angeles a timeout, punter Johnny Hekker was still able to flip the field with a stellar punt that pinned Cleveland within their own 10-yard line.
The Rams were unable to take advantage of the favorable position granted to them by the defense and special teams after Zuerlein failed to convert the 48-yard attempt. Meanwhile, the Browns were able to secure a 6-3 lead heading into halftime thanks to a strip by defensive end Myles Garrett that set Seibert up with an easy 35-yarder.
It was a tale of two halves for both teams on offense as Los Angeles opened up the third quarter by marching 75 yards down the field in just four minutes and 20 seconds to cap things off with an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jared Goff to wide receiver Cooper Kupp. It did not take long for Cleveland to respond to with a 75-yard drive of their own that culminated with a two-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Baker Mayfield to tight end Demetrius Harris to reclaim a 13-10 lead.
The Browns then seemingly managed to swing the momentum of the game in their favor with an interception by cornerback T.J. Carrie. Fortunately, they were not able to do anything with the softly turnover after the Rams defense forced a three-and-out to give the ball back to the offense heading into the fourth quarter.
It took Los Angeles just over two minutes into the final period to take a 17-13 lead with a six-yard touchdown pass from Goff to Kupp. Cleveland attempted to slowly but surely make their way downfield before their drive eventually stalled due to a questionable draw play on fourth-down.
Looking to add more points of their next drive, the Rams were aided by a big late hit penalty by Cleveland on third down. The drive eventually stalled in the red zone though so Zuerlein tack on a 38-yard field goal to extend the lead to 20-13.
The defense then came up with their biggest stop of the night on their ensuing drive as Aaron Donald and Clay Matthews had back-to-back sacks of Mayfield to force a punt. The sack was Donald’s first of the season, although he was in the backfield all night long.
Goff was again intercepted trying to put the game away though, giving the Browns one final chance. Mayfield put a nice drive together, but John Johnson III came up with the play of the game on an interception in the endzone to seal the victory.