Updated: Sep 26, 2019
Sunday night's football game pitted a team with high expectations against a team with high hopes for the 2019 season.
The 2018 NFC champion Los Angeles Rams, who started the season 2-0, looked to continue their success against a Cleveland Browns team that looked sharp in their last outing, albeit in a win that came against a heavily injured New York Jets squad.
Offensive weapons were aplenty in the game. In a match-up headlined by players such as WR Odell Beckham Jr., HB Todd Gurley II and QB Jared Goff, it came as a surprise that defense ruled the day.
The Browns couldn't get anything going offensively in the first half. WR Beckham Jr caught three passes for a total of 29 yards, and HB Nick Chubb led the team with 38 rushing yards through the first two quarters.
The Rams were even worse than the Browns early on. Gurley II rushed for just 10 yards, and K Greg Zuerlein provided all of the Rams' scoring on a 53-yard field goal.
At halftime, the Browns led the Rams 6-3.
The offense improved after the intermission. Rams WR Cooper Kupp caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jared Goff to finish off the opening drive of the third quarter, and the Rams pulled ahead 10-6.
Browns QB Baker Mayfield responded with a two yard touchdown pass to TE Demetrius Harris that put the Browns back up 13-10. The reception was Harris' only catch of the game.
After another touchdown reception by Kupp and a successful 37-yard field goal try for Zuerlein, the Rams led 20-13. They would go on to win by that score, but the Browns nearly tied the game up on their final offensive drive.
With the ball at the Rams four yard line and approximately 40 seconds left in the game, Mayfield threw three straight incompletions (one pass intended for Harris, the other two for WR Jarvis Landry) to make it fourth and goal. His next throw was picked off by S John Johnson III. It was Johnson's second interception of the season.
Chubb's running attack greatly improved in the second half. The former Georgia Bulldog ran for a total of 96 yards in total.
Mayfield was horrendous in Sunday night's battle. He completed just 18 of 36 passes, and his quarterback rating was an abysmal 64.0. He wasn't able to complete a pass with the game on the line, and he was a major factor in the losing effort.
The loss does not fall entirely on Mayfield though. The Rams defense really performed in this game.
S Eric Weddle posted six tackles in this one, three solo and three assisted. DT Aaron Donald picked up four total tackles and his first sack of the new season. The Browns were held to just 270 yards of total offense.
The real defensive MVP though was former superstar LB Clay Matthews. The long time Green Bay Packer had three total tackles and two sacks on the game. The two sacks in today's game put Matthews at four sacks already this season. He tallied just three and a half sacks all of last year.
The game showcased two teams going in opposite directions. The Rams improved to 3-0 this season and have set their eyes on not only going to, but winning a championship this year. The Rams return home to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 4.
The Browns had big hopes coming into this year, but their dreams are slowly fading with each of these hard fought losses. In order to make the playoffs this year, Baker Mayfield has to be better. Completing just 50 percent of passes will not win games in the NFL. The Browns take on QB Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens on the road next Sunday.
No Shenanigans, Just Football.