Cleveland-- With the 3-0 record on the line, it came down to four plays.
“Four stops,” safety John Johnson said. “That’s the only thing on our mind.
“One at a time — boom, boom, boom, boom. Let’s get off the field and go home.”
If the 2019 Los Angeles Rams team identity will be their defense, then so be it.
Just win, baby.
The star-studded Rams defense finished another exceptional performance, leading the team to a 20-13 victory at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“We’re right where we wanted to be,” linebacker Cory Littleton said.
It was a warm twilight on the coast of Lake Erie as the Rams nullified Baker Mayfield and super-star receiver Odell Beckham Jr, sending the raucous crowd home unhappy as they watched their team fall to 1-2.
But let's be clear, you can’t blame Odell, the defense, play-calling, or Baker.
Have you seen that patchwork offensive line they put on the field every week?
Whatever is happening over there in Cleveland is not good, and on Sunday night, it contributed to Mayfield getting happy feet and rolling out of pockets that had yet to be disturbed.
Cleveland's offense as a whole has yet to find a consistent rhythm through three games, and a good chunk of the blame should be assigned to coach Freddie Kitchens, who also fumbled a crucial late-game fourth-down call by running a draw with nine yards to go.
"I didn't do a good job at the end of the game ... I don't think I did very good. I didn't, as a coach, do a good enough job putting these guys into position ... Just blame me. Go write your article and say it's my fault ... Because it is,” Kitchens admitted.
When you have Aaron Donald and a revamped Clay Matthews, you stand a chance of intruding an opponent's line.
When you have those guys and you're playing the Browns, well, even better.
L.A. got into Baker Mayfield's head by putting plenty of pressure in the pocket, mostly with just the front four.
Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib played stellar games as neither of the Browns big-name wide receivers put up huge numbers.
The Rams offense for most of the season had been lackluster, to say the least, and it continued again on Sunday night.
The Rams had 3 points in the first half, their fewest in the first half of a regular-season game under coach Sean McVay (since 2017).
“I’ve got to do a much better job for us offensively, getting us in a position and finding a rhythm early on,” McVay said. “That sole responsibility lies with me.
“But we’ll take the win however we can get it.”
Quarterback Jared Goff struggled to find a rhythm again against a depleted Cleveland Browns secondary that was missing every single member.
Goff completed 24 of 38 passes for 269 yards, with two interceptions and two touchdown passes to Cooper Kupp.
Kupp finished his monster game with 11 catches for 102 yards while Brandin Cooks caught 8 passes for 112 yards.
The Rams offensive line did not have a good night either, with three first-year starters playing.
It was evident early on that the crowd noise would disrupt the young line, but they did just enough to stop the impressive Cleveland defensive line.
The Rams (3-0) return home on Sunday, Sept. 29, for an evening showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2), who are fresh off a demoralizing loss to the New York Giants.
The Browns (1-2), meanwhile, won't necessarily get it any easier on the same day, when they travel to take on the Baltimore Ravens (2-1) in an AFC North battle.
Impressive Stats: Only 5 players since 1982 had more sacks in their first 30 games than Myles Garrett’s 26.5 (Aldon Smith, HOF Reggie White, Shawne Merriman, Von Miller, HOF Derrick Thomas).
Odell Beckham Jr. has 3+ receptions in 60 consecutive games (3rd-longest streak in NFL history).
Baker Mayfield's 2-yard TD to Demetrius Harris in the 3rd quarter was the first pass TD the Rams have allowed this season.
In the Sean McVay era, Jared Goff is undefeated in the regular season vs AFC opponents (9-0).
The Browns have hosted five Sunday night games since its inception in 1978 (0-5 record).
Cooper Kupp is the first Rams player with 11+ receptions and 2+ rec TD in a game since Torry Holt in 2003.