Both teams got off to a slow start on offense, as the defenses controlled the pace in the first half.
With the game tied up at 3-3, Jared Goff was sacked and stripped of the football by Myles Garrett. The forced turnover set the Browns up with an Austin Seibert 35-yard field goal as the half came to a close. Cleveland took a 6-3 lead into the break.
The first touchdown of the game came with 10:40 to play in the third quarter. Jared Goff led an impressive 75-yard drive to open the second half, and found his favorite target Cooper Kupp for an 11-yard touchdown strike.
Baker Mayfield answered on the ensuing drive. He also led his offense on a 75-yard drive, which was extended by a timely 3rd down and 13 conversion. Nick Chubb took a screen pass 30 yards down to the Rams 16 yard line. Mayfield found Demetrius Harris in the end zone on 3rd and goal to reclaim the lead, 13-10. The touchdown was Harris’ first touchdown as a Cleveland Brown.
Cleveland’s defense stepped up and intercepted Jared Goff on the Rams next possession, setting the Browns up with an opportunity to extend the lead late in the third quarter. However, the Rams defense was up for the challenge, forcing a quick three-and-out and stopping any Cleveland momentum.
Jared Goff hit Cooper Kupp for his second touchdown catch of the game with 12:48 to play in the game. Rams would lead 17-13, shifting the momentum and putting the pressure back on Mayfield and the Browns offense.
Odell Beckham was quiet for most of the game, but held on for a great 19-yard catch at the Rams 41 yard line. The Browns were penalized on 2nd down for an illegal formation, but there was a clear defensive pass interference on the play which was not called. Freddie Kitchens had an opportunity to challenge the pass interference which looked clear on the replays, but decided to hold onto the red flag and play out the series.
Down 17-13, Cleveland faced a 4th and 9 at the Rams 40 yard line. Instead of trying to pin the Rams deep and play defense, Kitchens sent his offense out on the field to go for it. Mayfield handed it off on a draw play to Nick Chubb, who was stood up and dropped for no gain. The Browns turned it over on downs.
Cleveland’s defense did keep the Rams out of the end zone on the next possession, but after a Zuerlein field goal, they now needed a touchdown to tie the game. On the next Browns possession, they went three-and-out and had to rely on their defense to get one more stop.
With just 2:54 to play, Goff made a rare mistake. Juston Burris picked him off and set the Browns up at their own 43 yard line. Mayfield and the Browns offense had one more chance to tie the game.
Jarvis Landry kept the drive alive with a 27-yard catch on 3rd and 15. The play set up the Browns just outside of the red zone with 1:18 to play. An Aaron Donald roughing the passer penalty moved Cleveland inside the Los Angeles 5 yard line with a 1st and goal opportunity.
The Browns took four straight shots into the end zone, but Mayfield was intercepted by John Johnson on 4th and goal. Rams took over and took a knee to seal the 20-13 win.
Here are the game highlights:
1st Quarter… Zuerlein 53-yard FG, 3-0 Rams
2nd Quarter… Seibert 23-yard FG, 3-3
2nd Quarter… Myles Garrett strip sack on Jared Goff
2nd Quarter… Seibert 35-yard FG to end the half, 6-3 Browns
3rd Quarter… Goff 11-yard TD pass to Kupp, 10-6 Rams
3rd Quarter… Chubb 30-yard screen play to set Browns up in the red zone
3rd Quarter… Mayfield 2-yard TD pass to Harris, 13-10 Browns
3rd Quarter… Goff intercepted by Carrie
4th Quarter… Goff 6-yard TD pass to Kupp, 17-13 Rams
4th Quarter… Browns fail to convert on 4th down
4th Quarter… Zuerlein 37-yard FG, 20-13 Rams
4th Quarter… Goff intercepted by Burris with 2:46 to play in the game
4th Quarter… Mayfield intercepted by Johnson on 4th and goal to seal the game for the Rams