First Look: Rams travel to Cleveland for Sunday Night Football matchup with Browns

A 27-9 win over the New Orleans Saints last week pushed the Rams to 2-0. Now, Los Angeles gears up for its first primetime game of the season: a road contest against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday Night Football.

The Browns and the Rams last met in 2015 when the Rams were still playing in St. Louis, a 24-6 Rams win in late October that year. Thus, this will be the first meeting between the two clubs since the Rams relocated to Los Angeles.

In advance of the contest, here’s an early look at the Browns, including notable additions, their top statistical performers so far, where they rank in certain statistical categories and key storylines.

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Notable additions

  • Traded for WR Odell Beckham Jr. in March. Now in his sixth NFL season, the three-time Pro Bowler spent his first five years with the New York Giants, amassing 390 receptions for 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns during that span. Beckham ranks third in targets per game (10.5), fourth in receptions per game (6.6), third in receiving yards per game (92.8) and third in receiving touchdowns (44) since entering the league in 2014.
  • Signed DL Sheldon Richardson as an unrestricted free agent in March. A 2013 first-round pick by the Jets, Richardson played his first four years in New York before getting traded to the Seattle Seahawks prior to the start of the 2017 season. After one season in Seattle, he joined the Minnesota Vikings on a one-year deal, posting 49 tackles and 4.5 sacks while starting in all 16 games in 2018. Richardon has 335 tackles, 23.5 sacks, seven passes batted down, six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and an interception in 89 career games with 87 starts.

Top performers in Week 2

QB Baker Mayfield completed 19 of 35 pass attempts for 325 yards with one touchdown and one interception. While his completion percentage was lower than what he posted against the Titans in the season opener, for the most part it was a bounceback performance considering he tossed one touchdown and three interceptions in Week 1.

RB Nick Chubb led the Browns' backfield with 16 carries for 62 yards and one touchdown, adding four receptions for 36 yards.

WR Odell Beckham Jr. posted six receptions for 161 yards and one touchdown, his yardage a game-high. He set a new career-long for a reception when he connected with Mayfield for an 89-yard touchdown.

Defensively, LB Joe Schobert recorded a team-high 10 tackles and created Cleveland's lone takeaway with a fourth-quarter forced fumble that was recovered by DB T.J. Carrie. The Browns' secondary failed to record an interception despite the Jets getting reduced to playing their third-string quarterback Monday night.

On special teams, rookie kicker Austin Seibert – a fifth-round pick in this year's NFL draft – was 3 for 3 on field goal attempts, including a long of 48. He also made both of his extra point attempts.

Rankings

Offense

  • Points Per Game: Tied for 23rd (18.0)
  • Yards Per Game: 15th (360.5)
  • Passing Yards Per Game: Tied for 13th (274.5)
  • Rushing Yards Per Game: Tied for 22nd (86.0)

Defense

  • Points Allowed Per Game: Tied for 19th (23.0)
  • Yards Allowed Per Game: 7th (300.5)
  • Passing Yards Allowed Per Game: 5th (192.5)
  • Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game: 14th (108.0)

Early storylines to watch, and what they mean for the Rams

The Browns are dealing with injuries to a pair of offensive contributors as they prepare to host the Rams.

Starting TE David Njoku got knocked Monday night's game in the first quarter with a concussion and remains in concussion protocol as of Tuesday afternoon. Cleveland head coach Freddie Kitchens told reporters the team is "still awaiting final word" on Njoku. If Njoku can't go, Demetrius Harris would likely start against the Rams. Harris went on to play 54 of the Browns' 69 offensive snaps Monday night after replacing Njoku.

Meanwhile, WR Rashard Higgins was inactive against the Jets after being a gametime decision leading into the contest because of a knee injury. The fourth-year wide receiver had two catches for 46 yards in the Browns' season-opener. In 2018, he posted 39 receptions for 572 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games. Second-year wide receiver Damion Ratley saw his role increase in Higgins' absence, catching two passes for 50 yards in Week 2.

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