Five Takeaways: Clutch defense, Kupp, pass rush help Rams get first Sunday Night Football win

CLEVELAND – Thanks to poise of the defense, the reliability of Cooper Kupp and the pass rush pressure, the Rams were able snap to a four-game Sunday Night Football skid and escape Cleveland with a 20-13 win over the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.  

Here are five instant takeaways from the matchup.

1) DEFENSE RISES TO THE OCCASION

With 43 seconds remaining, Los Angeles need four stops with Cleveland at its own 4 yard and a chance to tie the game.

No pressure, right?

Clearly not for the Rams' defense, which answered with its best redzone stop of the night capped off by John Johnson III's game-clinching interception in the endzone.

The unit as a whole stood tall, forcing three consecutive incompletions by Browns QB Baker Mayfield prior to the pick with LB Samson Ebukam and safety Taylor Rapp in on two of them.

2) KUPP DEPENDABLE AGAIN

The former Eastern Washington standout caught 11 of 12 targets for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Browns. His receptions and targets matched set new career-highs, while the two touchdowns matched his career-high. 

Both scores helped Los Angeles regain the lead and momentum.

Facing 3rd and 11 from the Browns 11-yard line with 10:44 left in the third quarter, it was Kupp whom QB Jared Goff connected with for the touchdown to give the Rams a 10-6 lead. Facing a critical third and goal from the Cleveland 6-yard line with 12:51 left, Goff found Kupp all alone in the middle of the field for the go-ahead score to give the Rams. a 17-13 lead.

Being a trustworthy target of Goff isn't a new development for Kupp, but he once again proved why Sunday night. 

3) A PUNISHING PASS RUSH

Where to start?

How about with LB Clay Matthews first.

On a night where his stand, former linebacker and 19-year NFL vet Clay Jr., was being inducted into the Browns' ring of honor, he put on a performance that would've made his dad proud. He posted three sacks, including one which resulted in an 8-yard loss and forced Cleveland to punt on its drive that followed the Rams taking a 20-13 lead.

During the same series, Rams DT Aaron Donald got to Browns QB Baker Mayfield for a 7-yard loss that prevented Cleveland's offense from escaping deep into its own territory.

In short, the pass rush showed up when Los Angeles needed it most.

4) DON'T FORGET COOKS' CONTRIBUTIONS

Similar to the 66-yard catch against the Saints, Kupp would want his fellow receivers to get credit too.

Cooks finished with eight catches for a team-high 112 yards. Combined with Kupp's performance, it marked the first time the Rams had two receivers surpass 100 yards receiving in a single game since week 4 of the 2018 season. 

Receptions of 18 and 15 yards by Cooks helped set up Los Angeles' first points of the contest, a 53-yard field goal by kicker Greg Zuerlein. Early in the third quarter, a 19-yard reception helped the Rams cross midfield on a drive that ended with the first of two touchdowns by Kupp. He also had a 23-yard grab on the drive that saw Kupp snag his second touchdown of the night. 

Cooks' role shouldn't go unnoticed because of his stat line, but it's still worth noting anyway. 

5) ROAD, AFC REGULAR SEASON SUCCESS CONTINUES UNDER McVAY

Sunday night's win pushed Los Angeles to 15-3 in true road regular season games and 9-0 in road regular season games against AFC opponents.

Related Content

Advertising