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Game day blog: Rams at Browns (Week 10)

By Nate Ulrich Published: November 13, 2011

Final score: Rams 13, Browns 12 (game story; notebook; Marla Ridenour column; instant replay; box score)

Game action

End 1Q: Browns 3, Rams 0 -- The Browns struck first when Phil Dawson capped an 11-play, 54-yard drive by making a 44-yard field goal with 4:51 left in the opening quarter. On third-and-3 at the Rams’ 40, McCoy completed an 8-yard pass to wide receiver Jordan Norwood to keep the drive alive. Wide receiver Josh Cribbs took a direct snap out of the Wildcat formation and ran for 4 yards. But the drive stalled shortly after, and Dawson was summoned to give the Browns an early lead. When the first quarter ended, the Rams had the ball on third-and-3 at the Browns’ 7-yard line. The Browns have now been outscored 58-9 in the first quarter this season.

End 2Q: Rams 10, Browns 9 -- During the first play of the second quarter, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford connected with wide receiver Brandon Lloyd for 7-yard touchdown. Lloyd went inside and then darted outside to create separation from Browns cornerback Joe Haden. Bradford found Lloyd wide open in front corner of end zone, helping the Rams capture a 7-3 lead with 14:53 left in the second quarter. The Browns, though, got some revenge when Browns linebacker Scott Fujita tipped Bradford’s pass intended for tight end Michael Hoomanawanui near the line of scrimmage and caught the ball for an interception. The Browns then used Dawson’s 32-yard field to trim the Rams’ lead to 7-6 with 7:41 left in the second quarter. The Browns marched into the red zone and set up Dawson’s field goal with their most creative offensive play of the season. On first-and-10 at the Rams’ 39, McCoy and backup quarterback Seneca Wallace lined up as wide receivers and Cribbs took the snap. Cribbs then pitched the ball to Wallace, Wallace pitched it to McCoy and McCoy connected with Wallace for a 21-yard pass. However, the drive stalled when the Rams’ tight coverage forced McCoy’s pass intended for rookie tight end Jordan Cameron to fall incomplete in the end zone. The Rams later extended their lead to 10-6 when Josh Brown made a 29-yard field goal with 1:07 left in the second quarter. The Browns fired back and trimmed their deficit to 10-9 when Dawson made a 43- yard field goal as time expired in the first half. The Browns started their last drive of the first half with 1:02 left in the second quarter. Rookie wide receiver Greg Little beat cornerback Josh Gordy and safety Craig Dahl over the top to catch a 52-yard pass from McCoy. On second-and-goal from the Rams’ 10, tight end Evan Moore was penalized for grabbing the facemask of Gordy, pushing the Browns back and forcing them to settle for Dawson’s third field goal with time running out.

End 3Q: Browns 12, Rams 10 -- Browns linebacker Chris Gocong forced Rams running back Steven Jackson to fumble after Fujita made the initial hit. Gocong recovered the fumble at the Browns’ 29-yard line with 10:40 left in the third quarter. The Browns, however, failed to capitalize on the turnover. After their drive fell flat, Brad Maynard punted 44 yards to the Rams’ 5 with 7:13 left in the third quarter. The Browns’ defense held the Ram’s offense in check during the third quarter, and Dawson was able to give his team the lead. Dawson made a 27-yard field goal with 33 seconds left in the third quarter, and the Browns entered the fourth quarter with a two-point advantage. The Browns’ set up Dawson’s go-ahead kick with running back Chris Ogbonnaya’s 32-yard run and tight end Benjamin Watson’s one-handed catch of McCoy’s 22-yard pass.

End 4Q: Rams 13, Browns 12 -- With just a little more than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Dawson’s 22-yard field goal attempt went wide left after Ryan Pontbriand’s long snap deflected off the right foot of Browns lineman Alex Mack and skipped on the ground. Dawson still kicked a line drive, but his try missed as the Rams held on to win.

Pregame notes

Inactives: Browns -- QB Thaddeus Lewis, WR Mohamed Massaquoi (head), CB Dimitri Patterson (knee), RB Montario Hardesty (calf), RB Peyton Hillis (hamstring), SS T.J. Ward (foot) and OL Steve Vallos. Rams -- CB Rod Hood, RB Jerious Norwood (hamstring), LB Bryan Kehl (ankle), LB Josh Hull (hamstring), T Jason Smith (head), WR Danario Alexander (hamstring) and TE Lance Kendricks (foot).

Lineup changes: Browns -- Josh Cribbs will start at wide receiver in place of Massaquoi; Chris Ogbonnaya will start at running back in place of Hillis and Hardesty; Emmanuel Stephens will start at right defensive end in place of Jayme Mitchell, who's active but is dealing with chest and ankle injuries. Rams -- Tony Wragge to start at center in place of Jason Brown, who's active; Adam Goldberg to start at right tackle in place of Smith.

Preview stories via Ohio.com -- 1. Browns coach Pat Shurmur enjoys the process of rebuilding but not the results. 2. Rams defensive end Chris Long poses problems for the Browns' shaky offensive line. 3. Keys to the game. 4. Storylines. 5. Quote of the week. 6. Predictions. 7. Injury report.

Top storylines -- 1. Shurmur will face the St. Louis Rams today for the first time since he left their organization in January to become the coach of the Browns. Shurmur spent the past two seasons as the Rams’ offensive coordinator. The Rams’ offense ranked 29th (279.4 yards per game) in 2009 and 26th (302.9 yards per game) last season. The Browns’ offense is ranked 30th (289 yards per game) this season under Shurmur. 2. Browns quarterback Colt McCoy and Rams quarterback Sam Bradford will renew their rivalry today. McCoy and the Texas Longhorns went 2-1 against Bradford and the Oklahoma Sooners. Bradford, though, won the 2008 Heisman Trophy while McCoy finished second in the voting. Bradford was selected No. 1 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, and McCoy was picked in the third round (85th overall). 3. Injuries have left the Browns thin in the defensive secondary and the backfield. Strong safety T.J. Ward hurt his right foot last week against the Houston Texans and won’t play today. Usama Young has been dealing with an injured hip, but he'll fill in for Ward. Nickel cornerback Dimitri Patterson is out with an injured knee, so rookie Buster Skrine will fill Patterson’s role for the second consecutive week. Meanwhile, Peyton Hillis (hamstring) and Montario Hardesty (calf) have been ruled out, leaving Chris Ogbonnaya and Thomas Clayton as the Browns’ healthy running backs. Ogbonnaya will start today. 4. Josh McDaniels became Shurmur’s replacement as the Rams’ offensive coordinator. McDaniels, a graduate of Canton McKinley High School, was previously the head coach of the Denver Broncos (2009-10) and an assistant under New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick (2001-08). Since joining the Rams, McDaniels has installed a system similar to the one the Browns used last season under offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, another disciple of Belichick. 5. Other Browns-Rams connections: Gil Haskell, the senior adviser to Browns President Mike Holmgren, was an assistant coach for the Rams (1983-1991). ... Browns offensive line coach George Warhop had the same job with the Rams (1996-97). ... Browns offensive lineman John Greco played for the Rams (2008-10) before being traded to the Browns this year. ... Browns third-string quarterback Thaddeus Lewis spent most of last season on the Rams’ practice squad. ... Ogbonnaya appeared in two games with the Rams in 2009. ... Rams running back Quinn Porter was on the Browns’ practice squad for one week this year and six weeks last year. Northeast Ohio connections: Rams offensive lineman Jacob Bell and Rams pro scout Jonathan Gannon are Cleveland natives who attended St. Ignatius High School. ... Rams offensive lineman Rodger Saffold is a native of Bedford who went to Bedford High School. ... Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis and Rams long snapper Jake McQuaide played football at Ohio State.

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