CLEVELAND, OH – 72 hours following their 23-3 primetime demolition of the New York Jets—and most notably backup quarterback Trevor Siemian’s ankle by DE Myles Garrett—the Cleveland Browns have little time to rest on their laurels as Jared Goff the 2-0 defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams come to the shores of Lake Erie.
In a matchup of Cleveland’s first NFL team against Browns 2.0, the Rams return to their ancestral Midwestern home hoping to build off of another referee-assisted—and controversial win—over their noted foil from the Big Easy in the New Orleans Saints, 27-9, hope to improve their record to 3-0 with a win in Cleveland.
At 1-1, the Browns are about to enter the gauntlet of what may be the toughest meat-grinder of a schedule in the NFL in facing five teams with a combined record of 10-0 in the aforementioned Rams, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots.
With a win, Cleveland would go to 2-1 before their reaming four games and some momentum. If the Browns lose, then they face a tough uphill slough with no breaks in the schedule and a target by national media and critics. Beating the lowly Jets is one thing, getting big wins over the Rams, Patriots, Seahawks and Ravens would do wonders for a team picked by many to make some noise in 2019.
While it is only two games into the season, one cannot help but be concerned about the Browns offensive line and their inability to protect Baker Mayfield, as he was sacked three times on Monday and eight times for the season. For the season, Mayfield has passed for 610 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions, but has been hit and hurried a lot more in 2019, then he was in 2018.
With NFL Defensive Player of The Year in Rams DT Aaron Donald looming, and other sack-happy defenses in Seattle and Baltimore coming up, Cleveland needs to do a better job of protecting Mayfield if they hope to have any chances of winning their next series of games.
For the Browns, the key to winning is keeping Mayfield upright, maintaining discipline—such as keeping the penalties down—and making and converting big plays—such as the game-clinching 89-yard touchdown reception to Odell Beckham Jr. If they can do that vs. the Rams Sunday night, then it would go a long way towards winning and building consistency throughout the season.