NFL@L.A.: Mike Hoomanawanui
November, 13, 2011
By Mike Sando | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' 13-12 road victory over the Cleveland Browns in Week 10:
What it means: The Rams improved to 2-7 and made it impossible for the San Francisco 49ers to clinch the NFC West title with victories in Week 10-11. Their second victory of the season put them two games ahead of still-winless Indianapolis for those charting whether the Rams could finish with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. The Rams' special teams earned some redemption after a rough game last week. The Browns' inability to execute a clean snap for the go-ahead field goal proved costly.
What I liked: Brandon Lloyd continued to provide the Rams with the top-shelf receiving threat they've been lacking in recent years. The one-handed grab he made along the sideline comes to mind. The Rams lead the NFL in dropped passes this season and haven't been able to make the spectacular play. Lloyd is changing those dynamics. His touchdown reception helped the Rams take a 10-9 lead into halftime. Steven Jackson continued running with authority, plowing over defenders and even teammates when necessary. He topped 100 yards rushing for the third game in a row. Newly signed linebacker David Nixon forced Josh Cribbs to fumble during a fourth-quarter punt return, setting up the Rams inside the Cleveland 30-yard line.
What I didn't like: Bradford struggled with tipped passes and had one of them picked off by Scott Fujita. With Jackson and Lloyd performing at a high level, Bradford should be more productive even at less than full strength. This was his 12th game in a row with fewer than two touchdown passes. Injuries were also a downer for the Rams in this game. Left tackle Rodger Saffold did not return after suffering a blow to the head. Bradford, playing with a bad left ankle, left the game for one play. Safety Darian Stewart, one of the team's top young defenders, suffered a neck injury in the second half and left the game. Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui left with a knee injury.
What's next: The Rams are home against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 11.