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The St Louis Rams (2-7) visited the Cleveland Browns (3-6) with the Browns labelled, rather unusually, as favorites, but did enough to overcome the home side with a 13-12 victory. The Browns continued to suffer from injury woes, and were still unable to welcome back Peyton Hillis, Montario Hardesty and Mohammed Mossaquoi to active duty, heaping the pressure on running back Chris Ogbonnaya, as well as receivers Greg Little and Josh Cribbs.
Safety T. J. Ward also missed the game after suffering a foot injury in the previous week, and Usama Young started in his place. The Rams had less injury concerns to contend with, as Sam Bradford recovered sufficiently from an ankle injury to start, but right tackle Jason Smith was listed as inactive for the game.
The game was largely decided by kickers Josh Brown and Phil Dawson, with Browns kicker Dawson missing a 22-yard field goal after a bounced snap in the last two minutes of the game, a field goal that would have won the game for Cleveland. The Rams, as well as earning the victory, were also able to get in the end zone in the second quarter, quarterback Bradford finding Brandon Lloyd for a seven-yard touchdown pass, the only touchdown of the game.
Even with Mossaquoi out, the Browns were still able to find eight different players on receptions, the most prominent of whom was Little, who caught for 84 yards on six receptions, and performed well given the lack of an effective running game to take the pressure off of Colt McCoy and the passing game.
Ogbonnaya did manage to run for 90 yards on 19 attempts, and was helped on occasion by both Little and Cribbs, who rushed cumulatively for 31 yards on four attempts, but the Browns continue to struggle in the absence of Hillis and Hardesty. Meanwhile, the Rams relied on running back Steven Jackson, who ran for 128 yards and took the pressure off of St Louis’s receivers in what was a close game.
The loss will be difficult for Cleveland to take, and was one of the games Head Coach Pat Shurmur will have targeted to help the Browns turn their season around ahead of a difficult run, in which they will play both the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers twice, as well as divisional rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, once.
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