Clay Matthews, goal-line stand key Rams win, 3-0 start

Clay Matthews

Sep 22, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) talks with a player from the Cleveland Browns after the game at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Rams won 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

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The Los Angeles Rams weren’t their blistering selves on offense, but they didn’t need to be. It was the defense, including a member of one of the most famous families in NFL history, that shined bright as they went into Cleveland and defeated the Browns on Sunday Night Football, 20-13, to move to 3-0.

On a day where Clay Matthews, Jr. was in town to cheer on the team he spent 16 seasons with, it was his son, Clay Matthews III, who came up big on the other sideline.

Matthews recorded a pair of sacks on Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, including a key sack deep in Browns’ territory in the fourth quarter, that helped preserve the win. Los Angeles got to Mayfield three times, as Aaron Donald also brought Mayfield down. No. 99 was all over Mayfield all night, lining up in numerous spots and making life miserable for the former Heisman Trophy winner.

The Browns tried rallying after a Juston Burris interception off of a tipped Jared Goff pass by Joe Schobert. The Browns made it inside the 10, which also included a roughing the passer penalty on Aaron Donald. But the defense came up big late, including a John Johnson interception on fourth down that iced the game and sent the Rams to another 3-0 start, keeping pace with the San Francisco 49ers atop the NFC West.

Los Angeles held Mayfield to just 18-of-35 passing for 195 yards and one touchdown, with a near touchdown at the end of the game. But it was not to be. And despite his continued highlight catches, Odell Beckham was held to just 56 yards on six catches. Nick Chubb was the highlight of the Browns offense with 96 yards on 23 carries.

Goff wasn’t as sharp as usual, finishing 24-of-38 for 269 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions while also losing a fumble. Goff was also sacked twice. But he did just enough to get the Rams out of Cleveland with the win.

It was also another tough outing for the rushing attack, as Todd Gurley carried 14 times for just 43 yards. But that’s a credit to the Browns’ defense, who was tough as nails from start to finish.

But the wide receivers really pulled through for Goff and the Rams, as a pair of receivers topped the century mark. Brandin Cooks had 112 yards on eight catches and Cooper Kupp went for 102 yards and two touchdowns on a game-high 11 catches.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Rams found a way to grind out a victory in a very tough environment, as Cleveland was ready to host their first Sunday night game in over ten years. The reigning NFC champions are 3-0 yet again and return home in Week 4 to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who lost a tough game against the New York Giants, 32-31, after Daniel Jones scored the go-ahead touchdown late and Matt Gay missed a 34-yard field goal as time expired, dropping the Buccaneers to 1-2.

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