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Five Takeaways: Rams vs. Browns

Posted Aug 24, 2014

Myles Simmons presents his five big takeaways following the Rams 33-14 win over the Cleveland Browns on Saturday.

The Rams got their first preseason victory of 2014 in Cleveland on Saturday night, taking down the Browns 33-14. Here are five takeaways from the penultimate preseason contest.

BRITT AND QUICK LOOK LEGIT

We’ve spent plenty of time this preseason talking about how good wide receivers Kenny Britt and Brian Quick have looked in practice, but Saturday’s game showed how effective the two receivers can be in stretching the field. Britt made an outstanding leaping catch early in the game, climbing the ladder on third and 25 to make the 36-yard reception and extend the drive. Quick was targeted six times in his first-half playing time, making four receptions for 47 yards, including a touchdown.

“We’ve got some things to correct here and there, but I can say we’re hitting on all cylinders right now,” Britt said.

AUSTIN DAVIS CAN MAKE PLAYS

The young quarterback entered the game early in the second quarter, and played into the fourth. Throughout that time, Davis showed he has the ability to make plays with both his arm and his feet. He led the offense to four scoring drives, completing 14 of his 22 passes for 198 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception in the process. Though it is still preseason, a good chunk of Davis’ time in the game came against Cleveland’s starters. That he was so effective is a positive mark for his development.

THIRD-DOWN SPECIALISTS

The Rams converted an excellent number of third downs on Saturday night, with many coming from long distance. The Browns struggled in that area last year, and the Rams took advantage of a defense that was playing without cornerbacks Joe Haden and Buster Skrine. St. Louis finished 12 of 19 on third down -- good for 63 percent. At one point, the Rams had converted eight of 11, which is an exceptional percentage. That kind of production is not likely to be the norm for any NFL team, but it is an indication that the offense was clicking well.

THE DEFENSE TIGHTENED UP

The Rams’ defense looked considerably better than it had in the first two games, especially stopping the run. Cleveland tallied only 32 yards rushing on the night -- a vast improvement for the St. Louis defense after the first two weeks. Among other areas, head coach Jeff Fisher said after the game he thought the team tackled better, which undoubtedly had an effect on the run D. The Rams didn’t allow anyone to gash them, as the longest rush surrendered was only seven yards.

Chris Long said the defense showed a little more of what it will do during the regular season, but added that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams “always has got something else up his sleeve.”

STOPPING THE RETURN

The only area in which the Browns gashed the Rams Saturday night was on kickoff returns. Rookie Taylor Gabriel had a stellar return of 68 yards, leading to the Browns’ first touchdown just before halftime. But the kickoff team surrendered returns of 68, 45, and 37 yards over the course of the night. There isn’t true reason for concern on just yet, as it still is the preseason, but this was the one area where the Rams most visibly need to improve as the calendar continues to move toward Sept. 7.

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