April 20, 2014

Elyria
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Browns vs. Rams matchups: Give Browns the edge


PLAYER OF THE GAME

Derek Anderson, Browns quarterback
He gets better by the week. He was 18-for-25 for 248 yards, three touchdowns and a career-best 143 rating. And for the second straight game, he didn’t throw an interception. The guy who opened the season on the bench has become the team’s MVP. Not only did he lead the team back from a 14-0 deficit Sunday, he kept the offense composed after a slew of penalties and won his first road game. He’s 4-2 as the starter this year.

GOAT OF THE GAME

Brian Leonard, Rams running back
The rookie from Rutgers was thrust into the spotlight by circumstance, and he failed to rise to the occasion. With starter Steven Jackson on the sideline with a back injury, Leonard’s number was called on two of the game’s biggest plays — and he was stuffed on the pair of fourth-and-1s. Leonard finished with 33 yards on 15 carries for a 2.2 average.

PLAY OF THE GAME

The fourth-down stops were huge, but the win wasn’t in the bag until cornerback Leigh Bodden intercepted Marc Bulger with 38 seconds left. Bodden, who allowed a deep completion on the first play of the game and a touchdown to Torry Holt, dropped back in the zone, anticipated Bulger’s move and stepped in front of the throw down the middle.

STAT OF THE GAME

3
Yards that separated Anderson’s statistical line Sunday from the one he posted vs. Miami on Oct. 14. Anderson was 18-for-25 for 245 yards and three touchdowns vs. the Dolphins.

QUOTE OF THE GAME

“In past years, that’s all we won. We have four wins and have nine more games to play. It means a lot.” — linebacker Andra Davis on the 4-3 start.

MATCHUPS

QUARTERBACK
Derek Anderson stayed calm and moved the offense with ease. Marc Bulger picked apart the Browns, but threw an interception in the final minute.
Edge: Browns

RUNNING BACK
The Browns’ three-headed monster totaled 112 yards. The Rams sorely missed Steven Jackson after his back stiffened.
Edge: Browns

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
Braylon Edwards was mostly brilliant, Joe Jurevicius was huge on third down and Kellen Winslow had a touchdown. Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce looked like they have a lot left.
Edge: Even

OFFENSIVE LINE
The Browns gave up two sacks. The Rams only allowed one, despite another injury.
Edge: Even

DEFENSIVE LINE
Nose tackle Ethan Kelley had a sack, and the line held firm on fourth-and-1. Adam Carriker had a sack for St. Louis.
Edge: Browns

LINEBACKERS
Leon Williams made a couple of plays early. Will Witherspoon had nine tackles and a sack for the Rams.
Edge: Even

SECONDARY
Leigh Bodden was bad early, but had the clinching interception. The Rams couldn’t cover Edwards.
Edge: Even

SPECIAL TEAMS
Punter Dave Zastudil averaged 49.3 yards, and Phil Dawson was 2-for-2 on field goals, including a 45-yarder.
Edge: Browns

COACHING
The Browns rebounded from a 14-0 hole and are 4-3. Romeo Crennel deserves plenty of the credit.
Edge: Browns