Rams ride strong defensive effort in shutting down Browns

William Hayes (95) recorded two of the Rams' four sacks Sunday.
Jeff Curry/Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

While Todd Gurley had the starring role in Sunday's 24-6 victory over the Cleveland Browns, the St. Louis Rams' defense more than held up its end.

The Rams registered four sacks and knocked quarterback Josh McCown out of the game while also forcing four fumbles that led to 17 points to level their record at 3-3.

“I thought, obviously, the turnovers were a difference in the game and we got the turnovers,” St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher said.

The Rams set the tone on Cleveland's first possession of the game. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins jarred the ball loose from Taylor Gabriel, allowing Rodney McLeod to swoop in and take the fumble back 17 yards for his first career touchdown and the game's opening score three minutes in.

“We talked all week about wanting to score defensively, and we finally did,” middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. “Anytime you can score as a defense, it's a high probability of winning. I'm glad we got it early.” 

Defensive end William Hayes, filling in for the injured Chris Long, helped extend the lead with a strip-sack of McCown that was recovered by linebacker Akeem Ayers. That led to Greg Zuerlein's 39-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead despite the Rams managing three total yards in the first quarter.

“Whenever you can create turnovers, you put the offense in a better situation and they feed off of us,” St. Louis safety T.J. McDonald said. “And when they score, we feed off of them.” 

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