The Pacific coast hasn't been good to the Cleveland Browns. They continue to struggle when they visit teams on that coast and had another rough one on Sunday. This time, they lost to the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 36-19.
As rough as that final score looks, the game was much closer than this for the most part. It was 20-19 in the fourth quarter and the Browns had the ball with a chance to take the lead. They fell apart from there, unfortunately, and the Rams ran away with it. Now, we look back and point out four players who had a hand in the defeat.
Cleveland Browns center, Ethan Pocic
Cleveland started hot as they scored quickly on their opening drive but they needed to convert on a third-and-14 to make that happen. The reason they were behind the sticks was due to a four-yard loss on a run from Jerome Ford, and it was Ethan Pocic who was beaten on that play. Aaron Donald pushed him out of the way and was able to end the play before it got close to the line of scrimmage.
His struggles didn't end there as Pocic was unable to hold off his defender again during a drive in the second quarter. After the Rams missed a field goal, the Browns were trying to march down the field and either tie it or take the lead. They didn't get that chance after Bobby Brown beat Pocic to take Ford down for a six-yard loss.
Joe Flacco nearly made up for it with a 13-yard completion on second-and-16 but then Kareem Hunt was shut down on third-and-three. This time, Hunt was hit for a one-yard loss, which was the third run in a row that went for no gain, or a loss of yardage.
Pocic is one of the top pass protectors in the NFL but this wasn't his best game when it comes to run blocking. With the size of the Los Angeles defensive tackles, it's hard to come down on him. And by the end of the game, things were better but the missed opportunities early when it was a close game came back to haunt them.