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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
Here's a matchup to watch in Sunday's Rams-Browns game.
The Rams' running game vs. the Browns' run defense
Overall, the Browns' defense has had a strong season. But Sunday was its worst game of the campaign. The Texans asserted their will in the running game, and the Browns' resistance was ineffective. Texans RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate, certainly one of the NFL's top 1-2 punches going at their position, shredded the Browns for 239 yards rushing on 31 carries - an impressive 7.7 yards per carry.
Four of the Texans' five longest offensive plays in their 30-12 win Sunday were rushes, and Houston set a single-game franchise record with 261 yards on the ground.
"We just need to get better," Browns head coach Pat Shurmur said of the run defense Monday. "They're a good running team, we practiced against the run and they executed just like they wanted to. We've just got to get better. When you stop the run it's a team thing, and when you don't stop the run, it's a team thing."
In Rams RB Steven Jackson, the Browns' defense will get a group-wide test. Jackson has rushed for 289 yards in the last two games after gaining just 290 in his first five games. Jackson is a powerful, patient runner who will make the Browns pay if they are not stouter on all levels Sunday. Jackson still has a good burst and can be tough to bring down on the second level once he gets going.
The Rams have every reason to pound away at the Browns' defense with the running game, considering Jackson is in very good form right now - and the Browns' ability to stop a back of his caliber is questionable after such a poor performance against the top-class Foster and the improving Tate.