West Coast woes: Joshua Gunter’s favorite photos from Browns’ loss to Rams

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INGLEWOOD, California — In stark contrast to last week’s Cleveland Browns trip to Denver, where I escaped to the mountains for a few hours of quiet and tranquility, this past weekend trip to Los Angeles was loud, a little dirty and far from relaxing. Granted, I saw very little of L.A in my whirlwind trip to the West Coast. In fact, I barely left West Century Boulevard, a busy artery of a road that connected the airport to my hotel and SoFi Stadium.

The only similarity between the two trips was the outcome of the games, which both resulted in losses for the Browns.

Below is a look at my favorite photos from the Browns’ loss to the Rams.

SoFi Stadium is an interesting venue from a photographer’s perspective. The entire facility is considered “open air,” yet covered in a membrane material called Fluon ETFE fluoropolymer film.

The film allows sun through, albeit slightly diffused, while keeping rain out. It makes for nice light in my opinion. However, a massive 70,000 square foot oval video screen, called the Samsung Infinity Screen, hanging 122 feet above the entire length of the playing field, casts unusual shadows on the turf. But I still found SoFi to be good shooting conditions, and I can’t complain about sporting shorts on the sideline for a December NFL game.

The Browns dazzled in their opening drive, with 38-year-old Joe Flacco marching the team down the field and finishing with a 24-yard touchdown to Jerome Ford to give Cleveland a 7-0 lead.

The two teams went toe-to-toe for much of the game, until about the final four minutes when the Rams went on a 16-point scoring spree.

This leap made for several nice frames as Browns tight end David Njoku soared through the air to avoid Rams cornerback Derion Kendrick. The play was called back after it was determined Njoku’s foot was out of bounds during the catch.

like this moment as Browns tight end Harrison Bryant braces for impact as Rams linebacker Ernest Jones tries to punch the ball free from Bryant’s grasp. Jones failed to knock the ball free and Bryant scored a touchdown on the play.

This play happened fast, so kudos to the official for making the right call that Rams tight end Tyler Higbee dropped the pass, after the ball hit the ground as he fell.

I love the energy in the frame: two players at full speed. One trying to get free for a run and the other trying to bring him down. I like how outstretched Browns defensive end Za’Darius Smith’s arm is as he tries to get a grip on Rams running back Kyren Williams.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Elijah Moore made an impressive catch that prompted the Rams to challenge the ruling of a fair catch after questioning whether Moore was in bounds. The catch is now being referred to as the butt cheek completion after referee John Hussey stated over the stadium PA, “Prior to the receiver’s leg hitting out of bounds, his butt cheek landed in bounds.”

It was great to see the team celebrating with the new guy. After Flacco threw for a touchdown on the first drive of the game, teammate Anthony Walker ran out to show him some love.

That first drive of the game had me very excited for the day. This was the final play of the drive, as Ford leaps into the air to catch a pass before backpedaling into the end zone for the touchdown. The Browns drove the ball down the field with ease and looked so smooth with Flacco under center.

It took me a moment to realize what was going on here when I was shooting this. I thought someone was holding Browns defensive end Myles Garrett’s helmet up in this frame, but then realized the helmet was stuck to the face mask of Rams offensive lineman Alaric Jackson.

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