Browns defeat Chargers for first win of season

It finally happened. Josh Lambo's missed field goal as time expired gave the Browns their first win in more than a calendar year. Here's what we learned from Cleveland's 20-17 victory over San Diego:

  1. Cleveland has dodged the horrors of 0-16. Instead of becoming an inglorious footnote in the NFL history books alongside the 2008 Lions -- and the enduring target of snark-dripping bloggers east to west -- the Browns, at last, played four full quarters to upset the Chargers in a tilt that might cost coach Mike McCoy his job in San Diego. Cleveland's win certainly takes tremendous pressure off coach Hue Jackson and the team's new front office as they head into Year Two of their bold rebuilding plan. But will Sunday's win cost them the No. 1 overall pick?
  1. Philip Rivers and the Chargers zipped down the field for on an easy touchdown on their opening drive, but San Diego's offense struggled from there against a Browns defense that -- while not generating a sack -- made life difficult for the veteran. Rivers (24-of-47 passing for 321 yards) threw a costly first-half pick to cornerback Jamar Taylor before returning in the second half to lob touchdown strikes to Tyrell Williams before San Diego's final five marches failed to produce points. For the first time in months, Cleveland's secondary operated as something other than an open prairie land. Without question, the absence of running back Melvin Gordon hurt a Chargers team that ran for just 35 yards at 1.9 yards per rush.
  1. The Browns are using the final games of this lost season to make a decision on quarterback Robert Griffin III. Cleveland will never sport a sustainable offense with him at the helm, but Griffin played his best game in years on Sunday. The former first-round pick of the Redskins used the read-option to run for 42 yards and kept drives alive with a handful of money throws to guide the Browns to their most points since Week 8. Griffin was sacked an unruly seven times and couldn't finish the game because of a concussion suffered in the final quarter, but he and fill-in Cody Kessler will always be remembered as the passers who prevented a winless season (and also nearly made it happen).
  1. McCoy has dealt with an incredible slew of injuries this year and still kept the Chargers playing at a high level this season. Still, the coach will have a tough time explaining this loss to ownership. So will Lambo, who botched two field goals in the final four minutes.
  1. Former Browns receivers are scattered all over the league. Taylor Gabriel is lighting it up for the Falcons, Willie Snead is producing in New Orleans and Travis Benjamin has done a wonderful job during his first season with the Chargers. The speedy wideout toasted Joe Haden for a 50-yard catch on the game's opening play before finishing with 75 yards off three grabs. Ageless tight end Antonio Gates led the way with 94 yards off eight receptions.
  1. Chargers rookie pass rusher Joey Bosa torched the Browns with two of San Diego's nine sacks, only strengthening his case for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content