At this moment, you’d be hard-pressed to find an NFL team that couldn’t beat Mike McCoy’s Bolts. And it’s not as if this was a late-loss caused by a couple of mistakes, this one was the Browns’ to lose from the opening kickoff.
After giving up points on each of the first three offensive possessions by the Cleveland Browns, and finding themselves down 17-10, the Los Angeles Chargers pass rush finally got to Robert Griffin III and forced a punt. The Browns easily went down the field for three more points and a 20-10 lead immediately following halftime, but struggled to get anything going offensively after that.
Philip Rivers did himself no favors, throwing an ugly interception in the 2nd Quarter that resulted in three points for the Browns. His offensive line was mostly nonexistent throughout the day, leading to less than 4 yards per carry for starter Kenneth Farrow and less than 2 yards per carry for backup Ronnie Hillman.
Once again, as Philip Rivers said, you try to laugh to keep from crying. #Chargers— Andrew Burer (@andrewburer) December 24, 2016
Give credit to John Pagano and the Chargers’ pass-rush for getting the team back into this game in the 2nd Half. The Browns didn’t score after their first drive after halftime. Joey Bosa finished with 2 sacks, along with 2 for Damion Square and seemingly one for everyone else on the defense. The constant pressure eventually led to Robert Griffin III being removed with the game for concussion-like symptoms.
Robert Griffin III officially diagnosed with a concussion.— Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) December 24, 2016
I wonder what the NFL record is for largest positive sack differential in a loss. Chargers are +8.— Ben Higgins (@BenHigginsSD) December 24, 2016
At the end of the day, there was a lot of good to take away from this game and this season. Philip Rivers is still pretty great but also prone to back-breaking turnovers. Melvin Gordon is pretty great but also injury prone. Kenneth Farrow is not a terrible backup but the entire offensive line outside of Matt Slauson is trash.
On the defensive side, the front seven was one of the best group in football this season. However, the secondary lacked depth that reared its ugly head when Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers went down with injuries. Both starting Safeties have played terribly all year long. Melvin Ingram, while able to get near the QB consistently, can’t seem to make that final step to turn those into sacks.
The Chargers did have a chance to tie this game late, but Josh Lambo’s 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked with 3:49 left in the 4th Quarter. With just 1 second left in regulation, Lambo missed a 45-yard field goal attempt.
When you realize you ARE the Cleveland Browns pic.twitter.com/1I3UzvSYLE— Jordan Carruth (@JordanCarruth) December 24, 2016
Mike McCoy coached himself to a lost season and (likely) a lost job. He has no excuses. That being said, the greatness of some of these players being deemed irrelevant by the terrible play by some of the other players should tell us all that Tom Telesco hasn’t built the roster the way it needs to be built in the four years that he has been in charge.