I don’t know why the Cleveland Browns always play the Los Angeles Chargers tough. It must just be a strange matchup of styles, because even when the Chargers (the hottest team in football) should be blowing out the Browns (now 0-12), there’s enough tension in the final quarter to make us all nervous.
Either way, the Chargers are headed towards a tie for first place in the AFC West with the Oakland Raiders after this one. Unlike the last few meetings against Cleveland, Anthony Lynn’s team was able to get the job done today in Carson, California.
Let’s get to my game notes....
The Cleveland Browns start their offensive gameplan with a pass right to Josh Gordon, in his first game back in years, and he just about picks up the first down. It’s easy to forget how good that guy was when he actually played.
The Chargers’ defense bends but does not break, and they force a punt. They’ll have 95+ yards to go to get into the end zone.
I just learned that the Chargers kicker this week is named Travis Coons. Moments after I learned that, he clanged a short field goal (CLANGA!) and now I’m not sure he’s really a kicker at all. The score is nil-nil.
The Chargers defense looks great, but penalties by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are keeping this drive alive for the Browns.
This game is flying, guys.
Did you know that the Browns were named in a fan contest, and because of that nobody really knows why they’re called the Browns? It’s assumed that they were named after their Head Coach and GM at the time (the legendary Paul Brown) but I like to believe the city of Cleveland just really liked the color Brown at the time.
It’s a good color!
The Browns go for it on 4th & 1 and lose yardage. Turnover on downs. That possession was going well before that, which is to say that Josh Gordon nearly ended up in the end zone with the ball in his hands. Still no score.
Somebody has the Browns scared deep, because Antonio Gates and Keenan Allen are open underneath all day long. Philip Rivers has the Bolts in the red zone quickly and easily.
Rivers looks hurt and calls timeout. I can’t even begin to imagine how catastrophic that would be without violently shaking.
He’s staying in. Get back to your seat, Kellen Clemens.
Keenan Allen can’t come down with it on 3rd & goal and here comes Travis Coons. CLANGA! Just kidding, he nails it. 3-0 Chargers lead.
I’m glad my bank wouldn’t let me deposit any money into my Bovada account this morning because I would’ve bet big on the Chargers giving a bunch of points and that would’ve been really dumb.
Seriously, who the hell is Travis Coons?
Surprise, surprise....Austin Ekeler is out here dominating. He’s easily the best running back on this roster.
Travis Coons proves himself to be way more valuable than a 57-year old Eric Dickerson, nailing yet another FG (now 2-3!) and putting the Chargers up 6-0. Get started on his Hall of Fame bust.
Josh Gordon just made one of the better catches I’ve seen this season against Pro Bowl CB Casey Hayward. How is he not rusty? Or is this him with rust? I am flabbergasted.
David Njoku got open, DeShone Kizer hit him with a laser, and the Browns have tied this one up with a TD. 6-6 with the XP coming. 7-6 Browns lead now.
This game is no longer flying, guys.
On the first play after the TD, Rivers gets absolutely destroyed in the pocket and fumbles the ball. Russell Okung jumped on it. Philip follows it up with a 39 yard pass to Travis Benjamin.
This game is a roller coaster named “Heart Attack Alley” or something equally disturbing.
In the final seconds of the 2nd Quarter, Travis Coons hits a chip shot and the Chargers retake the lead. They head into the locker room with L.A. up 9-7.
Halfway through this game, the Chargers have thrown the ball 31 times (!!!!) and run it just 9. That’s not great balance. Also, the red zone offense has been inept.
And on 3rd & 1, Melvin Gordon loses 3 yards. Maybe that’s why L.A. hasn’t been running much. They go back to the passing game on 4th down and Keenan Allen pulls it in for the 1st down.
Maybe offensive balance is overrated.
Keenan Allen gets open (like every play) and Rivers throw him the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. The first Chargers TD of the day. 16-7 Chargers lead after a successful extra point attempt.
The Browns are now having a hard time stopping the Chargers’ rushing attack, which will add to their problem of not being able to stop the Chargers’ passing attack.
Once again, Los Angeles sputters in the red zone but Travis Coons, known for his consistency, professionalism, and expertise at kicking a ball through a couple of uprights, gets the job done. 19-7 Chargers after the FG.
Rivers flip off the Browns sidelines? pic.twitter.com/Azw0ic8Q7p— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) December 3, 2017
I’m willing to bet we’ll be hearing more about that middle finger before the next Chargers game.
The Browns forgot to block Joey Bosa. Things like that are probably why they’re 0-11 this season.
This game has turned into a bunch of penalties to try and even out the disparity in talent. In other words, it’s gotten ugly and boring.
It’s not over yet! The Browns go down the field and kick a 35 yd field goal to bring it within 9 points. 19-10 Chargers lead and an important drive coming up.
Rookie Dez King remains amazing. He returned the kick to midfield.
Hunter Henry made a great catch but looks injured at the end of the play. The Chargers have been getting really beat up today.
Update: Hunter Henry looks fine!
No turnover, but no points. The Browns have a long way to go on this drive, but getting in the end zone could be disastrous for L.A.
Of course they start their drive with a 40 yard pass to David Njoku. Get nervous.
The Browns are practically in the red zone now. Their receivers (most TEs, actually) are wide open on crossing routes. This is madness.
Kizer just ran a QB draw and nearly got to the end zone. That was scary. Can the Chargers’ defense hold them to a field goal?
Kizer held onto the ball way too long, Joey Bosa got him from behind for a sack fumble, Denzel Perryman jumped on top of it and this one is going to be a Los Angeles Chargers victory.
After trying to run out the clock, the Chargers punt the ball back to the Browns and end that drive with an Adrian Phillips interception.