It was a thriller in San Diego as the Chargers hosted the Cleveland Browns for an afternoon shootout. After short possessions for both teams, Cleveland put together an 11 play drive that resulted in a field goal. Travis Coons converted on the 36 yard attempt giving the Browns a 3-0 lead.
However, San Diego responded on the ensuing possession. Philip Rivers wasted no time marching his team downfield and finding Keenan Allen in the end zone. The eight play drive gave them a 7-3 advantage.
Instead of losing momentum, the Browns quickly retaliated with a touchdown of their own. Isaiah Crowell broke out a 32 yard run setting them up in San Diego territory. Two plays later, Duke Johnson caught a Josh McCown pass for the score.
Although Cleveland held a three point lead, the Chargers tied the game with at 10 with a field goal of their own. Each team exchanged another field goal before the half, making the score tied at 13.
The second half brought just as much excitement for everyone watching. After forcing a punt, McCown assembled another drive into the enemy red zone, but was held to yet another field goal. There comes a point when three points isn’t going to cut it anymore.
On the next possession, Cleveland was carved up by the short middle pass. Philip Rivers found an open Danny Woodhead and the running back found some space. The 61 yard gain set up the Chargers near the end zone. Rivers connected on a touchdown with Ladarius Green on the very next play.
As the game entered the fourth quarter, San Diego held the advantage 20-16. The gap was narrowed to one as Travis Coons kicked his fourth field goal of the game. This was a scrappy fight between both teams, but Philip Rivers capitalized by scoring touchdowns.
The veteran quarterback once again found an open receiver on a short route over the middle of the field. Dontrelle Inman’s 68 yard reception set up another touchdown for a tight end, this time John Phillips caught the pass. San Diego’s lead grew to 27-19.
Next thing you know, the Browns drove downfield again, but this time was more enjoyable. McCown launched a beautiful pass down the sideline to Gary Barnidge. The tight end bobbled the ball just before securing the ball inbounds. It was originally ruled incomplete, but after a Cleveland challenge the call was reversed. Barnidge and McCown connected on a touchdown two plays later.
After a successful two point conversion tied the game, it was up to the defense to get the ball back or force it to overtime. Unfortunately, with two minutes left on the clock, Philip Rivers had no problem rallying the troops as they pushed into field goal range. With just seconds remaining, the Chargers attempted a 39 yard field goal for the win.
At first the kick looked good, but then it sailed right. As soon as Browns fans rejoiced, their hearts were broken just as fast. Tramon Williams jumped offsides giving San Diego another shot from five yards closer. As expected, the kick was good and the Browns suffered a 30-27 defeat.
Unfortunately, this game was marred by penalties. The Cleveland Browns were flagged 12 times for 91 yards and none more costly than the last one.
On a positive note, Cleveland’s offensive seems to be coming around with their running backs producing big numbers. Crowell ran for 63 yards and added another 62 on three receptions. The rookie, Duke Johnson, finally revealed what he is capable of. He led the team with nine catches for 85 yards and scored a touchdown.
This could be a sign of great things to come. However, the defense is another story.
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