Oct 4, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead (39) runs the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The second half of this game was defined by the galloping Danny Woodhead, and huge gains by Dontrelle Inman & Ladarius Green. With Gates out, and Floyd suffering a mid-game concussion, it was great to see these two youngsters show off their athleticism, and prove they will be a big part of this offense moving forward!
Here’s how the second quarter went down:
We opened up the second half with the Chargers receiving the ball. Allen immediately gets a nice gain on first down. 1st & 10 from midfield. Rivers throws a pass to Johnson on the next play, but it’s incomplete This is followed up with a pass interference AND Facemask penalty on a throw to Allen, who they pretty much had to mug all day to stop. Unfortunately, the Chargers suffer yet ANOTHER major injury to Stevie Johnson, and they are now down to 2 wide receivers. Allen & Inman… That’s it.
Understandably, they decide to switch back to the running game, but Gordon is brought down in backfield. Then, the Chargers offensive line commits a false start, Harriston being the culprit this time as the fill-in at the left tackle spot for Dunlap. This forces 2nd & 18. Rivers throws an incomplete pass to Inman, and another short pass to Allen for little gain. Scifres comes out to punt, and we are left to scratch our heads why we aren’t running the ball here? Scifres puts it at the 12, keeping the Browns honest with the field position, which was a recurring theme today.
On their first play of the half, McCown dumps the ball off for a 30 yard gain. Duke Johnson goes down, and an injury TO is called. He would later return. The play clock starts rolling again, and Cleveland commits a false start. They dump the ball off to Crowell, but he gets nothing. This Next play, Crowell goes for 53 yards into SD territory, as Flowers whiffs on a tackle with little-to-no effort. The announcers are calling him out here. Then, ex-Charger Shaun Draughn goes for a minimal gain. Then, they try to give it to him again on a dump off pass for nothing, as Te’O tackles him. It’s 3rd & 5 at the 10. The Chargers force a stop, as Butler disrupts. The Browns settle for the field Goal, which is good, and makes the score 16-13 Browns.
After the kick, the Chargers set up shop at their 20. On the first play,Woodhead runs for the longest catch of his career for 65 yards! Mighty Mouse strikes again! Another Injury timeout for the Browns stops the clock. On the ensuing play, Rivers somehow gets a perfect throw out under EXTREME pressure to Ladarius Green for his 2nd TD, and the 5th lead change of the day. It’s 20-16 Chargers. Lambo nails the PAT, business as usual.
Lambo kicks ANOTHER touchback, which is something I was looking for today, and he delivered on almost every kickoff. Robinson holds down Benjamin for an incomplete pass. Crowell runs for little gain after Te’O tackles him. (Did Te’O do as bad as some think he did? Hmmmm…) Stevie Williams forces another incompletion on Benjamin, and the Browns must punt. Allen fair catches on the 22, which is scaring me at this point, as he is one of two healthy wide receivers.
Rivers throws an incompletion, and then gets a delay of game penalty, as he doesn’t realize the clock expires. Rivers literally doesn’t even notice. Better than a timeout maybe? Anyway, it’s 2nd & 14. Gordon makes something out of nothing lined up as a WR (due to injuries), and gets a gain of 2 or 3. Then Inman gets an AWESOME 1st down catch on the sideline, and a personal foul on the Browns tacks yardage onto the play.
A couple of incompletions by Rivers, one being to John Phillips, and it’s 3rd and 10.. again. With the playclock expiring, the Chargers are forced to waste a timeout here, and this is the second time they have not been set for the play on this series… and this is at HOME! Timeouts aren’t valuable, or anything. Then, with all the time in the world to get set, the Chargers make great use of that timeout, as Rivers is sacked immediately. Scifres punts, and Benjamin returns it for 42 yards!!!!! Scifres out-kicks his coverage AGAIN!
Crowell goes for a few on a quick run. Then, on the next play, Crowell runs right into the teeth of the D, and Reyes & Te’O stop him at the line of scrimmage, and it’s 3rd & 4. Aren’t these the guys who never tackle anyone? Just checking. McCown subsequently throws to Benjamin for a gain of 16, as Stevie Johnson gets torched!!!! Weddle does his usual “protect my body” run defense, and stops a run for a not-so-minimal gain of 5 yards. The announcers talk about how both rush defenses are playing decently, and I start snorting, because I am laughing so hard.
McCown completes a pass to Duke Johnson for his 9th catch of the day, and a first down. But, on the next play, the Chargers pass rush steps up, and Attouchu gets the 4th sack of the day on McCown. It’s 3rd & 20. The Chargers then go limp over the middle again, and allow a pass for 16 yards to Barnidge, and they are in FG range. Kick is good, and the score is now 20-19.
Mike McCoy finally wakes up to the realization that he only has 2 receivers left, and Oliver is now taking kickoffs. He at least gets it out to the 25. More positive KR yardage!
Gordon goes outside to the left for a gain of 4!!! Next play, Rivers throws it away, due to good coverage. I like his decision here. Great decision making today, to stop the bleeding of consecutive 2 TO games that he has under his belt lately. That great decision, is then immediately rewarded when he completes a pass to Inman who scampers to the 1 yard line for 68 yards! This is the PRIME reason why Rivers needs to stop forcing his throws, and live to fight another day. Rivers does a great job of hanging in the pocket under pressure. Great play for Inman, in the absence of the veterans! He’s a playmaker! Then, a penalty on Browns half the distance. Please give it to Gordon!
Gordon up the middle, for no gain… ouch… who stops him? Danny Shelton. But, Shelton has no answer for what comes next, as they fake to Gordon, but complete an easy back of the endzone pass to John Phillips, who is alone. A RARE good play call from Reich, and THIS is why Gordon was brought in… if not for the production, but the threat! Lambo kicks the PAT. It’s now 27-19 Chargers.
On the following kickoff, Lambo misses the ONE touchback all day, and it’s returned to the 32. If Novak was out there, it would have been WAY worse today, trust it. The Browns would have been starting at midfield all day, the way we cover kicks. Crowell rushes for another chuck of of 7 yards. The fans are then informed that Flowers has a concussion, and will not return. Nice.
Not very surprisingly, the Browns take to air to Gabriel, for first down. Josh friggin McCown has 315 yards in passing at this point in the game. Yuck!!!!!!
Then there’s this play, which was the linebacker equivalent of Fluker pancaking Sio Moore in 2013….. Perryman absolutely THUDS Crowell on the next play, stuffing him for no gain! It looked really painful, and Crowell certainly learned today…. alright alright alright!!!! (As Kevin Hart would say).
Unfortunately, Benjamin gets 18 on the next play as Perryman & Ingram can’t tackle him whatsoever, so that was deflating… but, we always have the previous play for GIFs, don’t we? Crowell must have been mad, because he goes up the middle AGAIN for 7 yards, which is a recurring theme for the Chargers… it’s like their sleep number or something. The Chargers run defense is CLEARLY wearing down, and Robinson, Williams, and Wilson are probably gasping for air, and wondering where the homies went, after all of these injuries. Duke Johnson gets a first down on the next play, with Perryman on the tackle. The Browns are still down by 8.
McCown goes to Gabriel for a short pass under pressure, and it’s 2nd & 7 with 3:05 left. Barnidge almost comes down with a HUGE catch at the goal line, which is ruled incomplete. Browns challenge. His knee looks like it may have been down in bounds for a catch. And, yes….. The call is overturned, and the Browns get it on the goal line. They run the ball, and get stuffed. I am wondering with so little time left if it is wise to keep stopping them. But, it doesn’t matter, as McCown throws to Barnidge again for a TD pass (I WAS GOING TO START THIS GUY IN MY FANTASY LEAGUE AS A SLEEPER, AND I DIDN’T!!!!)
Obviously, the Browns go for two…. and I have ZERO confidence that our defense can stop them, as they are on life support now. Gabriel catches an easy pass at the goal line, as the Chargers defenders don’t even look like they are paying attention to the play WHATSOEVER when the ball is snapped! Tie game.
BUT!!!!!!! The Chargers have 2 timeouts & the 2 minute warning, and only need to get to the 35 yard line to win this game, right? Right.
Oliver takes it out to the 27. It’s clear Oliver needs to fill this role while Jones is out, and in light of the fact that he is losing touches to Gordon. No brainer right? Keenan Allen, God bless his heart, is a LAST option for this job!
Philip Rivers takes the field, as he has done many times while wearing lighting Bolts, with the game on the line. I’m praying to GOD he doesn’t turn it over. They start out with a hand off to Woodhead for a short gain, bringing the clock down to the two minute warning.
After the commercial break, Green gets a big gain for a first down, to the 49! I like the way this kid runs… screw what people say about the “trade up”. Then Rivers throws a pass to Allen at the 43. Just chunking off yards. On the next play Woodhead puts his team in the best position to win (paying attention Reich & McCoy) by galloping down the filed like a gazelle on the Serengeti Plains, all the way down to the 24, putting them squarely in striking distance for Lambo. The Browns take a timeout.
Woodhead positions it for Lambo up the middle for a 2 yard gain. Cleveland take another timeout. Another quick play, and the Chargers are at 3rd & 6, and take a knee.
Lambo comes onto the field, as if my article earlier today was a prophecy, waiting to be fulfilled.
He misses it!!!!! We are going to overtime folks….. But wait…. no….. there’s a flag!!! Cleveland is offside. ARE YOU FRIGGIN KIDDING ME?!!!! LAMBO IS THE LUCKIEST MAN ON THE PLANET! HE’LL GET ANOTHER SHOT!
Next kick is good!
Get healthy everyone.