The San Diego Chargers traveled to Ohio on Christmas Eve to take on the winless Browns. Even though the season is over, and the only implications in the remaining games is draft standings, the Chargers were playing to not hand the Cleveland Browns their first win of the season.
The game started out as many others have, with the Chargers offense taking the field with a quick score to Antonio Gates, after a Travis Benjamin reception for 50 yards. However, after the initial drive, the Chargers could not get much going on offense during the first half, settling for a field goal, a Philip Rivers interception, and two punts.
The Chargers defense would get burned for 17 points, including two rushing touchdowns from Isaiah Crowell. Although the Chargers defense did everything in their power to put pressure on Robert Griffin including sacks from Joey Bosa, Darius Philon, and Jatavis Brown, Robert Griffin III still managed to keep their offense in contention and carry their 17-10 lead into the half.
The second half started just as the first half ended, with lackluster offense until Rivers connected with Tyrell Williams on third-and-goal for a 1-yard touchdown. Williams did his best Odell Beckham impression to haul in the one-handed touchdown.
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Late in the fourth quarter with the Browns leading, the Chargers drove down the field, but would settle for a 32-yard field goal to tie the game. However, in typical Chargers fashion, what can go wrong, will go wrong, and the kick was blocked by Jamie Meder to keep the score at 20-17 with only 3:49 left. Luckily for the offense, the Chargers defense forced a three-and- out, giving the ball back to the offense for a two-minute drill situation.
With the offense back on the field for their last possession of the game, Rivers would connect with Gates on 4th-and-10 for a 25-yard reception, allowing the Chargers to get in field-goal range. After spiking the ball to stop the clock, Rivers would fumble the snap, then would connect with Gates for an 11-yard pick up and 4th-and-2 situation. With no more time outs, Josh Lambo and the special teams would rush out on the field to kick the 45-yard field goal with only three seconds left on the clock. But Lambo would kick wide left allowing for the Browns to secure their first win of the season.
The silver lining was the Chargers defense who ended the contest with nine sacks, however even the exit of Griffin III could not help the Chargers get the win. The struggling offense continues to miss the production of Melvin Gordon with Kenneth Farrow rushing for 3.1 yards per carry, and Ronnie Hillman rushing for less than one yard per carry.
The Chargers will face the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday in the season finale, and possibly the last Chargers game in San Diego history.