Every week, I try and come up with three reasons why the Los Angeles Chargers will either win or lose against their upcoming opponent. Up next, the Cleveland Browns.
We’re in the home stretch of this thing, with five incredibly important games against underwhelming teams ahead. The Chargers have two games in a row at home, starting with a Browns team currently in free-fall. Will they beat the Browns? More than likely. But here it is anyway: three completely legitimate reasons why they would lose:
3. Special teams woes
This one is both incredibly relevant to this season, and to previous matchups with the Browns.
The Chargers are a combined 12-for-19 when it comes to field goals this season. I was surprised the number was even that high, as it appears the kickers have missed at least a couple per game. If you’re outscoring your opponents 82-30 over the last two games, then maybe it doesn’t matter if you even have a competent kicker. But, those points will eventually matter, and in the last two meetings with the Browns, they absolutely have.
Last season, the Chargers gifted the Browns their first (and only) win of the season, losing to them in the fourth quarter after a wild rushed field goal attempt from Josh Lambo went wide right.
In 2015, the lowly Browns came to San Diego and absolutely dominated on offense, with Josh McCown airing it out for 356 yards and a touchdown.
Philip Rivers was able to keep up, and drove the Chargers down the field for a game-winning field goal attempt. The kick? NO GOOD! Lambo pushed it to the right, and the game was headed to overtime. That is, until a lucky offsides penalty gift from the Browns gave him one more attempt, which he put through to make it a 30-27 victory.
The Browns are likely a worse team now than they were those two years (hard to believe), but they’re still an NFL team. With the Browns having shown the ability two seasons in a row to take the Chargers down to the wire, the game may come down to special teams.
And at 12-for-19, I’m just a little bit worried.