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Chargers Drop Ugly Game to the Browns
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It was an ugly day in Cleveland with miserable weather, and the play on the field for both teams wasn’t much better. But in the end, the home team came out on top as the Browns edged the Chargers 7-6.
Cleveland got on the board first, after the Chargers were unable to convert a fourth down on the opening drive of the game. Cleveland marched the ball down field, converting two third downs and one fourth down, and finished the drive with a 26-yard touchdown run by Trent Richardson. After a couple of three-and-outs by each team, Ryan Mathews coughed up the ball, giving the Browns the ball at San Diego’s 46. The Browns weren’t able to pick up a first down, and after the end of 15 minutes, Cleveland led the game 7-0.
Neither team was able to get much going early in the second quarter. With 1:48 on the clock, the Chargers managed to get their offense rolling, started by 25-yard catch and run by Ronnie Brown. Eventually, Nick Novak drilled a 43-yard field goal as time expired to trim the lead to 7-3 heading into halftime.
Both teams had trouble getting on track to start the second half, and the Chargers defense kept the team in the game with a number of clutch plays. Eventually, Novak converted a 31-yard field goal towards the end of the third quarter to trim the Browns’ lead to a single point, 7-6.
To start the fourth quarter, the Bolts had the ball at their own three yard line. They managed to convert a trio of third downs before the drive stalled near midfield, forcing a punt. The Browns started their drive deep in their own territory, but strung together a long drive of their own before it came to an end just inside the Chargers territory with 2:46 remaining in the game.
The drive started with a Rivers pass to the left to Antonio Gates for a nine yard gain. Brown then took an inside handoff from the shotgun for three yards, bringing up a first down and the two-minute warning. After an incomplete pass, Brown took a short pass from Rivers and sprinted 21 yards up the left sideline. The two connected again on the very next play for an 11 yard gain to the Browns 44-yard line. Following a trio of incomplete passes, the Chargers faced a fourth down with the game on the line. Rivers dropped back into coverage and looked for Malcom Floyd, but Buster Skrine tipped the ball incomplete sealing the win for the Browns.
The Chargers looked poised to score their first touchdown of the game midway through the third quarter when Philip Rivers hit Robert Meachem in stride for a surefire touchdown. Unfortunately, the speedy wide receiver dropped the ball and the Bolts were forced to punt it away. The Chargers were never able to find the end zone for the remainder of the game as they went on to drop the 7-6 decision at Cleveland.
It Was Over When…
The Chargers had a 4th-and-10 at Cleveland’s 44-yard line with 1:24 remaining in the game. Philip Rivers took the ball in shotgun formation and after allowing his receivers time to get downfield, fired for Malcom Floyd. Unfortunately, cornerback Buster Skrine was able to get his hand on the ball to tip it out of harm’s way. The Browns took over on downs and after a pair of kneel downs, the game was over.
Play of the Game
The Chargers had a chance to get the ball back in good field position as Cleveland had a 3rd-and-6 from their own 7 midway through the fourth quarter. Brandon Weeden took the snap and after drawing the Chargers defense in, hit Trent Richardson on a screen pass to the flat. The running back then ran for the first down, a game changing play that lead to a long drive that took plenty of time off the clock.
Stat of the Game
The Chargers have not scored a touchdown in their last six quarters of play.
“We’re in an extremely challenging situation. We need to find a way to win a game.” – Head Coach Norv Turner
“It’s a tough one. There’s no other way around it. We had to find a way to get just one touchdown and we couldn’t do it. We had to get eight points and we just couldn’t do it today.” – Quarterback Philip Rivers
“We know we’re capable of playing better, but we’re just not doing that for some reason. We’ve got to get it together. The best part about this league is that this game is over and now we have another opportunity coming up. As professionals, we have to handle situations like this. With your back against the wall you have to come out fighting. That’s what we have to do as a football team.”– Running Back Ronnie Brown
“Thursday night is pivotal for us. We have to win. There is no other option.”- Center Nick Hardwick
Odds and Ends
Ronnie Brown had a strong game and was the team’s leading receiver with seven catches for 85 yards.
Ryan Mathews finished the game with 24 carries for 95 yards, averaging 4.0 yards per attempt.
Richard Goodman injured his hamstring on the opening kickoff of the game and did not return. Chris Carr handled kickoffs the rest of the way.
Takeo Spikes suffered an arm injury in the game as well, and the team will update his status later in the week.
With Eddie Royal out with a hamstring injury, Eric Weddle handled punt returns.
The inactives today included Royal, Brandon Taylor, Shareece Wright, Curtis Brinkley, Jonas Mouton, Antonio Garay and Ladarius Green.
Today’s temperatures were in the low 40s with wind gusts up to 20mph.