The Los Angeles Chargers (5-6) look to make it three in a row when they host the Cleveland Browns (0-11) in Week 13. Kickoff at StubHub Center is set for 1:05pm PT.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
Fresh off one of the finest performances of his career, Philip Rivers looks to keep the offense rolling. Number 17 has completed 241 of 388 attempts (62.1-percent) for 2.948 yards, 20 touchdowns and only seven interceptions for a 95.2 passer rating. He ranks fifth in TDs, seventh in passing yards and 10th in TDs. His top weapon remains Keenan Allen, who has been on a tear as of late, catching 23 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns in his last two games. He's posted 67 receptions for 927 yards and four touchdowns, currently ranking fifth in receptions and seventh in receiving yards among all wideouts in the NFL. Meanwhile, Melvin Gordon anchors the ground attack having toted the rock 188 times for 698 yards (3.7 ypc) and five touchdowns. Undrafted rookie Austin Ekeler has emerged as a perfect complement to the bell-cow back, carrying the ball 37 times for 179 yards (4.8 ypc) and two touchdowns along with 24 catches for 252 yards and three additional scores.
On Offense for the Browns
The big story for Cleveland is the return of WR Josh Gordon, who has not appeared in a game in three years due to suspension. One of the top receivers in the game when on the field, Gordon led the NFL in receiving yards, and was a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection in 2013. He appeared in 14 games that year, catching 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns. Rookie QB DeShone Kizer is expected to once again be under center. The second-round pick out of Notre Dame has a 57.2 passer rating on the year, completing 166 of 313 passes (53.0-percent) for 1,823 yards with five touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He's also run the ball 54 times for 262 yards (4.9 ypc) and five touchdowns. Finally, Cleveland's ground attack is led by the one-two punch of Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson. Crowell has carried the rock 145 times for 554 yards (3.8 ypc) and two TDs, while Johnson has 52 carries for 275 yards (5.3) and two touchdowns. Johnson is also the team's leading receiver with 50 catches for 446 yards and two scores.
On Defense for the Chargers
The defense is peaking at the right time, entering Sunday's game having forced eight turnovers and scoring three touchdowns over the past two weeks. Joey Bosa ranks fifth in the NFL with 10.5 sacks while Melvin Ingram is eighth with 8.5. Meanwhile, Tre Boston and Casey Hayward are tied for third in the NFL with four interceptions each.
On Defense for the Browns
Linebacker Joe Schobert paces the Browns with 101 tackles in his second year out of Wisconsin. Meanwhile, first overall pick Myles Garrett has made his presence felt with 5.0 sacks, followed closely by Emmanuel Ogbah. In the secondary, Jason McCourty leads the team with three picks.
The Chargers are 15-9-1 all-time against the Browns, and hold a 7-4-0 record against Cleveland at home.
By the Numbers
The Chargers rank 10th in total offense (357.1 yards per game), fourth in passing (263.9 ypg), 25th in rushing (93.2 ypg) and 14th in points (22.6). The Browns rank 24th in total offense (310.2 ypg), 25th in passing (202.8 ypg), 17th in rushing (107.4 ypg) and 32nd in points (15.1).
Defensively, the Bolts rank 17th in total defense (339.5 ypg), seventh in passing (206.0 ypg), 32nd in rushing (133.5 ypg) and sixth in points allowed (18.4). Cleveland ranks ninth in total defense (318.0 ypg), 13th in passing (220.8 ypg), eighth in rushing (97.2 ypg) and 31st in points allowed (26.3).
Milestones on the Horizon
Keenan Allen needs one more reception to reach 289 for his career, which would pass Tony Martin for 11th in team history. He needs 11 more to reach 78 for the season, which would set a new career best.
Keenan Allen is 73 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season.
Melvin Gordon needs two more receiving touchdowns to reach six for the season, which would tie Danny Woodhead (2013, '15) for the second-most in a single season by a running back in franchise history.
Joey Bosa has already tied his career-high for sacks in a season (10.5). He needs one more to set a new record, while Melvin Ingram (8.5) needs two more to tie his career-high.
The next touchdown pass between Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates will be the 86th connection for the pair, breaking a tie with Steve Young and Jerry Rice for the second-most in NFL history.
Gates needs eight more receptions to reach 921 for his career, which would pass Torry Holt for 20th in NFL history. He also needs 35 more receiving yards to reach 11,374 for his career, which would pass Keenan McCardell for 32nd in NFL history. Gates needs 51 more receiving yards to reach 11,390 for his career, which would pass Rod Smith for 31st in league annals.
Noteworthy vs. the Browns
On Dec. 19, 2004, the Chargers clinched the AFC West title with a win over the Browns on an 18-degree day that felt like minus-10 with the wind chill factor. It was the fourth-coldest game in franchise history.
Melvin Ingram had his first multi-sack game (1.5) and a team-high three tackles for loss on Oct. 4, 2015.
In five career games versus Cleveland, Philip Rivers has completed 101 of 171 passes for 1,418 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception for a 97.1 rating and a record of 3-2. He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week and FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week after completing 23 of 38 for 358 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions (118.1 rating) against the Browns on Oct. 4, 2015. Rivers passed for 322 yards in the contest last season, his 51st-career 300-yard game, to tie Dan Fouts for the most in franchise history.
In 2009, Antonio Gates set a career-high with 167 receiving yards in a game at Cleveland. In 2004, Gates helped the Chargers clinch their first AFC West title since 1994 with a career-long 72-yard touchdown catch. In that 2012 game, Rivers 2009 recorded a season-high 140.8 passer rating.
In the game last season at Cleveland, the Chargers defense collected nine sacks and 13 tackles for loss against the Browns. It tied for the third-most sacks in a game in team history. Joey Bosa and Damion Square led the team with two sacks apiece, while Bosa paced the squad with three tackles for loss.
Browns LB Josh Keyes played for the Chargers in 2017.
Browns Senior Offensive Assistant/Wide Receivers Coach Al Saunders was the Chargers head coach from 1986-88. Prior to becoming the Bolts head coach, he coached receivers from 198386.
Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn was the running backs coach for the Browns from 2007-08.
Chargers Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt coached the Browns in 1999.
Chargers Running Backs Coach Alfredo Roberts coached for the Browns with A. Lynn from 2007-08.
Chargers Quarterbacks Coach Shane Steichen coached for the Browns in 2013.
Chargers Offensive Quality Control Dan Shamash coached for the Browns from 2009-10.
Chargers Head Strength and Conditioning Coach John Lott was the strength coach for the Browns from 2005-06.
Chargers WR Travis Benjamin was drafted by Cleveland in the 2012 draft and played for the Browns from 2012-15.
CBS – Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Adam Archuleta (analyst)
KFI-AM 640 – Matt "Money" Smith (play-by-play), Nick Hardwick (analyst) and Shannon Farren (sideline)
Spanish Radio: KFWB – AM 980– Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Tony Alvarez (analyst)
Chargers radio broadcasts throughout the season will be able to be heard across 11 radio stations from Southern California to Nevada. Fans can listen in English on KGB-FM and KLSD AM (San Diego), KNWZ-AM (Palm Springs), KALZ-AM (Fresno), KBFP-AM (Bakersfield), KNWH-FM (Yucca Valley), KRLV-FM (Las Vegas), KRAK-AM (Victorville/Hesperia), KATY-FM (San Bernardino) and KPLY-AM (Reno). Spanish broadcasts can be heard on XHFG-FM (San Diego).