Browns fall to Chargers on late field goal, 30-27


Oct 4, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown (13) is pressured in the pocket by the San Diego Chargers defense during the first quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

They did it again.

Just when it looked like the Cleveland Browns were going to potentially have a chance at a win that would change the narrative surrounding the club, the “same old Browns” made their untimely appearance.

The Browns looked to have the momentum following a 10-play, 67-yard scoring drive and two-point conversion to tie the game at 27 with just a little more than two minutes remaining.

All the team needed was a defensive stop, with the worst case being the game would go into overtime.

But just as they did last year, the defense couldn’t come up with a play when they needed it the most, as the Chargers only needed three plays to move into field goal range for Josh Lambo.

Lambo’s kick was wide right, however, and it looked like the Browns would actually have one more chance in overtime. At least until everyone noticed the penalty flag falling softly to the Qualcomm Stadium turf.

An offside penalty on Tramon Williams nullified the missed kick, and given a second chance do we need to say the Lambo made the kick? Because of course he did.

The penalty on Williams was the 12th and final one for the Browns on the day, who simply cannot stop from hurting themselves time and time again with self-inflicted wounds.

We seen this movie over and over and while we know the ending, it still hurts every time it happens.

The loss overshadowed a nice showing by the offense, starting with quarterback Josh McCown, who finished 32-of-41 for 356 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. (Although he did lose a fumble and was sacked four more times.)

It was the second consecutive game where McCown surpassed 300 passing yards, and while his 90 pass attempts over the past two games is more than we are comfortable with, McCown has done nothing to make any rational fan believe that head coach Mike Pettine should turn the offense over to Johnny Manziel.

Gary Barnidge had another solid day with six receptions for 75 yards and the game-tying touchdown reception. McCown also made good use of his running backs, hitting Duke Johnson with a 34-yard touchdown pass (one of nine catches for 85 yards by the rookie) and Isaiah Crowell on a 53-yard catch-and-run (part of Crowell’s 125 yards of total offense).

But it was all for naught as the defense and penalties did in the Browns, as did the one-of-four performance by the offense in the red zone.

The defense gave up 438 yards of total offense to the Chargers, and while the run defense will look better on paper – only 91 yards and a 4.3 yard-per-carry average), the defense did not force any turnovers and only sacked Philip Rivers twice, despite the Chargers playing without three of their starting offensive lineman.

Look deeper into the numbers and you see that the defense once again gave up too many big plays: a 23-yard run by Melvin Gordon, Woodhead’s 19-yard run and a 61-yard reception, Dontrelle Inman’s 68-yard reception, and a 31-yard reception by Keenan Allen.

The Chargers also earned five of their 23 first downs by penalty.

The defense was supposed to be, if not necessarily a strength, certainly better than the offense this season, especially since they were supposed to have the advantage of being in the second year of defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil‘s system.

But through the first quarter of the season, things have not worked out that way.

The Browns are now 1-3 after completing the “easy part” of their schedule and head back on the road next weekend to take on Baltimore.

Why do we get the feeling that things are going to get a whole lot worse before they get better?

Next: Dawg Pound Daily