Key Moments

5 Key Moments: Chargers jump on Browns early, never let up

1. The Browns got off to a less than ideal start and fell into a 7-0 hole as a result of it.

The Chargers started their first offensive series with prime field position thanks to a 32-yard punt return by Desmond King. In a three-play sequence, Melvin Gordon rushed for 16 yards, Keenan Allen went for another 16 and then added another 17 through the air. Gordon punched it in the end zone from 4 yards to stake Los Angeles to its early lead.

2. The Browns had their hands on two potential turnovers during the second quarter but the ball didn’t quite bounce their way. The second went into the hands of a Chargers wide receiver, and it extended Los Angeles’ lead to 14-3 with 6:34 to play in the first half.

Rivers went deep on back-to-back plays to Tyrell Williams to get the Chargers back in the end zone. His first went 44 yards and the second went 45. The Browns had three defenders around Williams in the end zone, but the wide receiver was able to wrestle the ball away from safety Damarious Randall at the last minute.

Earlier in the quarter, a failed trick play sent the ball squirting out of Rivers’ hands after a backward pass from Allen. Chargers running back Austin Ekeler fell on the ball, and Los Angeles survived to punt.

The Cleveland Browns play the Los Angeles Chargers at FirstEnergy Stadium in Week 6.

3. A familiar connection put the Browns in their biggest hole of the season late in the first half.

Rivers, facing a third-and-6, capped a six-play, 77-yard drive by hitting Williams in stride for a 29-yard touchdown pass. Los Angeles appeared to catch a break on the play, as left tackle Russell Okung moved before the snap, but the officials did not flag the Chargers for a false start.

The Browns sliced into the Chargers’ 21-3 advantage at the end of the half with a quick, 59-yard drive that was capped with a 28-yard Greg Joseph field goal. Cleveland had two cracks at the end zone following a 27-yard catch by rookie Damion Ratley, but both passes fell incomplete.

4. It didn’t get any better for the Browns at the start of the second half.

After a defensive stop, Baker Mayfield gave it right back to the Chargers with his fourth interception of the season. The rookie quarterback rolled to his left and threw across his body to Jarvis Landry, but the ball was snatched away by King, who returned it 33 yards to the Cleveland 10-yard line. Gordon scored on the very next play, giving him two touchdowns on the day and staking the Chargers to a 28-6 lead.

5. The Browns found the end zone for the first time with 12:26 to play in the fourth quarter.

Cleveland had another short field thanks to a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by the Chargers on the punt return. Mayfield moved the Browns 42 yards on seven plays, the biggest of which coming on a 23-yard pass to Ratley. 

After coming up empty on two cracks from the 1-yard line, Mayfield was good on the third, hitting tight end David Njoku for a 1-yard touchdown pass. He did the same with Antonio Callaway on the two-point conversion, slicing the deficit, 35-14.

Mayfield finished 22-of-46 for 238 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

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