The Browns had a tremendous comeback in the final moments only to see the defense give it back to the Chargers as the Browns dropped a 30-27 decision on the final play of the game as rookie kicker Josh Lambo hit a 34-yard attempt as time expired. However, Lambo made the second attempt after his first kick was wide right but Tramon Williams jumped offside to give the Chargers another crack at it.
The loss is the fifth in a row on the road for the Browns and drops them to 1-3.
Moments earlier, the Browns trailed 27-19 and drove 67 yards in 5:17 to score a touchdown on a one-yard pass from Josh McCown to Gary Barnidge to make it 27-25 with 2:09 to play in the game. The Browns tied it as McCown hit Taylor Gabriel on a quick slant to tie the game at 27-27.
Just two plays before the touchdown, McCown threw a pass near the goal line and Barnidge made a juggling one-hand catch, but was ruled out of bounds. Pettine challenged the call and it was reversed giving the Browns a first down inside the one. Duke Johnson was stopped short of the goal line on the first attempt, before McCown hit Barnidge for the score.
The Browns kicked off and Philip Rivers quickly hit Ladarius Green for 17 yards to the 49 the first play after the two-minute warning. The next play, Danny Woodhead ran right up the middle for 26 yards to put the Chargers in position for the game-winner.
The Browns defense gave up 438 yards of offense to the Chargers, who were missing three of their five offensive line starters. In addition, receivers Stevie Johnson and Malcom Floyd left the game earlier with injuries, leaving the Chargers with just two healthy wide receivers.
McCown’s Day: QB Josh McCown had his 11th 300-yard passing game in the loss. McCown finished 32-of-41 for 356 yards with two touchdowns and a 119.1 rating. he fumbled after being sacked in the first quarter and the Chargers recovered at the Browns 40. However, the defense stopped the Chargers and forced a punt. McCown hit RB Duke Johnson for a 34-yard touchdown pass after RB Isaiah Crowell had a 32-yard run to set up the score. McCown’s second touchdown was a one-yard pass to TE Gary Barnidge from the one-yard line. That pass coupled with a two-point conversion pass to WR Taylor Gabriel tied the game at 27-27 with 2:09 to play.
In the first half, McCown was 19-of-26 for 212 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked three times, losing one.
Killer Penalties: The Browns committed 12 penalties for 91 yards, including five that gave the Chargers first downs. The biggest one occurred when DB Tramon Williams jumped offsides as K Josh Lambo missed the game-winning field goal, allowing him a second chance that he converted.
The Duke: Rookie RB Duke Johnson had his best game as a pro with 116 all-purpose yards. He had nine receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown. He also had 31 yards rushing.
Running Game: RB Isaiah Crowell had 63 yards on 12 carries, including a 32 yard run on his second carry. He also caught three passes for 62 yards, including a 53-yard reception. RB Duke Johnson had 31 carries on eight carries. His 34-yard touchdown reception was his first NFL score.
Coons Kicking: Rookie K Travis Coons had his best game in the NFL with four field goals. He hit his final field goal to make the score, 20-19 with 9:57 to play.
Gilbert Sighting: DB Justin Gilbert was the Browns kick returner and had three returns for 108 yards, averaging 36 yards a returns. Gilbert’s long was for 38 yards. He also played CB from scrimmage with Haden inactive.
The Rabbit: WR Travis Benjamin caught four passes for 45 yards in the first half and finished with six receptions for 79 yards.Benjamin continues to be the Browns go to receiver.
Hartline, Gipson Sidelined: WR Brian Hartline injured his ribs in the first half and did not return. DB Tashaun Gipson injured his ankle and did not return.
Barnidge Day: TE Gary Barnidge caught a 27-yard pass from QB Josh McCown on the third series of the game and finished with six receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown. Barnidge had a 27-yard reception that set up the tying touchdown that was first ruled incomplete, but overturned after Mike Pettine challenged the call.
Nothing from Bowe: WR Dwayne Bowe was active but couldn’t hang on to the only pass thrown his way.
Kirksey Big: LB Christian Kirksey was ver active blitzing early in the game. Kirksey sacked QB Philip Rivers on the second series for an 8-yard loss. It was the Browns only sack in the first half.
Xavier’s First: Rookie DL Xavier Cooper had his first sack of his NFL career in the second half. Cooper was inactive the first two games.
Whitner, Dansby Lead: DB Donte Whitner and LB Karlos Dansby led the Browns with seven tackles.
Haden Out: After being listed as questionable, DB Joe Haden was inactive with a rib and finger injury. Second-year DB Pierre Desir started in his place and broke up a pass early in the game on a deep ball from QB Philip Rivers for WR Malcom Floyd. Meanwhile, DL John Hughes started for DL Desmond Bryant, inactive with the shoulder injury. The other inactive for the for the Browns were: RB Robert Turbin, DB K’Waun Williams, LB Craig Robertson, LB Scott Solomon and TE E.J. Bibbs.