A win is a win, and Sunday against the Browns, that's what it was.
It wasn't necessarily dominant, and it wasn't always pretty ... but it was a win. It kept the Chargers away from 1-3 and instead improved them to 2-2, and they'll take it.
This 30-27 victory had its highs -- strong performances from Danny Woodhead, John Phillips and Ladarius Green, among others; four sacks on defense; a second-chance field goal to win the game -- and it had its lows, including injuries and a sometimes-leaky defense.
Here are some of the moments that mattered:
The Chargers entered this one with a hobbled offensive line (including three inactive starters) and ended the game with even more sidelined, including WRs Stevie Johnson (hamstring) and Malcom Floyd (concussion), and CB Brandon Flowers (concussion). Although active, CB Jason Verrett watched the whole game from the sideline, as there weren't enough spots on the inactive list to hold the number of injuries.
Despite that, RB Danny Woodhead had a big 61-yard catch-and-run; Dontrelle Inman later went 68-yards. Tight ends Ladarius Green and John Phillips both scored touchdowns, as did WR Keenan Allen.
"Like we were down to our last tackle last week, we were out of wide receivers this week, but the guys stepped up," said quarterback Philip Rivers. "Dontrelle [Inman[ stepped up big, John Phillips was big, it was great getting Ladarius [Green[ back and everyone stepped up. I can’t say enough about the offensive line, how they played, they were awesome."
Sack, sack, sack:
After notching only one sack through three games, the defense had four on QB Josh McCown today -- two from Jerry Attaochu, two from Melvin Ingram.
“It is a confidence booster," Ingram said of the win. "We just went out there and tried to lay it out on the line. We just wanted to get our confidence back. We signed up for every game this year and we are going to get together and try to get a win.”
Big plays and missed tackles:
The pressure on the quarterback was good, but the defense was leaky, allowing McCown to throw for 356 yards and letting running backs Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell get the best of them at times.
"No doubt, we have to tackle better," head coach Mike McCoy said. "We missed way too many. I don’t have the number, but from watching it, too many . We have to do a better job of wrapping up and minimizing the game."
Rookie kicker Josh Lambo missed a 39-yard field goal as time expired in the fourth -- which meant the Chargers and Browns were headed to overtime -- but because of a penalty on the Browns, was able to kick again (this time from 34-yards). He made it the second time, and the Chargers won the game.
“Thankfully I had a second chance," Lambo said. "I had some grace with the second kick. I messed up the first time, but I wasn’t going to allow it to happen a second (time).”
Gates is coming back:
The Chargers get the return of Antonio Gates this week, who will be able to play in Monday's game agains the Steelers.
"He helps us on the field, he helps in the locker room and we’ve certainly missed him, so that’ll be a plus," Rivers said. "We’re acquiring a
Hall of Fame free agent here in about 24 hours.”