AFC North: 2012 Week 8 coverage

Wrap-up: Browns 7, Chargers 6

October, 28, 2012
My thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 7-6 win over the San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns Stadium:

What it means: On a cold and windy day, the Browns outlasted the Chargers to notch their first victory for new owner Jimmy Haslam. After losing the first five games of the season, Cleveland has won two of its past three games, including two straight at home. This marked the Browns' second win over the Chargers (3-4) in the past two decades and their first victory over Philip Rivers in three tries. The Browns (2-6) are 1.5 games behind the Bengals (3-4) for third place in the division.

Richardson feels no pain: A week after being held out of the second half with a rib injury, Trent Richardson carried the Browns offensively with 122 yards rushing against the NFL's second-ranked run defense. He scored the game's only touchdown, a 26-yard run in the first quarter in which he eluded two tacklers and ran into his own lineman before reaching the end zone. It was Richardson's fifth rushing touchdown of the season. Richardson did all of this without his lead blocker, Owen Marecic, who was inactive Sunday.

Tale of two fourth downs: The game may have been decided by the opening drives. On fourth-and-1 at the Cleveland 30-yard line, the Chargers failed to convert when Browns safety T.J. Ward stopped running back Jackie Battle. Getting the ball for the first time, the Browns later faced a fourth-and-1 at the San Diego 28. Weeden picked up the first down on a 2-yard sneak, and Richardson scored the touchdown two plays later.

Drop helps Browns this time: The Browns lost last Sunday when wide receiver Josh Gordon dropped a fourth-quarter pass near the goal line in Indianapolis. This time, Cleveland benefited from a wide receiver blunder. A wide-open Robert Meachem failed to catch a pass in the third quarter deep in Browns territory with no one between him and the end zone.

Sweating it out: Late in the fourth quarter, the Chargers drove 44 yards to the Browns' 44-yard line. But San Diego's attempted comeback ended on fourth-and-10, when Cleveland cornerback Buster Skrine broke up a pass from Rivers with 1:20 remaining. Rivers was 18-of-34 for 154 yards.

What's next: The Browns stay at home to face the division-leading Ravens (5-2) before going on their bye.

Here are my thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 27-12 win over the Washington Redskins at Heinz Field:

What it means: The Steelers (4-3) continue to close the gap on the Ravens (5-2), moving to within one game of the AFC North leaders. After struggling with consistency all season, Pittsburgh has won back-to-back games for the first time this season. This was the Steelers' sixth straight home win, their most since the 2008 season. Pittsburgh has won five in a row over the Redskins.

Starting strong: The Steelers executed their dink-and-dunk offense to near perfection early in the game, scoring on five of their first six drives. The 1-yard touchdown pass to Will Johnson -- Ben Roethlisberger's third of the game -- put Pittsburgh ahead 27-9 in the third quarter. Roethlisberger finished 24-of-33 for 222 yards.

Keep running: In his second start, Jonathan Dwyer had his second straight 100-yard rushing game. The last Steelers running back to gain 100 yards in consecutive games was Willie Parker, who rushed for 138 and 105 yards in the first two weeks of the 2008 season. Dwyer had 107 yards on 16 carries against the Redskins.

Containing RG3: The Steelers' defense did a good job in not allowing Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III to run wild. Pittsburgh held the NFL's 12th leading rusher to 8 rushing yards on six carries. The Redskins' receivers were the ones who limited RG3 in the passing game with eight drops.

Miller time: Tight end Heath Miller caught a 7-yard touchdown in the second quarter to put the Steelers ahead 17-7. It was Miller's sixth touchdown in seven games this season. He had four total touchdowns in his previous two seasons. All six touchdowns were passes thrown in the red zone.

Steady Suisham: Shaun Suisham continued a strong season with field goals from 48 and 27 yards. Suisham is 6-for-6 on field goals between 40 and 49 yards this season. He was 6-of-11 on such kicks last season.

Clark leaves with concussion: Safety Ryan Clark left in the third quarter with a concussion and didn't return. He was injured when he took a shot to the head on a tackle. Clark left the field under his own power and then went to the locker room to get evaluated. The Steelers were without both starting safeties, Clark and Troy Polamalu, who missed his fifth game with a calf injury. Ryan Mundy and Will Allen were the safeties the rest of the way.

What's next: The Steelers stay in the NFC East, traveling to play the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.