- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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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.
2dEric D. Williams
2dEric D. Williams