There are some that have stated the Browns could be 4-0-0 instead of 2-2-0. Regardless, the front four games were supposed to be the “easy” portion of their 2022 schedule. From here on, it is strictly Big Boy football.
The Los Angeles Chargers are an offensive juggernaut this year. No team has tossed for more yards and have the second most points scored. Yet, they are also 2-2-0 going into the contest against Cleveland. But while the Browns’ losses were to the New York Jets and Atlanta, two bottom rung teams, LA’s losses were against Kansas City and Jacksonville, two very good clubs.
Against the Chargers, the Browns missed two field goals and tossed a goal line interception as they lost 30-28 to Los Angeles.
So who played well for the Browns? Who didn’t?
RB Nick Chubb - Another good game. 17 carries for 134 yards and two scores. His 41-yard run around the rightside for a touchdown on the Browns’ first possession was a sight to see. After sliding through a hole, he then attempted to dodge outside when Charger LB Drue Tranquill hit him but slid off. As Chubb headed up field, he juked two defenders and then stiff-armed Khalil Mack inside the five for the score.
CB Martin Emerson - Had an excellent pass breakup on the goal line in the first quarter on third down. Punter Corey Bojoquez kicks for the coffin corner often to which Emerson was able to corral the ball and force it out on the one. With the Chargers driving in the second quarter, LA receiver Mike Williams caught a crossing route on a second down play. Emerson left his man and nailed Williams just short of the first down marker. The next play the runner was stuffed and Los Angeles punted instead. Made a nice assist on the tackle of Greg Newsome’s stop of DeAndre Carter in the third quarter facing a third-and-goal that forced a field goal. When the Chargers went for the fourth down play with 1:10 to play Emerson was able to make contact with Williams who could not catch the pass.
WR Amari Cooper - When Cooper is involved in the game plan, things happen. Had 12 targets with seven catches for 76 yards. With :56 left in the first half it was Cooper who snagged the pass that allowed the Browns to get into field goal range.
Offensive line - There was rarely an instance when any Charger defender came close to getting to Browns QB Jacoby Brissett who was not sacked a single time. The rightside of the line with Wyatt Teller and Jack Conklin had numerous openings for large gains.
TE David Njoku - Caught every target and led the team in receiving yards with 88. With 1:03 left in the third, caught the pass in a narrow window on the two-yard line with the third down conversion. Later converted a third-and-seven on a crossing route after he eluded CB J.C. Jackson. Also had two key blocks down inside the 10.
Run defense - The Chargers are the worst rushing team in the league coming into this game, yet in the first half they looked like they had Cleveland’s playbook as they gashed the front seven consistently for huge chunks of yardage. By halftime LA had 135 yards already with RB Austin Ekeler gaining 106 by himself. This is a back through the first four games had been averaging 39-yards a game yet was finding open seams between his guards on both sides. On the Chargers first touchdown inside the Red Zone, Jadeveon Clowney pinched towards the middle to which he was then pushed out of the play as RB Josh Kelley found no contain and scored effortlessly. Clowney again dogged inside at the beginning of the fourth quarter where Ekeler went 17-yards around the edge. 238 total yards rushing which makes the second week in a row that a club has surpassed the 200-yard rushing mark. After a while the amount of eight and nine yard gains were just staggering. Ekeler finished with 173-yards and looked like Barry Sanders out there with his 10.9 yards per carry average.
S Grant Delpit - For the second game in a row, Delpit jumped on a player’s shoulder pads and rode him for positive yardage, this time as they both crossed the goal line. The Chargers had driven down to Cleveland’s 10 with a first down. After a two-yard Ekeler loss, QB Justin Herbert found Ekeler in the right flats who then headed upfield as JOK and Alex Wright missed the tackle. As Ekeler crossed the five, the only defender left was Delpit who jumped on the running back’s shoulder pads and hung on until they crossed the goal line. Delpit also missed the tackle of Ekeler right before the half. Somebody please show this guy how to tackle legs.
K Cade York - What is it about the Browns drafting a kicker and they begin their careers strong, then falter? Zane Gonzalez, Austin Seibert, Cade York.... Twice, the offense did their job and drove the field to put themselves in makeable field goal range. Twice, wide right. Either kick would have won the game.
Red Zone defense - The Chargers were able to drive the field for most of the game and get into scoring position. With just over nine minutes to play, a third-and-goal from the seven resulted in a John Johnson defended pass at the goal line. LA then converted their third field goal of the game. In all, Los Angeles had five trips into the Red Zone and scored every time: two touchdowns against three field goals.
Fourth down on your 35 and you go for it?!? - This was absolutely insane. The drive began as a touchback after LA had just gone up 24-21. Incomplete pass, Chubb for five, Cooper catch for four. Punt team! Instead, the offense remained on the field. Jacoby Brissett with one of his famous one-yard ultra-high conversion sneaks? Nope, pitch wide to Kareem Hunt for a loss of four. So what does LA do? Instantly they are in field goal range, which is what happened. The Browns lost by two. You figure it out.
Milk Bones – When you are only talking to your dog today
OL Hjalte Froholdt - On the Kareem Hunt TD leap from the one in the third stanza, Chargers LB Kenneth Murray had come through an opening and had a direct shot at Hunt before his assent. That was before Froholdt de-cleated Murray. Had an excellent lead block on Chubb’s touchdown run from the one early in the game. This man is a punisher.
QB Jacoby Brissett - Was 10-16 for 129 yards in the first half and played well throughout the game. Late in the fourth quarter, after scampering for positive yardage twice in the drive, he again avoided a tackle behind the line and then ran out towards the right flat on a third-and-seven. With room to run and the first down marker in sight, he tried to find Cooper in the back of the end zone although five Charger defenders were in the area. The result was an interception by Alohi Gilman instead which killed any possibility of kicking the go-ahead field goal and destroyed a very nice 11-play, 73-yard drive. Finished with 230 yards on 21 completions amidst 34 attempts with a pick and a touchdown plus 32-yards rushing.
LG Joel Bitonio - Played a sterling game and was excellent in run blocking. Missed a crucial block in the third quarter when Cleveland went for the fourth-and-three play. Bits had pulled and was headed towards the corner when Los Angeles DT Christian Covington had beaten C Ethan Pocic and had a clear shot at RB Kareem Hunt. Instead of taking Covington, Bitonio continued on and the result was a loss of four. Made a key block on LB Murray on the Chubb 29-yard run late in the second quarter.
CB Denzel Ward - Played well, but a lot of completions were made in front of his soft zone today. Led all tacklers with 10.
If you could pick one thing, which incident lost the game?
This poll is closed
Going for the fourth down at their own 35 to which LA then kicked a field goal
Cade York’s FG miss right before the half
Cade York’s missed FG at the end of the game
Lack of pass rush
Not being able to stop the league’s worst rushing team from gaining 238 yards
The Brissett interception