Browns fend off Chargers in home finale

December 25, 2016

 

 

 

Cleveland will have something extra to celebrate on Christmas Eve.

 

The Browns held on for their first win of the season in dramatic fashion, taking down the Chargers, 20-17, on Saturday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

 

With a three point lead late in the fourth quarter, they blocked a 32-field goal with under four minutes and staved off San Diego’s last-second comeback bid.

 

That was something of a turning point in game where Cleveland’s defense took centerstage, turning back veteran quarterback Philip Rivers and a high-powered offense time and again on a cold and windy afternoon.

 

The Chargers finished with 356 total yards but were just 5-of-15 on third down and struggled to neutralize the Browns' pass rush, which had success in keeping San Diego out of sync when it mattered most.

 

In his third game back from injury, Robert Griffin III completed 17-of-25 throws for 164 yards and ran for another 42 before suffering a concussion in the fourth quarter.

 

Before that, though, Griffin had perhaps his best game as the Browns quarterback. He helped Cleveland turn an early deficit into a lead at halftime. They totaled 166 yards and 16 first downs in that span to 2-of-6 on third down.

 

Running back Isaiah Crowell scored two touchdowns in the first half to help Cleveland take a 17-10 lead at intermission.

 

To be sure, the Browns struggled again on offense: they finished with less than 100 yards in the second half and allowed eight sacks on Griffin.

 

But it was ultimately enough against the Chargers, who struggled to take back momentum after taking a 7-0 on their first possession.

 

 

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