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3 things we learned about the Browns

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SAN DIEGO — Chargers rookie kicker Josh Lambo missed a game-winner against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Before he had a chance to get down, his teammates picked him up.

“A couple of guys came over and said, ‘Hey, did you see that yellow thing on the field? That means you get a second chance, so kick it through this time,”‘ Lambo said.

His 34-yard field goal with no time remaining lifted the Chargers past the Browns 30-27.

Lambo was wide right from 39 yards with two seconds left, but defensive back Tramon Williams was penalized for being offside, giving Lambo another shot.

“I had a chance to right my wrong,” Lambo said.

Browns coach Mike Pettine said Williams’ gamble was well-served.

“That’s when you’re in desperation block situation,” Pettine said.

The Browns cut the Chargers’ edge to 27-25 on tight end Gary Barnidge’s 1-yard scoring catch with two minutes to play. Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel caught Josh McCown’s pass for a 2-point conversion to tie the game, 27-27.

“It was one of those games that whoever has it last, has the best chance of winning,” McCown said.

Philip Rivers threw this third touchdown pass, a 1-yarder to tight end John Phillips, with 7:26 remaining. That gave the Chargers an eight-point lead, their biggest of the afternoon.

Phillip’s score was set up by a 68-yard reception from wide receiver Dontrelle Inman.

Rivers completed 23 of 38 for three touchdowns and 358 yards.

“It was just a scrappy game,” Rivers said. “I don’t know if it was our best game, but it was enough.”

McCown was 32 of 41 for two touchdowns and 356 yards.

“I’m just disappointed,” McCown said. “It’s heartbreaking for obvious reasons.”

What we learned about the Browns:

1. The Browns’ quarterback of the future still might be Johnny Manziel. However, the man of the present is Josh McCown, and the journeyman proved it Sunday. McCown had a solid day, completing 32 of 41 passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers. McCown turned in a nifty 119.1 passer rating. He was especially cool in leading the Browns 67 yards to tie the score with just over two minutes to play.

2. Running Duke Johnson Jr. is the real deal. At least that is what the Chargers thought as they repeatedly were burned by him, for 116 total yards. He rushed for 31 and added 85 more through the air, which included a touchdown. Johnson entered the game with just 68 rushing yards in three games.

3. The Browns have been stung by bad luck, and that came into play Sunday. Just when it looked as if they would send the game into overtime with an impressive drive to tie the game, Chargers kicker Josh Lambo lined up for a 39-yard game-winner. He missed, and but cornerback Tramon Williams was flagged for being offside. The mistake gave Lambo another chance to end the game — which he did.

Etc.

–CB Joe Haden was almost available Sunday, but coach Mike Pettine thought otherwise. “Joe had broken his finger last week, and he practiced with it during the week with some pain,” he said. “I don’t think it ever lessened up to the point where he felt he could go.” Haden’s 88 passes defensed since 2010 lead the Browns.

–QB Johnny Manzeil, as always, is talked about whether he plays or not. On Sunday, Manziel didn’t see any action as Josh McCown took all of the Browns’ snaps. After a reported mini-revolt in the locker room this week over Manziel not playing, the coaches said they might develop some packages for him to utilize against the Chargers. If they did, they didn’t break them out.

–WR Brian Hartline exited the game win the first quarter with a rib injury. He had one catch for 7 yards before being sidelined. Hartline came into the game with seven catches for 116 yards this year. He signed as a free agent in the offseason after six years with the Miami Dolphins.


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