Rivers helps Chargers roll past Browns, 38-14
CLEVELAND (AP) — Ol’ man Rivers keeps rolling along.
Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes to Tyrell Williams — and the 36-year-old quarterback even threw a block — and Melvin Gordon had three TD runs as the Los Angeles Chargers banged around Cleveland rookie Baker Mayfield and the Browns, 38-14 on Sunday.
Rivers continued one of the best starts of his 15-year career, leading the Chargers (4-2) to their third straight win. Rivers finished 11 of 20 for 207 yards and had only one mistake, an interception midway through the fourth quarter.
San Diego did most of its damage on the ground with Gordon running for 132 yards and scoring on runs of 4, 10 and 11 yards. The Chargers had 246 yards rushing.
“There haven’t been too many days where we’ve run for more than we’ve thrown,” Rivers said with a laugh. “But I’ll take them any time we can get them.”
Rivers and Williams connected on scoring plays of 45 and 29 yards in the first half, and Gordon’s 11-yard run put the Chargers up 35-6.
Mayfield’s third start as a pro was a rough one. The No. 1 overall pick was sacked five times, tweaked his ankle when he slid on a sideline marker and threw two interceptions.
“We didn’t execute,” said Mayfield, who threw a TD pass to tight end David Njoku . “We didn’t do our job. We weren’t detailed. We didn’t do the things that we talked about all week. That’s the most disappointing thing. Any time you don’t do your job — I’m at fault for the majority of that. I’m going to be very hard on myself but we have to be able to look at this and learn from it.”
The Browns (2-3-1) were blown out after playing five tight games — three going to overtime — and showed there’s still a long road ahead.
While young QBs like Mayfield, Carson Wentz and Patrick Mahomes may be the NFL’s next wave, Rivers is showing that the old guys can still get the job done. He has thrown 15 TD passes with just three interceptions, and he did all he could to block Browns linebacker Jamie Collins to help Keenan Allen pick up a first down despite the Chargers leading 28-6.
“I’m not real comfortable out there,” Rivers said. “But I stayed in front and did not get a holding, so that’s a positive.”
The Chargers weren’t surprised by Rivers’ effort.
“That’s Phil,” said Williams, who had three catches for 118 yards. “He’s competitive and he’s going to stick his nose in there if he gets an opportunity. I’m not surprised at all.”
Los Angeles caught a break on Rivers’ second TD pass to Williams.
Left tackle Russell Okung clearly dropped back before the ball was snapped. Browns defensive end Myles Garrett stopped, assuming the play would be whistled, and several other players paused while Rivers lofted his scoring pass to Williams.
Williams’ first TD catch was more spectacular. Leaping with three Browns defenders around him, he wrestled the ball way from Browns safety Damarious Randall to give the Chargers a 14-3 lead.
Following the game, Chargers coach Anthony Lynn presented a game ball to the family of Alex Spanos, the Chargers owner who died earlier this week. Spanos, who was 95, bought the team in 1984.
JUST FOR KICKS
Lynn was relieved the Chargers’ kicking woes did not come into play.
“We made all our damn kicks — all the extra points, all the field goals, so that’s an improvement,” he said.
Rookie Michael Badgley replaced injured starter Caleb Sturgis and made one field goal and all five extra-points in his pro debut after being signed on Thursday.
Sturgis, who has been dealing with a quadriceps injury, missed a field goal and PAT last week. He also missed two extra points in L.A.’s previous game, and the Chargers came in leading the league with four missed PATs.
Cleveland’s first five games were decided by four points or less, but Randall wasn’t concerned about the lopsided loss.
“Every team goes through a game like that,” he said. “I’m honestly glad it happened early in the season for us, where we have time to correct what happened.”
The Browns honored future Hall of Fame tackle Joe Thomas by adding 10,363 — the number of consecutive snaps he played over 11 seasons — to the club’s ring of honor. Thomas retired following last season, which came to a premature end for him when he tore his triceps. He grudgingly retired in March.
“I love being in the locker room and the paychecks were really good — but my body just couldn’t do it anymore,” said Thomas, who wore an orange Mayfield jersey. “If it weren’t for that, I would be out there today.”
Chargers: DE Christopher Landrum was shaken up in the fourth quarter.
Browns: LB Joe Schobert (hamstring) left in the third quarter, and LB James Burgess (hamstring) went out in the fourth. … WR Rod Streater suffered a neck “stinger” while covering a punt in the first quarter and did not return.
Chargers: Play Tennessee in London on Oct. 21.
Browns: Visit Tampa Bay on Oct. 21
L.A. Chargers 7 14 14 3 = 38
Cleveland 0 6 0 8 = 14
LAC—Gordon 4 run (Badgley kick), 10:14.
Cle—FG Joseph 33, 12:47.
LAC—Ty.Williams 45 pass from Rivers (Badgley kick), 6:34.
LAC—Ty.Williams 29 pass from Rivers (Badgley kick), :51.
Cle—FG Joseph 28, :00.
LAC—Gordon 10 run (Badgley kick), 11:49.
LAC—Gordon 11 run (Badgley kick), 3:12.
Cle—Njoku 1 pass from Mayfield (Callaway pass from Mayfield), 12:26.
LAC—FG Badgley 44, 4:15.
First downs 24 18
Total Net Yards 449 317
Rushes-yards 36-246 21-103
Passing 203 214
Punt Returns 3-36 4-51
Kickoff Returns 2-47 5-120
Interceptions Ret. 2-33 1-4
Comp-Att-Int 12-21-1 22-46-2
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-12 5-24
Punts 5-41.6 6-40.3
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 10-72 6-53
Time of Possession 31:37 28:23
RUSHING—Los Angeles, Gordon 18-132, Ekeler 7-60, Allen 4-41, M.Williams 1-10, Jackson 3-4, Ty.Williams 1-1, G.Smith 2-(minus 2). Cleveland, Johnson 2-36, Hyde 14-34, Chubb 3-25, Mayfield 2-8.
PASSING—Los Angeles, Rivers 11-20-1-207, G.Smith 1-1-0-8. Cleveland, Mayfield 22-46-2-238.
RECEIVING—Los Angeles, Allen 4-62, Ty.Williams 3-118, Gordon 2-18, Jackson 1-8, Gates 1-5, M.Williams 1-4. Cleveland, Njoku 7-55, Ratley 6-82, Johnson 4-73, Landry 2-11, Callaway 2-9, Charles 1-8.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.