Chargers hang on to beat Browns after coach’s gamble

Cleveland rookie kicker misses potential game-winning field goal with 11 seconds left

CLEVELAND — Rookie Cade York missed a 54-yard field goal with 11 seconds left as Los Angeles held on for a 30-28 victory over the Cleveland Browns after Chargers coach Brandon Staley inexplicably gambled on a fourth down.

York’s kick sailed right and allowed the Chargers (3-2) to escape with a win Staley tried to give away.

With his team at its own 46 and leading by two, Staley called a timeout and then had Justin Herbert attempt a short pass on fourth-and-2 that fell incomplete, giving the ball back to the Browns with 1:10 left.

Cleveland had no timeouts and drove to the Chargers 35 to set up a shot for York, but the big-legged draft pick from LSU, couldn’t convert. He earlier missed a 45-yard attempt.

Austin Ekeler rushed for a career-high 173 yards and scored twice as San Diego, which came in last in the NFL in rushing, leaned on its ground game to win its second shootout in two seasons with the Browns (2-3).

The teams combined for 908 total yards and 53 first downs.

The most notable defensive play came when Chargers safety Alohi Gilman intercepted Jacoby Brissett’s pass in the end zone with 2:44 left, setting up a confusing finish highlighted by Staley’s decision.

Cleveland’s Nick Chubb ran for 134 yards and had a 2-yard TD run.

Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams had 10 catches for 134 yards.


Players on both teams spent pregame warmups swatting away midges, those small, winged insects that swarm along Lake Erie during the spring and fall.

The bugs made a famous appearance at the 2007 baseball playoffs in Cleveland. New York Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain was, ahem, bugged by clusters of midges, which engulfed him and affected his performance on the mound.


With his fifth straight 100-yard receiving game on the road, Williams tied Chad Johnson for the AFC record. The NFL mark is six, shared by three Hall of Famers: Jerry Rice (twice), Calvin Johnson and Michael Irvin.


Chargers: WR Joshua Palmer returned after leaving on the first series with an unspecified injury. ... Starting RT Trey Pipkins III (left knee) also came back after getting rolled up on from behind in the second quarter.

Browns: Pro Bowl CB Denzel Ward sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter and was placed in league protocol.


Chargers: Host the Denver Broncos on Oct. 17.

Browns: Host the New England Patriots on Oct. 16.

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