Early Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Chargers took on the Cleveland Browns in a rematch of last years Christmas Eve game.
Last season, the Browns bested the San Diego Chargers for their first and only win of the season. While the Browns were focused on getting in the win column for the first time in nearly a year, the Chargers had their eyes set on finally catching the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West standings.
Although the Browns put up a respectable fight, they still fell to Los Angeles, 19-10. However, it wasn’t all bad for Cleveland. Without further ado, here are the winners and losers of this week 13 matchup.
Late Monday night, Casey Haywards younger brother, JeCavesia, died in a car accident. Hayward then left for Georgia to attend the funeral and be with his family. However, it was announced that Casey would be back with the team and somehow play on Sunday versus the Browns. Obviously, any sub-par performance would have been completely excusable as most didn’t expect Hayward to even suit up.
But instead, Hayward matched up against at one the best receiver in the game in Josh Gordon, who many expected to have a feast after being out of the game for over two years. Hayward kept Gordon (who is four inches taller than him) relatively in check as Josh had four receptions for 84 yards. However, we’ll get to Gordon’s game later. Hayward also had three tackles to pair with two defended passes. Although these stats don’t blow you out of the water, they also don’t tell the whole story. If you go back and watch that game, you can clearly see how important Caseys presence is to that defense. Without Hayward on the field, this game could have had a drastically different ending.
Coming off of two of the best games of his career, it’s safe to say that Keenan Allen is in mid-season form. Just to give you some perspective, the following is Allens stat lines over the past three games.
- 12 Receptions, 159 Yards, 2 Touchdowns, Win
- 11 Receptions, 172 Yards, 1 Touchdown, Win
- 10 Receptions, 105 Yards, 1 Touchdown, Win
Clearly dominating opposing defenses, Keenan Allen has become the first player in NFL history to record at least 10 receptions, 100 yards, and 1 touchdown in three consecutive games. Although these stat lines are all around crazy, the one stat that stands out is the three wins. Los Angeles is currently riding a three-game win streak in large part because of Keenan Allens play. It’s simple when Keenan Allen is the focal point of the Chargers offense and the defense has to worry about him at all times, it’s very hard to stop the Chargers high powered offense.
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The last meaningful football game Josh Gordon played in was December 21st, 2014. Gordon was then suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. However, Gordon was just recently reinstated and played in his first NFL game in over two years this past Sunday. Although it wasn’t a career night for Gordon, he did have a solid outing ending with four receptions for eighty-five yards and no touchdowns.
However, if Gordon had a quarterback that was somewhat capable of throwing a football past five yards, he could have broken out for a monster game. Hopefully, this is not false hope as Gordon has had trouble with staying in the game in the past, but I am remaining optimistic. If Gordon can either get himself out of Cleveland or find a quarterback that is at least somewhat average, he has a chance to once again become one of the best wide receivers in the game.
Hue Jackson/Browns Coaching Staff
If it wasn’t clear yet, Hue Jackson and most likely the entire Browns coaching staff is out the door at the end of the season. Over the past two seasons under Hue Jackson, the Browns have won a total of one game (so far). Although this loss, in particular, wasn’t too terrible, early Monday morning, Hue Jackson didn’t rule out the fact of drafting a quarterback next season. This statement is completely wrong for two reasons.
- It is very unlikely that you will still be with the Browns organization come draft time, therefore, avoid answering questions about a teams draft plans that you won’t be working for.
- You have a young, rookie quarterback in Deshone Kizer, who obviously isn’t the future of the team. However, it doesn’t help his confidence when you admit you will be looking to draft a quarterback after not even one full season of him starting.
Although the Browns struggles this season can’t be put on the shoulders of Deshone Kizer, he had a very inconsistent Sunday afternoon. On one hand, he had some great passes like the one to rookie tight end David Njoku, who ran up the seam for an easy touchdown. And then there were basically all of his passes to Josh Gordon.
Kizer was overthrowing balls badly. It was tough to make out what were actual throws and what were throwaways. However, it is always tough for me to blame a Browns quarterback for their play, especially late in the season. The team is still winless. Confidence has most likely taken a beating, and your coach has shown little to no faith in you. Nevertheless, Deshone Kizer was definitely a loser in this game.
–Travis Baker is a Staff Writer and covers the Los Angeles Chargers for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. Follow him on Twitter @SportsFollower0.