SAN DIEGO (AP) – Rookie Josh Lambo got his first game-winning kick in the NFL.
Philip Rivers had another one of his spectacular games, which fans have come to expect.
Given a second chance due to a penalty, Lambo kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the San Diego Chargers to a 30-27 victory against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, snapping a two-game losing streak.
Lambo was wide right on a 39-yard attempt with :02 left, but Cleveland’s Tramon Williams was whistled for offside. Lambo then hit his third field goal of the game.
The Browns had tied it at 27 on Josh McCown’s 1-yard pass to Gary Barnidge with 2:09 to play and a 2-point conversion pass to Taylor Gabriel. That score was set up when the Browns won a challenge of McCown’s 19-yard pass to Barnidge that originally was ruled incomplete.
Rivers was 23 of 38 for 358 yards and three touchdowns. McCown was 32 of 41 for 356 yards and two scores.
Working behind a makeshift line due to injuries, Rivers threw TD passes of 28 yards to Keenan Allen in the first quarter, 19 yards to Ladarius Green for the go-ahead score in the third quarter and a 1-yarder to John Phillips in the fourth.
San Diego’s defense came up big. The Chargers (2-2) had only one sack coming in, but dropped McCown four times, including two by Jerry Attaochu. The Browns (1-3) lost their second straight.
With the Chargers leading 20-16, Attaochu threw McCown for a 12-yard loss from the Chargers 25. That forced the Browns to settle for Travis Coons’ 40-yard field goal.
The Chargers then moved downfield for Phillips’ score, set up by Dontrelle Inman’s 68-yard catch-and-run on a crossing pattern.
San Diego struggled early. After a drive stalled due to Rivers being sacked, the QB threw his helmet into the bench and aired out running backs coach Ollie Wilson, apparently because rookie Melvin Gordon failed to pick up the blitz.
The Chargers were playing without three offensive line starters, left tackle King Dunlap, left guard Orlando Franklin and center Chris Watt. The Browns were without cornerback Joe Haden. The first half ended 13-13.
San Diego took a 7-3 lead on a nice 28-yard scoring pass from Rivers to Allen in the front corner of the end zone late in the first quarter. The Browns came right back on McCown’s beautiful 34-yard pass to running back Duke Johnson Jr., who exploited a mismatch against linebacker Donald Butler.
Coons kicked field goals of 36 and 28 yards, and Lambo also was good from 46 and 45.