SD-CLE grades: Browns hold off Chargers for first win

There will be no 0-16 team this year, as the Browns squeaked out a win over the Chargers Saturday.

| 5 months ago
(Jason Miller/Getty Images)

(Jason Miller/Getty Images)

SD-CLE grades: Browns hold off Chargers for first win

Cleveland Browns 20, San Diego Chargers 17

Here are the top-graded players and biggest storylines from Cleveland’s 20-17 win over San Diego in Week 16:

Cleveland Browns

Quarterback grade: Robert Griffin III, 76.1

Griffin produces in win

Robert Griffin III completed 17 of his 25 pass attempts for 164 yards and one dropped pass. Griffin was sacked 7 times. The Browns QB was 6-of-8 on pass attempts under pressure for 52 yards, while completing only 1 of his 5 pass attempts down the field of 20 yards or more for 21 yards. Griffin found success using play action, completing 5-of-6 pass attempts for 47 yards. The QB run game element Griffin gave the Browns opened up the field and helped the Browns run game find some success against the Chargers defense, with the quarterback adding 26 yards scrambling in passing situations.


Top offensive grades:

T Austin Pasztor, 77.9
QB Robert Griffin III, 76.1
T Joe Thomas, 76.0
HB Duke Johnson, 75
TE Seth DeValve, 74.7

Browns offense does enough in first win of the season

Tackles Austin Pasztor and Joe Thomas graded well run-blocking as they helped the Browns to establish some consistency in their running game. Browns RB Duke Johnson found success running the ball, with a 22-yard run, while Isaiah Crowell forced 3 missed tackles and scored two touchdowns. Andrew Hawkins hauled in both catchable passes thrown his way and produced 54 yards receiving. The balanced Browns offense helped the Browns get their first win

Top defensive grades:

CB Tramon Williams, 84.6
LB Chris Kirksey, 82.4
DI Jamie Meder, 79.0
S Tracy Howard, 78.5
ED Jamie Collins, 78.4

Browns defense makes late stops in win

Browns cornerback Tramon Williams yielded 3 receptions for 36 yards receiving on 7 targets his way and made plays in pass defense to help the Browns defend the air attack of the Chargers. LB Chris Kirksey had a nice day in run defense, finishing with 9 tackles and an assist to go along with 5 stops. DT Jamie Meder proved solid in the trenches with a tackle and assist in run defense while also producing 2 QB hits and 3 hurries. The Browns’ ability to deliver critical defensive stops was the key to first win of the season.

San Diego Chargers

Quarterback grade: Philip Rivers, 52.8

Rivers can’t engineer Chargers win

Philip Rivers completed 24 of his 47 pass attempts for 321 yards and two touchdowns and an interception. Rivers completed 3 of his 17 pass attempts under pressure for 27 yards, while completing 1-of-3 pass attempts of 20 yards or more for 50 yards. Rivers struggled with accuracy at times and in the end could not produce enough offensive production to get the win in Cleveland.


Top offensive grades:

T Joe Barksdale, 82.7
TE Antonio Gates, 76.0
WR Tyrell Williams, 75.9
WR Travis Benjamin, 73.5
TE Sean McGrath, 70.0

Chargers pass-catchers find success

Chargers tight end Antonio Gates grabbed 9 receptions on 13 targets (no drops) for 105 yards with 6 of those receptions and 85 yards coming out of the slot. Travis Benjamin had a big day, with 5 receptions on 6 targets for 131 yards and a touchdown. WR Tyrell Williams also found some success with 8 receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown on 16 targets. Rivers and his receivers had success at times but failed to consistently produce the plays necessary to win the game.

Top defensive grades:

LB Jatavis Brown, 82.5
DI Damion Square, 81.6
ED Joey Bosa, 80.2
S Jahleel Addae, 79.8
CB Casey Hayward, 79.3

Chargers defense comes up short

Chargers LB Jatavis Brown produced a stop in run defense while also yielding only 3 receptions for 6 yards in pass coverage. Joey Bosa had a nice day rushing the passer with 2 sacks and a QB hit to go along with 2 hurries. Chargers safety Jahleel Addae had a nice day coming up in run defense producing 3 stops. CB Casey Hayward yielded no receptions on 2 targets his way. The Chargers defense struggled at times defending the Browns running game and containing RG3 in the loss.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Browns CB Tramon Williams, 84.6

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

| Analyst

Taylor is an offensive line and run-game specialist at Pro Football Focus. He has coached at every level of college football, with experience at Mississippi Gulf Coast, Central Missouri, and Wyoming.

  • crosseyedlemon

    The 1pm start time and jet lag probably had more to do with the Chargers losing than the play of the Browns.

    • Chris

      And the extensive injuries.