Chargers’ receiving corps putting up big numbers
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers delivers a pass from a clean pocket during a route of the Cleveland Browns at Firstenergy Stadium on Sunday.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers running back Austin Ekeler breaks past Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Trevon Coley and defensive back Jabrill Peppers on a second half run at Firstenergy Stadium on Sunday.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers cornerback Desmond King II intercepts a pass from Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield intended for tight end David Njokuat during fourth quarter action at Firstenergy Stadium on Sunday.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chagers defensive lineaman Isaac Rochell sacks Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield during second quarter action at Firstenergy Stadium on Sunday.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers cornerback Desmond King II upends Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku during second half action at Firstenergy Stadium on Sunday.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers cornerback Desmond King II intercepts a pass from Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield intended for receiver Jarvis Landry at Firstenergy Stadium on Sunday.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers running back Melvin Gordon III leaps over Cleveland Browns defensive back Denzel Ward on a second half run at Firstenergy Stadium on Sunday.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers running back Melvin Gordon III smiles as he runs into the endzone for an 11-yard, third quarter touchdown against the Cleveland Browns at Firstenergy Stadium on Sunday.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers running back Melvin Gordon III leaps out of the tackle of Cleveland Browns defensive back Demarious Randall during third quarter action at Firstenergy Stadium on Sunday.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers receiver Tyrell Williams hauls in a 29-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Philip Rivers in the second quarter at Firstenergy Stadium on Sunday.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers tight end Antonio Gates pulls down a pass over Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Trevon Coley in the first quarter at Firstenergy Stadium on Sunday.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
The Chargers had their third 100-yard receiving game of the season Sunday.
By their third different Charger.
Tyrell Williams joined Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon in breaking the century plateau.
That’s three 100-yard receiving days for the team, each one by a different player, underscoring the belief that this team possesses a significant number of weapons.
“We know that anybody can have a big game at any time,” said Williams, whose 118 yards against Cleveland came on just three catches. “We’re all rooting for each other. We’ve been competitive with each other through training camp. I think that’s elevated our game.”
Adding in Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams, the Chargers have five players who’ve caught passes totaling at least 80 yards in a game at least once though Week 6.
Sunday also saw Allen, the team’s top wide receiver, run the ball four times for 41 yards, after he entered with only three carries and 14 rushing yards in his first 59 NFL games.
“Keenan’s a good runner,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “His change of direction, his power is good. We know he can run the football. … We can use Keenan for a lot of things. There’s nothing he can’t do.”
The Chargers are fifth in the NFL with a per-game average of 29.2 points. They’ve done this with only one touchdown coming from the dynamic Allen and no scores coming from their defense or special teams.
The Chargers also have shown their big play/big day ability mostly without Travis Benjamin, another speedy wideout who has been sidelined by a lingering foot injury.
A lot has been working well lately for the Chargers, who have won three straight and enter Week 7 with a chance to improve to 5-2 going into their bye.
But one thing failed spectacularly against the Browns. Early in the second quarter and at midfield, the Chargers attempted a play that began with Philip Rivers pitching to Allen, who then tried to pass backward to Rivers but missed his target.
The ball ended up rolling around until Ekeler smothered it to retain possession and limit the carnage. Still, the result was a loss of 19 yards.
Two snaps later, the Chargers were punting.
“Every time you call a trick play, if it works, you’re a genius,” Lynn said. “If it doesn’t work, then it’s a bad call. It was a bad call.”
Props to defense
Cleveland started two drives inside the Chargers’ 40-yard line and netted only three points, an example of why Lynn afterward touted his defense’s unwillingness to yield even an inch.
Somewhat incredibly, the Browns snapped the ball 41 times on the Chargers’ side of the field Sunday before finally scoring their only touchdown.
“As a defense, you want those reps,” lineman Damion Square said. “There’s nothing like going in a game with your back against the wall. Those are the plays you want to make. Those are the plays that stand out to the people upstairs.”
Square finished with 1.5 sacks on a day when the Chargers dropped celebrated rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield five times and intercepted him twice.
On Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London, they’ll face a Tennessee team that just permitted Marcus Mariota to be sacked 11 times, one short of the NFL single-game record. The Titans lost to Baltimore 21-0.
“I like that,” Square said with a smile. “I will check that out.”
Effective running game
Against the Browns, Rivers completed just 11 passes. In his 198 career starts, he has had fewer completions in a game only seven times.
Lynn, however, noted Monday that the Chargers exploited Cleveland’s defense for 246 rushing yards thanks in part to Rivers’ decisions.
“He got us in most of those runs,” Lynn said. “He understands that running game plan just like everyone else. We’ll get different looks up front and he’ll make checks at the line of scrimmage. He’ll get us in runs where we’re not running uphill all day.”
Off to London
The Chargers are off Tuesday and will resume practice Wednesday and Thursday at a Cleveland-area college.
They’ll travel to London on Thursday night and go through a light practice once they arrive.
The game Sunday against Tennessee is scheduled to kick off at 2:30 p.m. London time, which is 6:30 a.m. in Los Angeles.
Because of the time difference, the Chargers will practice earlier than normal in Cleveland in an attempt to adjust.
“You have to put a lot of focus on (sleep),” Lynn said. “Guys are just not used to playing under those conditions.”
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