CLEVELAND (AP) — Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes to Tyrell Williams — and the veteran quarterback threw a block — and Melvin Gordon had three TD runs as the Los Angeles Chargers banged around Cleveland rookie Baker Mayfield and the Browns, 38-14 on Sunday.
The 36-year-old Rivers continued one of the best starts of his 15-year career, leading the Chargers (4-2) to their third straight win. Rivers finished 11 of 20 for 207 yards and had only one mistake, an interception midway through the fourth quarter.
San Diego did most of its damage on the ground with Gordon running for 132 yards and scoring on runs of 4, 10 and 11 yards.
Rivers and Williams connected on scoring plays of 45 and 29 yards in the first half, and Gordon’s 11-yard run put the Chargers up 35-6.
Mayfield’s third start as a pro was a rough one. The No. 1 overall pick was sacked five times, tweaked his ankle when he slid on a sideline marker and threw two interceptions.
The Browns (2-3-1) were blown out after playing five tight games — three going to overtime — and showed there’s still a long road ahead.
While young QBs like Mayfield, Carson Wentz and Patrick Mahomes may be the NFL’s next wave, Rivers is showing that the old guys can still get the job done. He has thrown 15 TD passes with just three interceptions, and he did all he could to block Browns linebacker Jamie Collins despite the Chargers leading 28-6.
Los Angeles caught a break on Rivers’ second TD pass to Williams.
Left tackle Russell Okung clearly dropped back before the ball was snapped. Browns defensive end Myles Garrett stopped, assuming the play would be whistled, and several other players paused while Rivers lofted his scoring pass to Williams.
Williams’ first TD catch was more spectacular. Leaping with three Browns defenders around him, he wrestled the ball way from Browns safety Damarious Randall to give the Chargers a 14-3 lead.
Mayfield was under duress from the start, and he didn’t get much help from his wide receivers. Rookies Antonio Callaway and Damion Ratley both missed potential TD catches in the first half.
While running out of bounds on a scramble in the first quarter, Mayfield skidded on the plastic marker on L.A.s’ sideline and he favored his leg throughout the rest of the game.
JUST FOR KICKS
The Chargers’ kicking woes did not come into play.
Rookie Michael Badgley replaced injured starter Caleb Sturgis and made one field goal and all five extra-points in his pro debut. He was signed on Thursday.
Sturgis, who has been dealing with a quadriceps injury, missed a field goal and PAT last week. He also missed two extra points in L.A.’s previous game.
The Browns honored future Hall of Fame tackle Joe Thomas by adding 10,363 — the number of consecutive snaps he played over 11 seasons — to the club’s ring of honor. Thomas retired following last season, which came to a premature end for him when he tore his triceps. He grudgingly retired in March.
“There is no reason for me to retire — I love the game, I love being in the locker room and the paychecks were really good — but my body just couldn’t do it anymore,” said Thomas, who wore an orange Mayfield jersey. “If it weren’t for that, I would be out there today.”
Chargers: DE Christopher Landrum was shaken up in the fourth quarter.
Browns: LB Joe Schobert (hamstring) left in the third quarter, and LB James Burgess (hamstring) went out in the fourth. … WR Rod Streater suffered a neck “stinger” while covering a punt in the first quarter and did not return. Streater’s injury complicated Cleveland’s issues at wide receiver as Rashard Higgins and Derrick Willies were also out with injuries. The team signed free agent Breshad Perriman on Saturday, but he wasn’t active.
Chargers: Play Tennessee in London on Oct. 21.
Browns: Visit Tampa Bay on Oct. 21