With the win, the Browns earned their first victory of the year and avoided joining the 2008 Detroit Lions in becoming the only teams to finish 0-16 for a full regular season.
The Chargers twice had chances to tie the game. With 3:49 left, San Diego kicker Josh Lambo’s 32-yard attempt was blocked by Cleveland defensive lineman Jamie Meder.
San Diego got the ball back with 1:52 left and Philip Rivers again marched his team into field goal position, but when the field goal team rushed onto the field, Lambo pushed his 45-yard attempt wide right as time expired and Cleveland players rushed the field.
San Diego, which dropped to 5-10, has lost four straight and six of their past eight games. The Chargers finished the game with nine accepted penalties for 92 yards.
The Chargers close out their 2016 campaign in what could be the franchise’s final game in San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium against AFC West rival the Kansas City Chiefs.
Team chairman Dean Spanos is leaning toward exercising his option in January to move the team to Los Angeles.
San Diego struggled to contain quarterback Robert Griffin III, who had an efficient game for Cleveland. Griffin finished 17-of-25 for 164 passing yards, but more importantly kept the chains moving with 42 rushing yards. Griffin had to leave in the fourth quarter after suffering a concussion.
Cleveland running back Isaiah Crowell accounted for both of his team’s touchdowns with runs of 4 and 8 yards.
Rivers continued to struggle, throwing his 19th interception on the season, the most in the NFL and one shy of matching his career high (20 in 2011). Rivers has 24 turnovers on the season -- more than 25 teams.
The Chargers did have a few highlights. Rivers topped 4,000 passing yards in a season for the eighth time, tying Tom Brady for third most in NFL history.
Antonio Gates caught a 1-yard pass for a touchdown, putting him within one of tying Tony Gonzalez’s record for touchdowns for tight ends of 111.
Rookie Joey Bosa had two sacks for the third time this season and now has at least a half of a sack in five straight games. Bosa leads the Chargers with 9.5 sacks on the year and is three sacks away from Leslie O’Neal’s franchise record for rookies (12.5) set in 1986.