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Josh Gordon can't save Browns as Chargers win, 19-10

Nate Ulrich, Akron Beacon Journal on

Published in Football

CARSON, Calif. -- Josh Gordon made two big plays in his return to regular-season action, but the former All-Pro wide receiver didn't produce nearly enough to prevent Browns coach Hue Jackson from making dubious history in his hometown.

Playing in a real NFL game for the first time in 1,077 days, Gordon finished with four receptions for 85 yards on 11 targets as the Browns suffered a 19-10 defeat Sunday to the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center.

Falling to 1-27, Jackson, a Los Angeles native, set a record for the worst start with a team by any head coach in NFL history. Last week, Jackson tied coach John McKay for the previous record. McKay went 0-26 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1976-77 before winning two games in a row.

The Browns also became just the second team in NFL history to begin consecutive seasons 0-12. McKay's Buccaneers also did it. The Browns also stumbled to 4-45 dating to late in the 2014 season. It's the worst 49-game stretch in NFL history.

Now they have just four games left to avoid finishing the season with a record of 0-16. Only the 2008 Detroit Lions have experienced such humiliation.

They'll likely need a stronger connection between Gordon and rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer to prevail. Kizer either underthrew or overthrew Gordon a handful of times.

 

Kizer completed 15-of-32 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown with an interception for a rating of 66.5.

Gordon hadn't played in the regular season since Dec. 21, 2014. He missed 44 consecutive games and 54 of 59 because of recurring violations of the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

For a moment, Gordon looked like the player who led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards in 2013. On third-and-1 at the Browns' 44-yard line, Gordon ran a go route along the sideline and jumped to haul in a 28-yard pass over Pro Bowl cornerback Casey Hayward, the AFC's defensive player of the month for November.

Two plays later, the Browns captured a 7-0 lead and finished a five-play, 65-yard drive when rookie tight end David Njoku beat cornerback Trevor Williams to haul in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Kizer with 1:55 left in the second quarter.

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