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Browns 5 Most All-Time Memorable Wins Against the Chargers

Cleveland Browns v San Diego Chargers

1. Browns 47, Chargers 17, Dec. 21, 1986 in Cleveland

Second-year pro Bernie Kosar completed 21 of 28 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns as the Browns closed the regular season with their fifth straight win.

The Browns, who had already clinched the American Football Conference Central Division title, assured themselves of home-field advantage through the AFC playoffs with the win — setting up two epic games. Cleveland finished the regular season 12-4. The 12 wins remain the most during the regular season in Browns history. (NFL schedules were 12 games during the Browns’ first 11 years in the league, then expanded to 14 games in 1961 and 16 games in 1978).

Cleveland opened the scoring with a surprise play: running back Herman Fontenot throwing a 46-yard touchdown pass to Webster Slaughter. Kosar’s 57-yard scoring strike to Brian Brennan gave the Browns a 20-10 halftime lead.

Brennan, one of nine Browns to catch at least one pass, totaled seven receptions for 176 yards. Kosar, Fontenot and backup quarterback Mike Pagel combined for 24 completions in 32 attempts for 357 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

San Diego finished 4-12.

The Browns would then tally their first postseason win in 17 years, erasing a late 20-10 deficit to defeat the Jets, 23-20, in a second overtime. Then, in the AFC championship game, Broncos quarterback John Elway led a late 98-yard touchdown march — known as “The Drive” — that forced overtime on the way to a 23-20 Denver victory.

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Mike Peticca covered the Indians and Cavaliers for The Associated Press from 1976 to 1998 and the Browns from 1976 to 1995. The Akron native doubled as a Plain Dealer sports writer for several years, and then covered high school, college and professional teams for The PD until 2013. He is a longtime baseball Hall of Fame voter.

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