Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 10/25/12
The San Diego Chargers needed to get away after a difficult loss, yet they couldn't escape controversy during their bye week.Still awaiting the results of a league probe regarding the possible use of an illegal substance in their last game, the Chargers will try to avoid a third straight loss Sunday when they visit a Cleveland Browns team which could be missing Trent Richardson.Instead of heading into the bye with a two-game lead atop the AFC West, the Chargers (3-3) went into their break tied with Denver after giving up 35 unanswered second-half points in a 35-24 loss to the Broncos on Oct. 15.It tied for the fourth-biggest regular-season comeback in NFL history, and came just a week after San Diego surrendered the final 17 points in a 31-24 loss to previously winless New Orleans."When you lose it's rough, especially in a game where you had a big lead and so much at stake," said Philip Rivers, who had career highs with four interceptions and six turnovers against Denver.If losing a double-digit lead for a second consecutive week wasn't bad enough - or team spokesman Bill Johnston telling fans to "take a chill pill" in a column on the team's website - San Diego is now being investigated for using a banned substance against Denver. Fox Sports first reported that a Chargers equipment manager came on to the field with an illegal substance on hand towels.The report also said the equipment manager refused to hand over the towels to a line judge, and that skin-colored or a clear type of tape was found after officials made him empty his pockets.Chargers coach Norv Turner claims the NFL investigation is about the hand towels, not an illegal substance."Nobody in this organization has used Stickum in any game," Turner said Monday of the product that was banned by the league in 1981. "The question involved a towel that has been used by this organization for over 10 years. It's used by a lot of teams in this league. The towel is used to dry the balls, dry the gloves that the players wear and their arms. The league is looking into the towel. That's about where it's at."On the field, the Chargers are expected to use a more cautious approach on offense as turnovers - 13 in the last four games - are becoming a major concern. Shorter routes could benefit Rivers, who has been sacked 12 times in the last three games and is 2 for 12 with three INTs this season on throws 31 yards and longer.The Browns defense, meanwhile, tops the AFC with 10 interceptions and is among the conference leaders with 18 sacks.The offense also has shown some positive signs behind rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, as Cleveland (1-6) had no turnovers for the first time this season in last Sunday's 17-13 loss at Indianapolis.However, the Browns could be without Richardson, the team leader with 348 yards and 24 receptions, due to a rib cartilage injury.The rookie running back was pulled last Sunday after rushing for eight yards on eight carries."If he's ready to play, he'll play," coach Pat Shurmur said. "If we see that this is bothering him to the point where he can't perform, then we'll make those decisions as we go."If Richardson can't go, Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya are expected to get the bulk of the carries.Given the Chargers' league-best rush defense (71.2 ypg), Weeden might get more opportunities to spread the ball around. He connected with nine receivers last Sunday, with Greg Little and Josh Gordon each catching touchdowns.The Browns' line has done a great job protecting Weeden, allowing three sacks over the past four games, but that unit has lost starting left guard Jason Pinkston for the season due to life-threatening blood clots in his lungs. Pinkston was released from the Cleveland Clinic on Wednesday, two days after being placed on injured reserve.John Greco will likely replace Pinkston. Greco started last Sunday when Cleveland rushed for 55 yards."I thought John stepped in and did okay," Shurmur told the Browns' official website. "Anytime you remove a piece though, there's a little bit of getting used to."San Diego is used to defeating Cleveland, winning the last four meetings and nine of 11.The last time these teams met, the Chargers won 30-23 in Cleveland on Dec, 23, 2009. Rivers threw for 373 yards and two TDs while tight end Antonio Gates caught eight passes for a career-best 167 yards.Gates had a season-high 81 yards against Denver with two touchdowns after having none through his first four games.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Giants’ Victor Cruz cleared to practice

PETA sends Warren Sapp vegan lobster following shark bite

Report: Josh McCown has looked better at times than RG3

Mike Trout does David Ortiz impersonation

Suspended Steelers WR Martavis Bryant set to help coach HS football

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tickets for ‘Monday Night Football’ game in Mexico sell out

Kevin Durant says he never told Russell Westbrook he was staying in OKC

God Shammgod hired by Mavericks as player development assistant

Soccer player terminates contract after being attacked by stray dogs

Todd Bowles confirms Ryan Fitzpatrick is Jets starting QB: ‘It’s his job’

Carmelo Anthony shocked Dwyane Wade left Miami for Chicago

Giants acquire All-Star Eduardo Nunez from the Twins

Vikings QB injured trying to kick open door

Josh Gordon thankful for support from Browns

Report: Seahawks DE Chris Clemons retiring

Denard Robinson blames falling asleep at stoplight for pond crash

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Hue Jackson: Browns will give Josh Gordon a fresh start

Diamondbacks nearing Daniel Hudson trade

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

What would George Costanza have traded to get Bonds and Griffey?

Gabby Douglas can make USA Gymnastics history at Olympics

Week 3 will determine the Big Ten's reputation this season

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker