When L.A. had a first-and-goal on the Cincinnati 2-yard line with 10 minutes to go in the game, the Bengals were able to hold the Chargers to a field goal. Baker Mayfield's struggles continued as the third-year pro threw for just 189 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
The only rookie quarterback to start the first week of the season got a rough introduction to the NFL.
"We needed that touchdown", Taylor said.
As bad as it was, there were a few hints that things can be better this season after a 2-14 finish that matched the worst in club history. And when the visitors took over at the 5:13 mark, Cincinnati forced a three-and-out to get the ball back. Once he did, he showed flashes of the Heisman Trophy form that made him the top overall pick. He finished 23 of 36 for 193 yards with one interception, a 23-yard touchdown run and a passer rating of 66.1.
Coming back home to Cleveland, the Browns will no doubt be anxious to redeem themselves against their in-state rivals.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) reacts after running for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Cincinnati. By the end, he was in a rhythm. Without a preseason, Burrow was taking his first snaps in a game. Asked to grade his performance, he gave it a "D" and recited his missed chances. Burrow was sacked three times.
"I like ball control all cases but when you run 41 plays in the first half and only put six points on the board you have to be better", Lynn said on Monday.
Jonah Williams, their first-round pick in 2019, had an uneven debut at left tackle after missing last season with a shoulder injury. Right guard Xavier Su'a-Filo suffered an ankle injury in the second half.
"We felt like we could've won this one if we executed better, and we didn't", Williams said.
Not a bad debut for a revamped unit on which Mike Brown actually opened his wallet over the offseason. Not the best debut, but certainly nothing to be disappointed in.
"They were just trying to find things that work because in the beginning of the game, things were going our way", Bengals linebacker Josh Bynes said.
LA coach Anthony Lynn said Taylor's avoidance of turnovers - Cincinnati gave the ball away twice - was one of the keys to the game, along with the running of the Kelley, who finished with 60 yards in his National Football League debut.