CLEVELAND (AP) Joe Thomas watched the kick tumble through the air and sail right of the upright, giving the Browns their first win in more than a year. He felt a little lost.
”I was looking around for people to hug,” he said. ”There were a few tears in my eyes. I was really happy. There was a genuine feeling of joy. The Christmas spirit was amongst us, for sure.”
Yes, Cleveland, there is a Santa Claus.
On the verge of infamy and further embarrassment, the Browns, who have spent this season being kicked around, ridiculed and beaten to a pulp, finally triumphed.
Two losses from an imperfect season, the Browns survived a last-second field goal attempt and got their first victory after 14 losses on Saturday by beating the San Diego Chargers 20-17.
When San Diego’s Josh Lambo missed a 45-yard field-goal attempt as time expired, the Browns (1-14) had their first win in 377 days. Cleveland’s small crowd erupted in celebration, Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam cheered from their suite, and Browns players poured off their sideline as if they had just won the Super Bowl. Several players dropped to the turf in disbelief and relief.
”Finally getting that win … definitely felt amazing,” Thomas said. ”You don’t want to say it was like our Super Bowl, but it really was.”