Final thoughts from Browns-Redskins

Posted by Vic Carucci on December 16, 2012 – 10:45 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

Here are some final thoughts on the Browns’ 38-21 loss against the Redskins at Cleveland Browns Stadium:

>>File this one under, “Be careful what you wish for.” So Robert Griffin III wasn’t able to play because of that knee injury he suffered in Week 14. So what? Kirk Cousins, the Redskins’ other rookie quarterback, stepped in with a phenomenal performance. Had RGIII had Cousins’ passing numbers (26-of-37, 329 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 104.4), his rookie-of-the-year campaign might very well have been sealed. Cousins was poised, efficient, and highly accurate (except for a tipped pass that became an interception). He doesn’t have anything close to Griffin’s mobility, but still managed to run three times for 22 yards, including a 17-yard carry on a naked bootleg.

>>The Browns’ three-game winning streak was tremendous fun while it lasted. I don’t know what sort of impact winning four in a row (or six in a row, for that matter) would have on what will happen at the end of the season. But that really doesn’t matter. Winning creates a more positive atmosphere around the team, and the streak gave so many of us new and better topics of discussion. The loss to the Redskins doesn’t undo all of the good that came from the 3-0 stretch. It just gets us back to a less enjoyable narrative.

>>Was it possible the Browns took the RGIII-less Redskins too lightly? Sure. At least one player, cornerback Joe Haden, told me he was surprised by how well Cousins performed. But the fact is the Browns shouldn’t have been all that surprised. Although the Redskins didn’t use the read-option plays that RGIII runs so effectively, they still used some basic elements of their standard passing game that Cousins had operated well in brief relief appearances before his start against the Browns. Cousins is incredibly diligent when it comes to studying videotape and making certain he is well prepared for a game. He didn’t simply begin doing that this week because of Griffin’s uncertain status. He does it all the time. Much of what Cousins accomplished during the game was due to his fairly thorough understanding of all aspects of the Browns’ defense, including the tiniest details about each player’s tendencies.

>>The Browns’ defense started strong, but then collapsed. Some of the problem was being on the field far too often because of the ineptitude of the Browns’ offense. Some of it could very well have been the result of taking Cousins too lightly. But most of the defense’s issues seemed to stem from an inability to handle the many bootleg plays that Cousins ran. It was incredible/maddening how the Redskins were able to repeatedly find success with Cousins running or throwing while bootlegging. Each time, the Browns’ front seven would take the bait on Cousins’ fake to the opposite direction and be woefully out of position to make a play. At some point, it seemed that the defense would finally catch on, but never happened.

>>Brandon Weeden picked a horrible time to have one of his worst performances of the season. He missed open receivers on multiple throws. On many occasions, he seemed confused with the Redskins’ coverage and overall defensive scheme, holding the ball and mostly being slow to get rid of it. That caused throwing windows to close before he had a chance to exploit them and resulted in his being intercepted twice and often having nowhere to go with the ball. Weeden also had several passes knocked down at the line, which has been a problem for the rookie this season. The game was a clear backward step in his development, but he does have two more games to try and make up ground.

>>The Browns’ running game was almost non-existent beyond Trent Richardson’s rushing for a pair of touchdowns. Richardson only had 28 yards on 11 carries, but ran only twice in the second half. His scoring runs of six yards, in the first quarter, and one yard, in the second, were impressive. On the first, he showed tremendous power to force his way through a pile of bodies and keep pushing across the goal line for his 10th touchdown of the season, breaking Jim Brown’s rookie record. On the second, he showed good judgment in bouncing the play outside and pulling away from a pair of defenders for the score.

>>Travis Benjamin’s 69-yard touchdown catch of a beautiful throw from Weeden represented the biggest of the Browns’ few highlights. When he is lined up one-on-one against a defender, as he was on that play, Benjamin can simply use his incredible speed to simply streak into the clear on a go route, which was what he ran. The Browns’ coaches have worked with him about getting into a more explosive stance to get the best possible take-off he can, and Benjamin demonstrated that he is taking that coaching well.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Game Recap: Redskins 38, Browns 21

Posted by Matt Florjancic on December 16, 2012 – 9:13 pm

With four second-half touchdowns, the Washington Redskins overcame a four-point halftime deficit and earned a 38-21 come-from-behind victory over the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium Sunday afternoon.

The Redskins improved to 8-6 with the win and extended their winning streak to five games. The Browns saw their three-game winning streak come to an end and fell to 5-9 on the season.

Washington running back Alfred Morris’ eight-yard touchdown run gave the Redskins a 38-21 lead over the Browns with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Morris’ touchdown run, his second of the game, finished off an eight-play, 76-yard drive that lasted 5:11.

Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden completed a 69-yard touchdown pass to fellow rookie, wide receiver Travis Benjamin, and cut the Washington  lead to 31-21 with 10:11 left in regulation.

The Browns faced a third-and-seven from their own 31-yard line when Weeden took the snap and found Benjamin behind the coverage of third-year cornerback D.J. Johnson. After catching the ball, Benjamin darted to the middle of the field and created enough space between himself and the defender to secure the touchdown.

The scoring drive lasted three plays, covered 72 yards and took 1:08 off the clock.

Second-year running back Evan Royster extended the Redskins’ lead over the Browns to 31-14 with 11:19 left to play in the fourth quarter. Royster’s touchdown run capped off a 10-play, 67-yard drive that took 4:42 off the fourth-quarter clock.

The Redskins held a 24-14 lead over the Browns after three quarters of play.

Second-year wide receiver Leonard Hankerson caught a two-yard touchdown pass from rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins and extended Washington’s lead over the Browns to 24-14 with 7:40 left in the third quarter.

The Redskins marched 60 yards on seven plays and took 3:44 off the third-quarter clock. It was their second touchdown in as many second-half possessions after the defense intercepted Weeden and Morris followed with a three-yard touchdown run on the drive of the third quarter.

On the strength of two rushing touchdowns by rookie running back Trent Richardson, the Browns took a 14-10 lead over the Redskins after the first half.

Richardson rushed for a one-yard touchdown and put the Browns back in front of the Redskins, 14-10, with 1:11 left in the first half.

Richardson’s touchdown run was his second of the game and 11th of the season. He has scored 12 overall touchdowns during his rookie season with the Browns.

The Browns’ second touchdown drive of the game travelled 75 yards in nine plays and took 4:35 off the second-quarter clock.

Washington kicker Kai Forbath converted a 44-yard field goal attempt and gave the Redskins their first lead of the game over the Cleveland Browns, 10-7, with 5:46 remaining in the second quarter of play from Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Forbath capped off a nine-play, 51-yard drive that took 3:36 off the second-quarter clock.

The Browns and Redskins played an even first quarter and entered the second period of play tied at 7-7.

Cousins delivered a 54-yard touchdown pass to Hankerson and tied the Redskins with the Browns, at 7-7, with 2:16 left in the first quarter.

Cousins took the snap on first-and-10 from his own 46-yard line and ran a bootleg to the right side of the field. He threw the ball downfield and Hankerson leaked past the Browns’ coverage before corralling the football. After picking himself up off the ground, Hankerson ran the final few yards for the touchdown.

The scoring pass came one play after Reggie Hodges’ 34-yard punt at the end of the Browns’ third possession.

Richardson’s six-yard touchdown run gave the Browns a 7-0 lead over the Redskins with 8:41 remaining in the first quarter.

The run, Richardson’s 10th rushing touchdown and 11th overall score, allowed him to break two Browns rookie records. Richardson broke a first-place tie with Pro Football Hall of Famer, Jim Brown, who had nine rushing touchdowns in his rookie season of 1957. He also broke a three-way tie with Brown and Eric Metcalf for the most combined touchdowns by a Browns rookie. Both Brown and Metcalf had 10 touchdowns in their rookie seasons with the Browns.

The Browns’ defense set up the one-play, six-yard, nine-second drive with a turnover.

On third-and-10 from Washington’s 23-yard line, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a pass for Pierre Garcon, but defensive back Sheldon Brown batted the ball into the air and safety T.J. Ward caught his first interception of the season. Ward returned the ball 37 yards to the Redskins’ six-yard line.

Game Recap is presented by Giant Eagle, the Official Supermarket of the Cleveland Browns.


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Morris rushes for second TD

Posted by Matt Florjancic on December 16, 2012 – 8:58 pm

Washington running back Alfred Morris’ eight-yard touchdown run gave the Redskins a 38-21 lead over the Cleveland Browns with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of play from Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Morris’ touchdown run, his second of the game, finished off an eight-play, 76-yard drive that lasted 5:11.


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Weeden throws TD pass to Benjamin

Posted by Matt Florjancic on December 16, 2012 – 8:47 pm

Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden completed a 69-yard touchdown pass to fellow rookie, wide receiver Travis Benjamin, and cut the Washington Redskins’ lead to 31-21 with 10:11 left in regulation at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

The Browns faced a third-and-seven from their own 31-yard line when Weeden took the snap and found Benjamin behind the coverage of third-year cornerback D.J. Johnson. After catching the ball, Benjamin darted to the middle of the field and created enough space between himself and the defender to secure the touchdown.

The scoring drive lasted three plays, covered 72 yards and took 1:08 off the clock.


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Royster rushes for touchdown

Posted by Matt Florjancic on December 16, 2012 – 8:41 pm

Second-year running back Evan Royster extended the Washington Redskins’ lead over the Cleveland Browns to 31-14 with 11:19 left to play in the fourth quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Royster’s touchdown run capped off a 10-play, 67-yard drive that took 4:42 off the fourth-quarter clock.


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Browns trail after three quarters

Posted by Matt Florjancic on December 16, 2012 – 8:32 pm

The Washington Redskins held a 24-14 lead over the Cleveland Browns after three quarters of play at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Second-year wide receiver Leonard Hankerson caught a two-yard touchdown pass from rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins and extended Washington’s lead over the Browns to 24-14 with 7:40 left in the third quarter.

The Redskins marched 60 yards on seven plays and took 3:44 off the third-quarter clock. It was their second touchdown in as many second-half possessions after the defense intercepted Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden and running back Alfred Morris followed with a three-yard touchdown run on the drive of the third quarter.

On the strength of two rushing touchdowns by rookie running back Trent Richardson, the Browns took a 14-10 lead over the Redskins after the first half.

Richardson rushed for a one-yard touchdown and put the Browns back in front of the Redskins, 14-10, with 1:11 left in the first half.

Richardson’s touchdown run was his second of the game and 11th of the season. He has scored 12 overall touchdowns during his rookie season with the Browns.

The Browns’ second touchdown drive of the game travelled 75 yards in nine plays and took 4:35 off the second-quarter clock.

Washington kicker Kai Forbath converted a 44-yard field goal attempt and gave the Redskins their first lead of the game over the Cleveland Browns, 10-7, with 5:46 remaining in the second quarter of play from Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Forbath capped off a nine-play, 51-yard drive that took 3:36 off the second-quarter clock.

The Browns and Redskins played an even first quarter and entered the second period of play tied at 7-7.

Cousins delivered a 54-yard touchdown pass to Hankerson and tied the Redskins with the Browns, at 7-7, with 2:16 left in the first quarter.

Cousins took the snap on first-and-10 from his own 46-yard line and ran a bootleg to the right side of the field. He threw the ball downfield and Hankerson leaked past the Browns’ coverage before corralling the football. After picking himself up off the ground, Hankerson ran the final few yards for the touchdown.

The scoring pass came one play after Reggie Hodges’ 34-yard punt at the end of the Browns’ third possession.

Richardson’s six-yard touchdown run gave the Browns a 7-0 lead over the Redskins with 8:41 remaining in the first quarter.

The run, Richardson’s 10th rushing touchdown and 11th overall score, allowed him to break two Browns rookie records. Richardson broke a first-place tie with Pro Football Hall of Famer, Jim Brown, who had nine rushing touchdowns in his rookie season of 1957. He also broke a three-way tie with Brown and Eric Metcalf for the most combined touchdowns by a Browns rookie. Both Brown and Metcalf had 10 touchdowns in their rookie seasons with the Browns.

The Browns’ defense set up the one-play, six-yard, nine-second drive with a turnover.

On third-and-10 from Washington’s 23-yard line, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a pass for Pierre Garcon, but defensive back Sheldon Brown batted the ball into the air and safety T.J. Ward caught his first interception of the season. Ward returned the ball 37 yards to the Redskins’ six-yard line.


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Hankerson catches second touchdown

Posted by Matt Florjancic on December 16, 2012 – 8:12 pm

Second-year wide receiver Leonard Hankerson caught a two-yard touchdown pass from rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins and extended Washington’s lead over the Cleveland Browns to 24-14 with 7:40 left in the third quarter of play from Cleveland Browns Stadium.

The Redskins marched 60 yards on seven plays and took 3:44 off the third-quarter clock. It was their second touchdown in as many second-half possessions after the defense intercepted Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden and running back Alfred Morris followed with a three-yard touchdown run on the drive of the third quarter.


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Redskins retake the lead

Posted by Matt Florjancic on December 16, 2012 – 8:01 pm

The Washington Redskins needed just three plays, 15 yards and 58 seconds to take a 17-14 lead over the Cleveland Browns with 13:14 left to play in the third quarter of today’s inter-conference matchup at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Rookie running back Alfred Morris put the Redskins back in front with a three-yard touchdown run behind left guard Kory Lichtensteiger on second-and-goal.

The Redskins’ defense set up the offensive score.

On second-and-nine from the Browns’ 27-yard line, quarterback Brandon Weeden looked to complete a pass to wide receiver Greg Little over the middle of the formation when fourth-year linebacker Rob Jackson intercepted the football and returned it 12 yards.


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First-half thoughts from Browns-Redskins

Posted by Vic Carucci on December 16, 2012 – 7:43 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

Here are some thoughts on the first half of the Browns’ game against the Redskins at Cleveland Browns Stadium:

What I liked…

>>The Browns’ defense playing mostly well in the early going. For the most part, the front seven has shown good discipline in dealing with the Redskins’ zone-blocking run scheme. Defenders have been staying in their gaps and allowing Alfred Morris little room to run.

>>Sheldon Brown being his usual alert, savvied self in deflecting a pass that T.J. Ward intercepted to set up the Browns’ first touchdown. Brown also deflected a pass last week that Tashaun Gipson picked off against the Chiefs.

>>Trent Richardson’s extra effort on his two touchdown runs. On the first, which gave him 10 for the season and broke Jim Brown’s rookie record, Richardson showed a little bit of Brown-like power in bulling his way through a thick pile of defenders. On the second, he bounced the run outside and showed good second and third effort to avoid would-be tacklers to get into the end zone.

What I didn’t like …

>>Although there is little to complain about regarding the Browns’ defense, there should have been more alertness on Kirk Cousins’ 17-yard run. Not a single defender stayed home as he ran the naked boot.

>>Giving up Cousins’ 25-yard pass to Even Royster on third-and-nine that helped set up a 44-yard field goal.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci


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Browns lead at halftime

Posted by Matt Florjancic on December 16, 2012 – 7:39 pm

On the strength of two rushing touchdowns by rookie running back Trent Richardson, the Cleveland Browns took a 14-10 lead over the Washington Redskins after the first half of play from Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Richardson rushed for a one-yard touchdown and put the Browns back in front of the Redskins, 14-10, with 1:11 left in the first half.

Richardson’s touchdown run was his second of the game and 11th of the season. He has scored 12 overall touchdowns during his rookie season with the Browns.

The Browns’ second touchdown drive of the game travelled 75 yards in nine plays and took 4:35 off the second-quarter clock.

Washington kicker Kai Forbath converted a 44-yard field goal attempt and gave the Redskins their first lead of the game over the Cleveland Browns, 10-7, with 5:46 remaining in the second quarter of play from Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Forbath capped off a nine-play, 51-yard drive that took 3:36 off the second-quarter clock.

The Browns and Redskins played an even first quarter and entered the second period of play tied at 7-7.

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins delivered a 54-yard touchdown pass to second-year wide receiver Leonard Hankerson and tied the Redskins with the Browns, at 7-7, with 2:16 left in the first quarter.

Cousins took the snap on first-and-10 from his own 46-yard line and ran a bootleg to the right side of the field. He threw the ball downfield and Hankerson leaked past the Browns’ coverage before corralling the football. After picking himself up off the ground, Hankerson ran the final few yards for the touchdown.

The scoring pass came one play after Reggie Hodges’ 34-yard punt at the end of the Browns’ third possession.

Richardson’s six-yard touchdown run gave the Browns a 7-0 lead over the Redskins with 8:41 remaining in the first quarter.

The run, Richardson’s 10th rushing touchdown and 11th overall score, allowed him to break two Browns rookie records. Richardson broke a first-place tie with Pro Football Hall of Famer, Jim Brown, who had nine rushing touchdowns in his rookie season of 1957. He also broke a three-way tie with Brown and Eric Metcalf for the most combined touchdowns by a Browns rookie. Both Brown and Metcalf had 10 touchdowns in their rookie seasons with the Browns.

The Browns’ defense set up the one-play, six-yard, nine-second drive with a turnover.

On third-and-10 from Washington’s 23-yard line, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a pass for Pierre Garcon, but defensive back Sheldon Brown batted the ball into the air and safety T.J. Ward caught his first interception of the season. Ward returned the ball 37 yards to the Redskins’ six-yard line.


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