By Troy Jefferson
The New York Giants got thrashed in Atlanta and Chicago lost to Green Bay. All the Redskins had to do was beat Cleveland and they would be in pretty good playoff position and Washington did just that.
Kirk Cousins got the nod at quarterback and looked pretty sharp after a rough start. The Redskins’ first four offensive possessions went Punt, Interception, Punt, and Punt. Cleveland managed to cash in on a T.J. Ward interception with a Trent Richardson six-yard touchdown run.
The Redskins’ defense did a good job of holding the Browns offense at bay early until Cousins settled down. With 2:26 left in the second quarter, the rookie quarterback from Michigan State threw a dart to Leonard Hankerson for a touchdown to tie the game at seven.
Hankerson finished the game with two receptions that both resulted in touchdowns. Brandon Weeden looked lost for most of the game, but he did lead an impressive nine-play 75-yard touchdown drive in the middle of the second quarter. The score would remain the same for the rest of the quarter with Cleveland taking a 14-10 lead into the half.
Washington really turned it up a notch in the second half. Rob Jackson intercepted a pass on the first Brown’s possession, which gave the Redskins excellent field position. Alfred Morris took advantage of the short field and gave Washington the lead with a three-yard touchdown run.
Cleveland made a point of taking Morris out of the game. However, the rookie running back finished with 87 yards on 27 carries with two touchdowns. After a Brown’s punt, Hankerson caught his second touchdown of the day and gave the Redskins a 24-14 lead.
With the exception of a Travis Benjamin 69-yard touchdown, Jim Haslett’s defense played well in the second half. The Redskins defense had a 33% 3rd down conversion rate, two sacks, two turnovers, and also stopped Cleveland on two fourth down attempts.
Evan Royster and Morris scored in the fourth quarter and the final score was Washington Redskins 38 Cleveland Browns 21. With the win Mike Shanahan’s team sits 8-6 and are atop the NFC East.
Game MVP(s): Kirk Cousins and Kyle Shanahan. Great play calling by Kyle and Kirk finished 26/37 for 329 yards with two passing touchdowns and rushed for 22 yards.
Moving Forward: The Washington Redskins (8-6) travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles (4-10).