June 29, 2016


Browns fall flat, lose 38-21 to Redskins

CLEVELAND — The Browns’ three-game winning streak ended with a thud Sunday.

The Redskins entered Cleveland Browns Stadium with star rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III inactive with a knee sprain. It didn’t matter.

Rookie backup Kirk Cousins rebounded from an early interception and led Washington to a 38-21 victory in his first NFL start. The Redskins (8-6) have won five straight and are in the thick of the NFC playoff race.

Cleveland’s long-shot playoff hopes evaporated as quickly as they appeared. The Browns (5-9) needed to win out and get a lot of help. They couldn’t manage the former.

Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden threw two interceptions in the pivotal third quarter as the Browns went from leading 14-10 at halftime to trailing 31-14 early in the fourth quarter.

Weeden and the offense were out of rhythm for much of the day, but the Browns had managed a halftime lead. Weeden gave it away with the two interceptions that led to Redskins’ touchdowns.

He was looking for receiver Greg Little on both picks, but a linebacker stepped in front of each. The first came deep in Cleveland territory to open the third quarter, and the second ended a promising drive. Weeden had Little open on the second one but waited too long and underthrew him.

Weeden finished 21-for-35 for 244 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. The TD came on a 69-yarder to Travis Benjamin in the fourth quarter.

The Browns were just as troubled on defense.

They never adjusted to Washington’s play-action fakes, which allowed Cousins time to throw and open receivers to hit. It was a masterful game plan by coach Mike Shanahan and his son Kyle, the offensive coordinator.

Cousins went 26-for-37 for 329 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

On this day, the Redskins didn’t miss Griffin.

About Scott Petrak

Scott Petrak has been covering the Browns since 2004. He can be reached at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.