The Cleveland Browns gave it a shot, but three turnovers and a poor day from the defense ultimately led to the team’s fourth consecutive loss.
The Cleveland Browns gave it another valiant effort on Sunday against the Washington Redskins.
But for the fourth week in a row, the good guys came up short as they lost to the Redskins by a score of 31-20.
The Browns fell behind early as they had no answers for Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins in the first quarter. Cousins helped stake Washington to a 14-0 lead by hitting tight end Jordan Reed with touchdown passes of eight and nine yards in the opening quarter.
Cleveland fought back from there however, thanks to a two-yard rushing touchdown from Isaiah Crowell and a nine-yard scoring pass from quarterback Cody Kessler to tight end Terrelle Pryor, the first receiving touchdown of Pryor’s NFL career.
The Browns added a Cody Parkey 51-yard field goal (one of two Parkey field goals on the day) at the end of the second quarter to go into halftime tied at 17 with Washington.
Holding a 20-17 lead in the third quarter, the Browns looked to take control of the game as they drove down to Washington’s 16-yard line, only to see the game take a turn for the worse.
On a first-and-10 play, the call went to fullback Malcolm Johnson for his first career carry. Johnson fumbled the ball and Washington recovered at their own nine-yard line.
Cousins then led the Redskins on a 10-play, 91-yard touchdown drive to put Washington back in the lead, 24-20.
Things continued to go south for the Browns from there, as on the ensuing possession running back Duke Johnson fumbled the ball back to the Redskins. Cleveland forced a Washington punt, however, but on the second play of the next drive, Kessler was picked off by cornerback Josh Newman.
The Cleveland defense had a chance to keep the Browns in the game if they could hold Washington to a field goal, but the Redskins only need four plays to go 39 yards and put the game away on a one-yard touchdown run by Matt Jones.
Trying to overcome three consecutive possessions that end in a turnover is a tough situation, but the offense needed the defense to come up with a play and once again they were left hanging.
This was the third time in four games the Browns have given up 29 or more points and are now on pace to give up 460 points on the season – which would make last season’s 432 points allowed look good in comparison.
There were some bright spots for the Browns:
- Crowell rushed 15 times for 112 yards and a touchdown, making it the second time this season he has eclipsed the 100-yard mark.
- Crowell and Johnson combined to average 6.9 yards per carry – which will work any day of the week.
- They left it late, but the defense finally got to Cousins as linebacker Cam Johnson and cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun had sacks on consecutive plays.
- For the second game in a row Kessler didn’t look great, but he didn’t look bad either as he finished 28-of-40 for 223 yards, one touchdown, one interception and only took one sack.
- The Browns were also eight-of-12 on third down and once again didn’t give up the fight despite an early deficit.
But there were some bad things as well:
- The defense was once again taken apart by a tight end as Reed finished the game with nine receptions for 73 yards and the two touchdowns. Through four games, the Browns have allowed 27 catches for 271 yards to opposing tight ends.
- The Browns had seven more penalties to go along with the three turnovers.
- Cleveland also allowed the Redskins to score on four of their five trips into the red zone. Washington came into the game just three-of-14 in the red zone this season.
The loss drops the Browns to 0-4 on the season. But after playing three of their first four games on the road, Cleveland is at least coming home for next week’s game.
Of course, that comes against the New England Patriots who will be welcoming quarterback Tom Brady back from his four-game suspension.
That’ll be fun.