Josh McCown era began Thursday in Cleveland and the veteran quarterback brought immediate results in a 20-17 preseason loss to the Redskins.
On Cleveland’s opening drive, McCown completed all five of his passes and capped it with a 2-yard touchdown pass to
Travis Benjamin in the back of the end zone. On the play, McCown evaded several blitzing Redskins in the pocket with nifty footwork.
It ended up being his only possession of the game, but McCown continued to show Cleveland’s coaching staff he can be an effective leader of the Browns offense.
“Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) called an excellent game,” McCown said. “To come out and just worry about us and how we execute things, I was really proud of that of our guys. Everybody just went about our business the way we have throughout training camp and we were able to move the ball down the field and score.”
In the second quarter, the offense kept the momentum rolling with quarterback
Marlon Moore stripped Redskins return man Andre Roberts on a punt, Manziel and the offense capitalized on the mistake. Two quick completions to Brian Hartline and Isaiah Crowell spread the defense out, and Manziel broke loose with his feet on a third-and-4, weaving around Washington defenders on his way to a 12-yard touchdown run.
It wasn’t all picture-perfect for the 22-year-old in five total series, but Manziel finished the night 7-for-11 for 42 yards and with something to build upon.
The Redskins had some success against the Browns defense, though. With the Browns run defense under the microscope, Washington’s Alfred Morris carried the ball eight times for 42 yards (5.3 yards per carry).
In the second quarter, quarterback Kirk Cousins engineered a quick, eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive and finished it with a 4-yard touchdown of his own. Cousins, who had success in Cleveland in a 2012 win that helped the Redskins make the playoffs, completed 12-of-14 passes for 154 yards. The Redskins scored 17 points in two quarters with the 26-year-old pocket passer.
Despite Washington’s efficiency with Cousins, there were several bright spots on defense for the Browns.
The Redskins were threatening for another touchdown before halftime, but a sack from rookie
Xavier Cooper and a thundering tackle for a loss by Christian Kirksey on Redskins running back Chris Thompson forced Washington into a field goal. In the third quarter, Jamie Meder forced a fumble from running back Silas Redd and Tank Carder pounced on football.