SPORTS INSIDER – Redskins edge out the Browns 24-23 for second preseason win


Sports Insider - Redskin's Kirk Cousins 2August 19, 2014
Ceci Ferrara
Sports Writer
Sports Insider

The Washington Redskins got their second preseason victory on Monday night by edging out the visiting Cleveland Browns 24-23. But it wasn’t pretty—or easy. Robert Griffin III had two turnovers and a false start penalty before Washington scored their first points. He also found himself on the ground more than once, after getting hit on running plays. The third year quarterback has had a notoriously difficult time protecting himself on run plays, such as sliding to avoid trouble.

“It’s something we have to continue to talk to him about — how important he is to this franchise,” new coach Jay Gruden said. “When he gets out of the pocket, he needs to protect himself. He’s had a career where he’s been able to get out of those predicaments with his speed and athleticism. But here, being that it’s a 16-game season with all the great talent that’s across the league, he’s got to pick his shots and learn how to get down a bit better.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Browns got on the board first after Billy Cundiff kicked a 29-yard field goal with 5:59 left in the first half. Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins came in for RGIII and went a quick three and out before orchestrating a touchdown drive for a 7-3 halftime lead.

Washington’s momentum continued in the second half, with a 60-yard touchdown drive that gave them a 14-3 lead. They carried that lead into a fourth quarter no one expected. After being offensively quiet all game, Cleveland exploded in the final 15 minutes. They scored a quick touchdown to open the quarter, followed by a pick six on a Colt McCoy pass. Trailing for most of the game, the Browns suddenly had the lead.

The Redskins responded with a field goal to tie the game at 17 apiece. A missed Browns field goal set the Skins up with excellent field position, which they converted into a touchdown on a 30-yard pass from McCoy. But Cleveland wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. With just two minutes left, they moved the ball 91 yards, including a 45-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass with nine seconds left. They went for the win on a two point conversion, but their attempt failed to give Washington the one-point victory.

Though the Skins may have won the game, it wasn’t particularly impressive. With new coaches and a healthy knee, RGIII is looking to bounce back from his injury ridden sophomore season. But on Monday night, he looked sub-par, finishing 6 for 8 for 112 yards, including a fumble and interception. None of Washington’s points came while he was under center.

After the game, he tweeted “Just want ya’ll to know I will keep working on getting down and not take those big hits. Got it right the third time.”

The Browns’ first round pick Johnny Manziel, who is hoping to win the starting QB job over Brian Hoyer, wasn’t a hit either. Though he finished 7 of 16 passes for 65 yards and touchdown, he struggled to hit open receivers. And afterwards, the media was focused on his childish behavior, instead of his performance. The Monday Night Football cameras found Manziel giving the middle finger to the Washington bench after a play in the third quarter.

At first Manziel defended the gesture, which occurred after he exchanged words with some Washington players after an incompletion. “I felt like I did a good job of holding my composure throughout the night, and you have a lapse of judgment and slip up,” he said, before adding, “I should have been smarter. The cameras were solidly on me. I need to be smarter about that.”

The Redskins have two more preseason games–against the Ravens and the Buccaneers–before their regular season opener on September 7th in Houston.


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