Game Recap: Twelve days after thumping the Patriots in the preseason opener, the Redskins produced an uneven effort Monday night but still managed to eke out a 24-23 victory over the Browns at FedEx Field.
Robert Griffin III and the Redskins’ starters on offense played into the second quarter yet produced no points.
Griffin finished 6 of 8 for 112 yards—49 of which came on a perfectly thrown pass to Andre Roberts. Griffin also recorded 24 rushing yards on four carries.
But the third-year quarterback also tossed an interception, absorbed a couple of unnecessary hits and was whistled for a false start, not once but twice. Indeed, it was that kind of night for Griffin and his teammates, who, at times, moved the ball effectively but often couldn’t get out of their own way.
The Redskins’ first team defense fared much better. Led by Ryan Kerrigan’s two sacks, the unit also played into the second quarter and kept former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and the Browns off the scoreboard. In two exhibition contests, the Redskins’ starters have not allowed a point and have notched a total of three sacks.
The national storyline, of course, wasn’t Griffin’s performance or even Kerrigan’s. It was the quarterback battle between Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer. Against the Redskins’ starters, neither signal caller looked particularly sharp. In fact, Manziel, who entered the game on the Browns’ third series, opened 2 of 7 passing for 29 yards, including three poorly thrown balls.
Overall, Manziel finished 7 of 16 for 65 yards a touchdown, while Hoyer was 2 of 6 for 16 yards. Browns Coach Mike Pettine is expected to name an opening day starter on Tuesday.
After the Redskins’ starters exited, the Browns took a 3-0 lead on a 29-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff.
The Redskins responded with touchdowns by running back Evan Royster and rookie wide receiver Ryan Grant, who hauled in a 14-yard pass from Kirk Cousins. Grant’s score put the Redskins ahead 14-3.
But Washington’s second and third stringers couldn’t hold the lead. Manziel connected with running back Dion Lewis for an eight yard touchdown, then safety Jim Leonhard picked off Colt McCoy and returned the ball 19 yards to put the Browns ahead 17-14.
McCoy, however, responded by efficiently directing a seven-play, 53-yard drive the culminated with a 26-yard field goal by Kai Forbath that knotted the score 17-17 with 9:51 left to play.
Then with 2:01 left to play, McCoy redeemed himself in a big way, connecting with Nick Williams for a 30-yard touchdown strike that put the Redskins ahead 24-17.
The excitement — for the fans who stuck around — was just beginning.
Connor Shaw hit Emmanuel Ogbuehi on a Hail Mary with no time remaining to pull the Browns within 24-23. But Shaw’s pass on the two-point conversion sailed out of bounds, clinching the Redskins’ win.
Key Moment: Royster, the forgotten man in the running back battle, almost single handedly helped the Redskins take a 7-3 lead in the second quarter. Royster set up the score with a 24-yard reception and then showed a good amount of determination as he bowled his way through the middle for a two-yard touchdown.
Player of the Game: Kerrigan. On his first sack, the outside linebacker raced past right tackle Mitchell Schwartz and took down Hoyer. It appeared the right side of the Browns’ line didn’t react to the snap. On his second sack, Kerrigan overwhelmed Schwartz and dragged down Manziel before he could escape the pocket.
Injury Update: Tight end Niles Paul left the sideline in the third quarter to be evaluated for a hand injury. He returned to the sideline but there was no immediate word on his status. …Cornerback Tracy Porter, in his preseason debut, left the game in the second half with a hamstring pull. …Linebacker Rob Jackson suffered a shoulder injury in the second half. There was no immediate update on his status, either.
From the Locker Room: Check back later for quotes from both locker rooms and injury updates.