Redskins find themselves in playoff contention
Grade vs. Browns: A
Comment: Even with Robert Griffin III watching from the sidelines at Cleveland Browns Stadium, Kyle Shanahan’s unit managed to put up 38 points against a team that had yielded an average of 12.6 points in each of its previous three games, all wins.
And they did it despite slow starts by rookies Kirk Cousins and Alfred Morris. Cousins, making his first NFL start, tossed an interception on his third pass attempt, while Morris rushed for only 18 yards on his first nine attempts.
Both, however, recovered in a big way.
Cousins directed the Redskins to 21 straight points in the third and fourth quarters. Two of those touchdowns were scored by Morris, who set the franchise record for rushing touchdowns by a rookie (9). Underscoring the second half surge was this statistic: the unit converted 6 of 8 third downs after converting only 1 of 7 in the first half. The 308 passing yards were the second most this season and the point total marked the seventh time the unit has topped 30 points.
The major storyline, however, were the injuries to offensive linemen Tyler Polumbus (concussion) and Will Montgomery (sprained left knee). Coach Mike Shanahan said Polumbus is subject to the NFL concussion protocol but disclosed no other updates on the right tackle's condition. Meanwhile, sources have indicated that it’s possible for Montgomery to play through his MCL injury. Both situations, however, bear watching, particularly after reserve tackle Jordan Black was suspended Tuesday for using performance enhancing drugs.
Griffin and Morris are a big reason the Redskins lead the NFL in rushing yards. Another reason for those 2,307 yards is the team’s overachieving line, which has had the same starting lineup all season.
"Obviously we’d like to keep that continuity intact if we can," Shanahan said Monday. "We will just have to wait and see.”
Griffin, meantime, can begin practicing when he receives clearance from doctors, Shanahan said.