Redskins find themselves in playoff contention
It’s Monday morning and I’m at the airport, which must mean it’s time for our weekly look back at Friday’s preview. So how did those keys play out at Cleveland Browns Stadium? Let’s take a look:
1-The big question all week was whether Robert Griffin III would face the Browns or if Kirk Cousins would get his first career NFL start. Cousins, of course, was named the starter Saturday evening and the rookie performed quite solidly in the Redskins’ 38-21 victory.
After the game, there were few clues about Griffin’s status for next week’s game in Philadelphia. RG3 did, however, go through a rather rigorous workout before Sunday’s game under the watchful eye of the team’s trainers and GM Bruce Allen. From all appearances, Griffin’s right knee sprain has continued to improve.
But will it allow the star rookie to suit up a week from now? Did Cousins’ steady performance alter the team’s timeline for Griffin's return? Stay tuned.
“He wanted to play,” Coach Mike Shananan said. “He felt that he was ready to play. There was a lot of speculation, but at the end of the day, the doctor said he wasn’t ready to play.”
Griffin was not happy with the decision, saying: “I feel like I could play this week, next week, the week after that.”
2-Shanahan said the Redskins needed to prevent the Browns from flipping the field via punt and kick returns.
And they did prevent Josh Cribbs from breaking off a game-changing return. One of the league's top returners, Cribbs was limited to a combined 15 yards on two punt returns (three fair catches) and 191 yards on seven kickoff returns (27.3 per average).
While that sounds like a lot of return yardage, Cribbs’ longest was 32 yards to the Browns’ 32 in the third quarter. Cleveland’s subsequent drive stalled when Brandon Weeden’s fourth down pass attempt fell incomplete.
3-Running back Alfred Morris did not extend his streak of 100-plus yard performances to four straight games. But the rookie did bounce back from a first half in which he was limited to 18 yards on nine carries.
Morris finished strong, gaining 69 yards and scoring twice in the second half. And with 1,322 yards, he now owns the seventh best rushing season in franchise history.
4-Kai Forbath will have to wait for his next chance at setting an NFL record for perfection. The first-year kicker connected from 44 yards out on his only field goal attempt of the game. With one more field goal, Forbath (15 for 15) will tie Garrett Hartley for the most consecutive kicks to start an NFL career.
5-Despite Griffin’s absence, the Redskins’ high-octane offense had another big day. The unit has now scored 38 or more points four times and topped 30 points seven times – the most since 1991. Washington’s primary area of struggle was on third downs in the first half, when the offense converted only one of seven opportunities. In the second half, though, Cousins and Co. converted 6 of 8 third downs.