A win over the Washington Football Team generally isn’t noteworthy.
But for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, a 34-20 victory signaled the end of a mark of futility.
Cleveland improved to 2-1, the first time the franchise has posted a winning record since 2014 — a span of 90 weeks. The Browns started that season 7-6 before dropping their last three games for a last-place finish in the AFC North.
Since then, Cleveland has failed to win more than seven games in a season amid a five-year stretch that includes a 1-15 and 0-16 finish. So 2-1 is something worth celebrating — even it those victories arrived against a rebuilding Washington team and a Cincinnati Bengals squad led by a rookie quarterback.
Browns bounce back after ugly Week 1
Sunday’s win also marks the first 2-1 start for the Browns since 2011. After a 38-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1, things are looking considerably brighter in Cleveland under first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski.
Defense steps up late to secure win
The Browns took a 17-7 halftime lead but needed some big late plays from their defense to secure the win. Washington scored a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 20-17 lead into the final stanza.
Browns linebacker B.J. Goodson intercepted Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins in the fourth quarter, and pass rusher Myles Garrett forced a Haskins fumble on the next possession to set up Cleveland scores as the Browns tallied the final 17 points of the game.
Cleveland’s defense gave Haskins fits all game, forcing three interceptions in addition to the lost fumble. Haskins finished completing 21-of-37 passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns and the three interceptions.
Nick Chubb ends an even longer Browns drought
On offense, running back Nick Chubb starred again, carrying the ball 19 times for 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The performance marked the first time since 1967 that a Browns player rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns in consecutive games. He did the same last week against the Bengals as the star of Stefanski’s run-first offense.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield was effective when he passed, connecting on 16-of-23 passes for 156 yards with a pair of touchdowns with no turnovers. Odell Beckham Jr. led the team with four catches for 59 yards.
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