AFC North: 2012 Week 15 Wrap-ups
December, 16, 2012
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
My thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 38-21 loss to the Washington Redskins:
What it means: The Browns' faint playoff hopes ended along with their three-game win streak. This drops the Browns to 5-9 and clinches their 12th losing season in 14 years since returning to the league. The 38 points were the second most allowed by Cleveland this season (the Browns gave up 41 points to the Giants). The Redskins (8-6) won their fifth straight game to move into a tie for first place in the NFC East.
No RG III, no problem: The Browns thought they had caught a break when Robert Griffin III was ruled out with a knee injury. But Cleveland couldn't stop a rookie fourth-round quarterback making his first start. Kirk Cousins completed 26 of 37 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns, looking quite comfortable throwing off rollouts. This is a Browns defense that had allowed four offensive touchdowns during the three-game winning streak.
Weeden again struggles at home: For some reason, quarterback Brandon Weeden has played poorly at Cleveland Browns Stadium and that trend continued Sunday. Weeden was 21-of-35 for 244 yards with two interceptions and four deflected passes. The game turned when Weeden was intercepted on the second play of the second half. After the interception was returned to the Browns' 15-yard line, the Redskins needed three plays to get into the end zone -- on an Alfred Morris 3-yard run -- to go ahead 17-14.
Mixed day for Richardson: Rookie running back Trent Richardson scored two touchdowns, including one in which he carried most of the Redskins defense into the end zone. He now has 11 rushing touchdowns this season, which surpassed Jim Brown for a new Browns rookie record. Brown reached his mark in 12 games while Richardson needed 14. Outside of the scores, Richardson was held in check. He finished with 28 yards on 11 carries.
What's next: The Browns play their last two games of the season on the road, starting with a trip to Denver (11-3). The Broncos have won nine straight.