LANDOVER, Md. (AP/WJW) — Carson Wentz threw three interceptions after getting the starting quarterback job back, defensive miscues added up and the Washington Commanders ‘ playoff hopes took a major hit with a 24-10 loss Sunday to the Cleveland Browns.
Fans making up the sparse crowd booed and chanted early on for Taylor Heinicke multiple times after Wentz missed open receivers or lobbed the ball into the hands of a Cleveland defender.
They did not get their wish: Wentz remained in the game and struggled to move the ball beyond handing it to rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr., who rushed for 87 yards on 24 carries. The Commanders’ fourth-ranked defense allowed a handful of big plays, including a 46-yard pass from Deshaun Watson to Amari Cooper that became a touchdown when top cornerback Kendall Fuller missed an open-field tackle.
“Yeah, I thought we might (see Heinicke) just because he was available and the other quarterback was struggling a little bit, but they stuck with him,” said Browns safety Grant Delpit, who had two of the interceptions. “We had a good game plan for him, and it worked out.”
Watson also connected with Cooper on a 33-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter that sent fans to the exits. Washington (7-8-1) would be eliminated from playoff contention later Sunday if Green Bay beats Minnesota.
The Browns (7-9) were already out of the race in the AFC but made good on tight end David Njoku’s expectation they’d “give the Commanders hell.” Cooper had three catches for 105 yards, Nick Chubb ran 14 times for 104 yards and Watson finished 9 of 18 for 169 yards and the TD passes to Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones.
“That was definitely the potential of what the future can hold,” Watson said following the game.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski also weighed in on the future of the organization (aka Watson) based on Sunday’s football game
“He’s getting back into playing football,” he said. “I think all of these games really go a long way toward his progression.”
Browns: RT Jack Conklin left in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
Browns: Visit the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday.