The Washington Redskins' first-team offense got its first test of the 2015 season Thursday vs. the Browns, netting a field goal. Here's how each drive went for Washington.
Fourth-year quarterback Robert Griffin III and the first-team offense took the field at their own 20 after receiving the opening kickoff, which was downed in the end zone by Andre Roberts.
The Redskins faced a 3rd and 5 after two Alfred Morris runs, giving Griffin III his first passing opportunity of the night, and he cashed in. Griffin III found second-year wide receiver Ryan Grant, who began the game in a two-wide receiver set opposite Pierre Garçon, on the right sideline for a nine-yard gain.
One five-yard rush by Morris later and the Redskins faced a 2nd and 5 from their 39. Griffin III dropped back to pass and had strong protection on the play, especially from the young right side of the line consisting of second-year right tackle Morgan Moses and rookie right guard Brandon Scherff, and launched a pass deep for Garçon, who was wide open.
Garçon dropped the pass around the 15-yard line, however, giving away a prime early scoring opportunity.
One incomplete pass later, and Washington was forced to punt on its opening drive.
After the Browns struck first on their initial drive – resulting in a two-yard touchdown pass – the Griffin III and the Redskins' first-team offense took the field for their second drive of the game at their 20-yard line.
Washington began the drive in a two tight end set, putting tight end Je'Ron Hamm on the field for his first-ever NFL action, opposite starter Niles Paul.
Morris once again got the initial carry on first down, this time for three yards, setting up a 2nd and 7. Griffin III on a quick three-step drop immediately found Grant once again for five yards along the right sideline. The Redskins went three-receivers on 3rd and 2 – Garçon, Roberts and Grant – and Griffin III took off for his first carry of the preseason, getting just enough for the first down.
That's certainly a good sign for Griffin III, who missed seven weeks last season with a dislocated ankle.
The play of the drive came two plays later, when Griffin III found that guy again, Grant, to the left for a 22-yard pass-and-catch. But the wind was taken out of the sails two plays later on a four-yard run by Chris Thompson – his first of the night – when Paul got tangled up with a Browns defender, his left ankle rolled up in the play.
Paul is unquestionably one of the Redskins' key leaders – not just on offense, but in the entire locker room. The Redskins were already thin at the tight end position, with Jordan Reed battling a sore hamstring and with Logan Paulsen likely going to miss significant time with a big toe injury. The remaining tight ends on the roster are all very young and inexperienced: Hamm (a converted wide receiver), Chase Dixon and rookie Devin Mahina.
The Redskins rebounded with a Morris 18-yard run to the Cleveland 18, but would stall from there after two fades to the left corner of the end zone fell incomplete.
Washington sent kicker Kai Forbath out to attempt a 33-yard field goal, which was good, cutting the Cleveland lead to 7-3 with 30 seconds left in the first quarter.
The scoring drive: 13 plays, 66 yards, 6:31 off the clock.
- First downs: 4
- Total yards: 85
- Turnovers: 0
- Time of possession: 9:12
- Third downs: 2-for-5
- Total plays: 18
- Average gain per play: 4.7 yards
- Griffin III completed 4-of-8 passes for 36 yards (62.5 quarterback rating).
- Morris ran the ball eight times for 42 yards (5.3 yards per attempt); long of 18 yards
- Thompson had one rushing attempt for four yards
- Griffin III had one rushing attempt for three yards
- Grant had three catches for 36 yards (12 yards per catch); long of 22 yards
- Fullback Darrel Young had one reception for no gain
- Garçon was targeted three times with no receptions.