With starting quarterback Robert Griffin III held out of the lineup, it seemed reasonable that the offense may struggle to replicate recent success with backup Kirk Cousins.
But after opening the game one-for-six, with four yards, and interception and a sack, Cousins came alive, throwing 25-for-31 for 325 yards and two passing touchdowns.
Cousins was helped by strong rushing and receiving performances by his teammates on offense, and led the team on six scoring drives.
His first touchdown of the day came on the Redskins' fifth possession, when Cousins went through his full progression and found Leonard Hankerson behind three defensive backs more than 30 yards downfield:
After adding a field goal for the lead, the Redskins went into halftime trailing by four after yielding a Trent Richardson touchdown.
After kicking off to start the second half, the Redskins' defense got the ball back on a Rob Jackson interception returned to the 15-yard line.
Cousins found receiver Joshua Morgan on first down, moving the ball ahead to the 3-yard line for 1st-and-goal. Two plays later, Cousins handed off to Morris, who plunged ahead for the go-ahead score:
A defensive stand on the ensuing possession got the ball back to the Redskins at the Washington 40-yard line.
Displaying a new level of confidence, Cousins picked apart the Browns' secondary, hitting Santana Moss for 17- and 20-yard gains. Morris did the rest of the dirty work, gaining 21 total yards and setting the offense up with 3rd-and-2 from the 2-yard line.
It was then that the Redskins used the roll out, faking the handoff to Morris and throwing to Hankerson, who was totally uncovered in the flats:
Having outscored the Browns 14-0 in the third quarter, the Redskins had a commanding 24-14 lead that they looked to extend in the fourth quarter.
Cousins led the offense on 10-play drive that milked 4:38 off the clock and ended with backup running back Evan Royster plunging ahead off left tackle for four yards and the game-clinching score:
What had begun as a defensive struggle had morphed into a blowout, as the Redskins could now score at will.
But the 17-point lead didn't last long, as the Browns needed just three plays to find the end zone, pulling the game back to within two scores.
With 10:05 remaining in the game, the Redskins needed to score and take time off the clock. Cousins and Morris set their sights on the end zone, taking over at the Washington 24-yard line.
On first down, Cousins found Morgan over the middle for a 32-yard gain to get the team across midfield. This was Morgan's longest reception as a member of the Redskins, and his longest since Week 10 of the 2010 season, as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
Morris did the rest, gaining 17 yards on the drive, including an eight-yard plunge up the middle for his second touchdown of the day: