NFL Preseason Week 1 Game Recap: Washington Commanders 17, Cleveland Browns 15

2RGWAGW Cleveland Browns quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is tackled by the Washington Commanders during the second half of a preseason NFL football game on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

After a long weather delay, the Cleveland Browns played their second game of this NFL preseason after coming away with a win in the Hall of Fame Game last week, they fell to the Washington Commanders in Game 2.

There is intrigue at the quarterback position in this one for both teams, as the Commanders have yet to name a Week 1 starter while Deshaun Watson will look to bounce back after a poor showing in his first season with the Browns in 2022.

 


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Offensive spotlight: Quarterback Sam Howell started and led three offensive drives into the second quarter with the rest of the Washington starters. Howell picked up a third-and-6 with his legs on the first drive, showing off his scrambling ability just that once in this game. He went on to throw for 77 yards on 9 for-12 passing, which included a 26-yard touchdown pass to second-year wide receiver Jahan Dotson, who made a nice adjustment on a high throw to reel the pass in, make two Browns’ defenders miss and walk into the end zone. 

Deshaun Watson played only the opening drive and had a solid start, despite that drive ending with a couple of stuffed runs at the goal line for a turnover on downs. Watson hit the few short throws he had to going 3-for-3 and 12 yards passing. The main positive for Watson is that he looked smooth running the ball with a couple of nice scrambles that totaled 17 yards – one of which converted a key third down. He added one more designed run to bring his rushing total up to 20 yards – a pace that would put him well ahead of what his season average was in 2022 (4.5 attempts, 29.2 yards).

Defensive spotlight: Jim Schwartz’s first game as the Browns’ defensive coordinator was without Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome II and Grant Delpit. The defense got off to a strong start through the first two drives with new defensive end Za’Darius Smith drawing an offensive holding penalty in the end zone that led to a safety, which ended up being the Browns' only score of the first half.

Rookie spotlight: Fifth-round rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson continued his hot start to the preseason after earning a 79.8 passing grade during the Hall of Fame Game, he came back with another encouraging performance in this one. Thompson-Robinson went 9-for-10 for 102 yards and a touchdown, earning an impressive 142.5 passer rating.

Offensive line spotlight: The Commanders were without potential starting left guard Saahdiq Charles in this game, which opened up a spot for 2022 seventh-round pick Chris Paul to get reps with the starters. Paul played the first three drives and held his own in pass protection, allowing just one pressure (unofficial) and earning a 74.9 pass-blocking grade (unofficial) on 16 pass-protection snaps, per PFF's initial review.


Box Score

Passing
Washington Commanders
Player Fantasy Comp/Att Yds YPA TD Int
Jacoby Brissett 9.6 6 / 10 75 7.5 0 1
Sam Howell 7.88 9 / 12 77 6.4 1 0
Jake Fromm 0.14 5 / 7 26 3.7 0 1
Cleveland Browns
Player Fantasy Comp/Att Yds YPA TD Int
Dorian Thompson-Robinson 9.18 9 / 10 102 10.2 1 0
Kellen Mond 8.76 7 / 12 79 6.6 1 0
Joshua Dobbs 3.18 8 / 16 77 4.8 0 1
Deshaun Watson 2.48 3 / 3 12 4 0 0
Rushing
Washington Commanders
Player Fantasy Car Yds YPC TD Long
Jacoby Brissett 9.6 2 16 8 1 12
Sam Howell 7.88 1 8 8 0 8
Derrick Gore 5.2 4 8 2 0 7
Antonio Gibson 4 2 7 3.5 0 7
Chris Rodriguez Jr. 3.9 5 39 7.8 0 12
Brian Robinson 2.4 3 16 5.3 0 11
Jaret Patterson 1.6 6 16 2.7 0 7
Jake Fromm 0.14 4 1 0.2 0 4
Cleveland Browns
Player Fantasy Car Yds YPC TD Long
Dorian Thompson-Robinson 9.18 3 11 3.7 0 5
Kellen Mond 8.76 3 16 5.3 0 9
Elijah Moore 3.4 1 18 18 0 18
Joshua Dobbs 3.18 3 11 3.7 0 8
Demetric Felton Jr. 3.1 8 31 3.9 0 10
Deshaun Watson 2.48 3 20 6.7 0 9
John Kelly Jr. 1.9 6 6 1 0 9
Hassan Hall 0.7 3 4 1.3 0 3
Receiving
Washington Commanders
Player Fantasy Tgt Rec Yds YPT TD
Jahan Dotson 11 2 2 30 15 1
Cole Turner 7.1 4 4 31 7.8 0
Derrick Gore 5.2 4 4 4 1 0
Byron Pringle 4.2 2 1 32 16 0
Antonio Gibson 4 3 2 13 4.3 0
Mitchell Tinsley 3.6 1 1 26 26 0
Dyami Brown 2.4 2 1 14 7 0
Brian Robinson 2.4 1 1 -2 -2 0
Dax Milne 2.3 1 1 13 13 0
Curtis Samuel 2 2 1 10 5 0
Terry McLaurin 1.7 1 1 7 7 0
Kazmeir Allen 1 1 1 0 0 0
Marcus Kemp 0 2 0 0 0 0
Curtis Hodges 0 1 0 0 0 0
Cleveland Browns
Player Fantasy Tgt Rec Yds YPT TD
Austin Watkins Jr. 13.1 8 6 71 8.9 0
David Bell 12.3 4 3 33 8.2 1
Miller Forristall 10.6 4 4 66 16.5 0
Mike Harley Jr. 9 3 1 20 6.7 1
Zaire Mitchell-Paden 6.9 4 3 39 9.8 0
Thomas Greaney 4.6 4 3 16 4 0
Elijah Moore 3.4 1 1 6 6 0
Cedric Tillman 2.7 4 2 7 1.8 0
John Kelly Jr. 1.9 1 1 3 3 0
Jordan Akins 1.5 1 1 5 5 0
David Njoku 1.1 1 1 1 1 0
Hassan Hall 0.7 1 1 3 3 0
Anthony Schwartz 0 3 0 0 0 0
Jalen Wayne 0 1 0 0 0 0

 

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