Cleveland Browns Win Preseason Opener 30-10 Over Washington Redskins

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The Cleveland Browns took control of their preseason opener Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium on the first possession of the game and never looked back. The Browns cruised past the Washington Redskins 30-10.

Baker Mayfield played the opening series of the game and that’s it. Mayfield drove the offense right down the field and scored a touchdown. Baker finished five of six for 77-yards and a touchdown pass to Rashard ‘Hollywood’ Higgins.

The Browns took the football to start the game and did something unexpected. They ran the two-minute drill. It made sense, get Mayfield in there and out as quick as possible.

“I thought it was a good drive. We did not have a third down,” head coach Freddie Kitchens said. “We were working our two-minute offense. They are supposed to get completions and big chunk plays. When we hand the ball off, we are supposed to block for (RB) Nick (Chubb). I thought we did a good job outside, inside and everywhere.  It was a really nice first drive.”

What also made the opening drive touchdown important? Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry did not not play.

“It is great. We have to have guys,” Mayfield said. “We always say ‘next man up.’ We have to have that mentality. Whoever is in there has to have success and have to be able to play. Just having those guys out there and doing well that first drive, means a lot. We will go back and watch the tape. We weren’t perfect at all, but a lot of things to work on but a lot of good things that happened today.”

“The plan was to go to our two-minute offense,” Higgins said. “I don’t know if it was to try and catch those guys off guard, but we wanted to do the two-minute offense to see how we would do. We did a hell of a job tonight.”

Two members of the Browns draft class of 2019 shined in their NFL debut. Cornerback Greedy Williams recorded his first interception and was in on several tackles.

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“I was nervous a little bit to start,” Williams said. “As it got going, I started playing like I am supposed to play, and it was a great experience.”

Linebacker Mack Wilson recorded two interceptions, the first one he took back to the endzone for a touchdown. A pick six in your first game leaves quite a first impression on Browns fans.

“I caught the ball and saw a little traffic, but honestly, it felt like my interception from the Clemson game,” Wilson said. “I caught it and the quarterback was coming for me so I tried to stiff arm him and then I got tackled into the end zone.”

The feel good moment took place in the fourth quarter. Rookie kick returner Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi took a punt back 86-yards for a touchdown. Sheehy-Guiseppi received in invite to camp after reaching out to the Browns coaching staff.

“Throughout the week, he said you’re going to get a chance to return no matter what in the game,” Sheehy-Guiseppi said.  “I didn’t know when it was going to be, but then it was the fourth quarter and he said, ‘You’ve got the next punt return.’  I was like, ‘Alright, it’s my turn, and I was just excited.”

Browns teammates mobbed Sheehy-Guiseppi in the endzone in front of the ‘Dawg Pound’

“I felt all the love,” Sheehy-Guiseppi said.  “Couldn’t breathe under the pile.  I was over there gasping for air, but I felt all the love.  I saw all of them come running down there [to the end zone] and it was just a blessing.”

“It is good to see good people, hard-working good people succeed,” Kitchens said. “He definitely fits the bill with being that. If you stick around after any practice, you will see him on the practice field getting extra running in and before practice getting extra work in. He is always at the office. He is a good kid.”

It wasn’t a perfect performance. The kicking game is still a concern. Greg Joseph missed the extra point following the punt return touchdown.

“I do not know yet about the hold,” Kitchens said. “I just know it did not go through the uprights, and I am looking for them to go through the uprights. Do not want any excuses. I just want the ball through the uprights.”

The only Redskins touchdown came on a miscommunication in the first quarter. Williams thought that fellow rookie Sheldrick Redwine was deep in coverage. Redwine was also near the line of scrimmage. Those are mistakes that can’t happen once the regular season is here.

Dontrell Hilliard saw a lot of snaps as the second string running back following the trade of Duke Johnson to the Houston Texans earlier in the day. Hilliard did not help his case to be Chubb’s backup while Kareem Hunt is suspended. A fumble at the goal line cost the Browns six points.

“I would not push the panic button on Dontrell yet,” Kitchens said. “I do like him to fill that role. Sure do.”

The Browns next two preseason games are on the road. Cleveland will take on the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, August 17. The Browns leave for Indianapolis on Tuesday and will hold joint practice with the Colts next week leading up to preseason game number two.

Scott Piker is the Cleveland BrownsCleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Indians Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage.com. So follow him on twitter @ScottPikerSport

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