The performance was impressive for a variety of reasons, but there are also a few areas the Browns will have to work on over the next three weeks of the preseason.
The next preseason contest for Cleveland is scheduled for Aug. 17 against the Colts.
Baker Mayfield is a Very Good Quarterback
We’ll start with the obvious: Baker Mayfield is an elite quarterback talent. In his one series, Mayfield was 5 for 6 for 77 yards and a touchdown. He missed his first throw and never missed again.
The touchdown strike into the hands of Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins concluded an 89-yard drive that looked oh-so-easy for Mayfield and Co.
In just 13 starts, Mayfield passed for a rookie record 27 touchdowns last season. The former Oklahoma Heisman winner also collected 3,725 passing yards and helped the Browns finish 7-8-1, winning five of their final seven games.
The Browns offense looked very impressive — and that was with star wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry and pass-catching tight end David Njoku all on the sideline.
Mayfield finished with a QB rating of 158.3 — that’s perfect for those keeping score at home. Higgins was the team’s leading receiver in the game, collecting five catches for 98 yards and the touchdown.
Dontrell Hilliard Has Uneven Outing Following Duke Johnson Trade
The news broke before the Browns took the field that disgruntled running back Duke Johnson was being traded to the Houston Texans for a conditional 2020 draft pick.
Johnson joined the Browns as a third-round pick in 2015 and earned a reputation as one of the league’s most talented third-down backs. He appeared in 64 games with 10 starts. He registered 1,286 rushing yards and 2,170 receiving yards on 235 receptions with 13 total touchdowns.
Hilliard was picked up by the Browns as an undrafted free agent last offseason out of Tulane and spent the first month of the season on the practice squad. After being elevated to the active roster, he appeared in 11 game but did not receive a carry. However, he did catch nine balls for 105 yards. He didn’t have the best start against the Redskins.
Hilliard fumbled on a carry at the 1-yard line and also had a holding call that cost the team a possible field goal before half. He finished with nine carries for 19 yards. Hilliard caught three balls for 34 yards, but is was mostly an uneven night for the back.
If Hilliard continues to struggle, it could force Browns general manager John Dorsey to swing a deal for a veteran to fill the eight-game backup role before Hunt returns.
D’Ernest Johnson led the Browns on the ground with 23 yards on five carries.
Browns Excelled in Every Phase of the Game
Head coaches preach excelling in all three phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams. The Browns did just that in their preseason debut.
Freddie Kitchens was finally able to crack a smile in the fourth quarter when he watched Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi score on a wild 86-yard punt return.
The Browns also recorded a trio of interceptions — all three coming from rookie.
Greedy Williams snagged on before half and linebacker Mack Wilson had a pair, returning one to the house.
In all, the Browns shredded the Redskins with 417 yards of total offense (327 passing, 90 rushing).