Dating back to last season, Washington Football Team Quarterback Dwayne Haskins had not thrown an interception in the previous four games before entering a Week 3 matchup against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 27.
However, Haskins threw three picks and put the ball on the ground twice, including losing possession of one fumble in the second half, allowing Cleveland (2-1) to capitalize on those mistakes and close the door earning a 34-20 win over the Burgundy and Gold.
Turnovers and questionable throws by Haskins into double-coverage was the story of the game which put Washington in a hole despite going up 7-0 late in the first quarter after Haskins threw a 17-yard dart to Dontrelle Inman for a score.
“In spite of the bad, I thought I had some good stuff to work off and improve on,” Haskins said. “I want to keep getting better for myself and for my teammates. I feel like I tried to do too much.”
However, after Cleveland Browns kicker Cody Parkey knocked down a 42-yard field goal on the ensuing drive, the flood gates opened up.
The Browns scored 10 more unanswered points by way of a 16-yard touchdown run by Nick Chubb and a nine-yard touchdown pass from Baker Mayfield to Kareem Hunt, both coming off of two Haskins’ interceptions.
Heading into the locker room down by a 10-point deficit, Washington attempted to exact another comeback this season.
Despite turning the ball over three times, Haskins threw for 224 yards and led back-to-back scoring possessions after the Washington defense forced two three-and-out drives.
“He did some good things . . . he tried to force a couple of things,” said Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera of Haskins’ performance. “It is unfortunate because a couple of times we were moving. It is a part of the process and we are learning and we’re trying to learn how to play and not make these kinds of mistakes.”
First, rookie running back Antonio Gibson sliced his way into the end zone for a two-yard touchdown (PAT missed) with more than nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Then Haskins hit Inman for his second touchdown grab of the contest toward the end of the third quarter.
The tale of two halves swung in Washington’s favor having a three-point advantage at the start of the fourth quarter. However, it was short-lived as Haskins threw his second interception of the day with more than 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Mayfield (156 yards) threw his second touchdown of the match to tight end Harrison Bryant the following possession to regain the lead.
The turnover party continued three plays later when Haskins threw an errant pass to Cleveland Browns linebacker B.J. Goodson. After a 20-yard scamper for a score down the left sideline by Chubb, Haskins struggled again.
“That is one thing that we can’t do is turn the ball over and expect to win,” Rivera said. “You’re not going to win football games if you don’t win the takeaway battle, and I believe in that.”
The second-year quarterback coughed the ball up the next possession to give up 24 points on turnovers on the day after another Parkey field goal to seal Washington’s fate.
“This is a young team that’s learning, growing. We’re gonna make mistakes and we’re going to learn and grow with them,” Rivera said.
Washington (1-2) only converted on third down 45 percent of the time as a team, barely rushed for more than 100 yards and had six total turnovers. The Browns rolled to its second victory of the season and marked the first time Cleveland has scored 30 or more points in two consecutive games since 2010.
Washington will welcome cross region rival Baltimore Ravens to town on Sunday.