Say it. The Washington Redskins are 8-6. They have improbably won five straight games and now share a portion of the lead for the NFC East with the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys. The Redskins currently own the tiebreakers over both those teams.
Here’s how it happened: Shaking off a halting start, the Washington Redskins scored 21 unanswered points behind the passing of Kirk Cousins to overcome what had been a four point halftime deficit to defeat the home standing Cleveland Browns 38-21 on rather-balmy-for-Cleveland 59 degree afternoon.
The Washington second string rookie was extremely composed and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan was masterful in directing him, as Cousins went 26 of 37 for 329 yards and 2 touchdowns, both to third year receiver Leonard Hankerson, although eight Redskin receivers caught passes on the afternoon.
It was clear from the beginning of the contest that the Browns defensive strategy centered around slowing the league leading running attack of Washington and featured running back Alfred Morris. The Redskins were quick to modify their offensive game plan in response, as the Browns seemingly dared them to beat them through the air. The Skins went to using play action formations that got Cousins rolling out of the pocket, and were highly successful using plays of that type. Morris went for 87 yards and two scores despite the increased defensive attention.
The opportunistic Redskin defense played a key role as well, coming up with two key interceptions, one each to linebackers Rob Jackson and London Fletcher. The defense was especially stout against the run , holding first round draft pick Trent Richardson to a modest 28 yards rushing on the day, although the promising rookie was good for two tough rushing touchdowns.