By Michael Bennett
Baker Mayfield threw a touchdown pass to end his only series and the Cleveland Browns powered to a 30-10 win over the Redskins.
While the Browns’ quarterback situation is finally settled, the Redskins’ is bot.
Case Keenum, in a three-way competition with Colt McCoy and rookie Dwayne Haskins, started and threw a 46-yard TD pass — thanks to a miscommunication by Cleveland’s defense — to receiver Robert Davis in the first quarter. He finished 4 of 9 for 60 yards.
McCoy was kept out, still recovering from surgery after breaking his right leg last season.
Haskins, who set numerous passing records during one season as Ohio State’s starter, completed a 27-yard pass on his first attempt. However, he badly underthrew a pass in the second quarter and was picked off by rookie linebacker Mack Wilson, who returned it 40 yards to give the Browns a 14-7 lead.
Haskins threw a second pick later in the half. He completed 8 of 14 passes for 117 yards.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden didn’t give any hints about his pecking order, but spoke mostly about Haskins, the team’s first-round pick.
“There were moments that he looked pretty good, but there were a couple throws he’d like to have back,” Gruden said. “Your first game in the NFL, not everything is going to go perfect.”
Mayfield picked up where he left off following his “dangerous” rookie season, firing a 24-yard TD pass to Rashard Higgins as the Browns went no-huddle and drove 89 yards in just 2:13 to open the game.
“That’s what they were supposed to do,” Browns first-year coach Freddie Kitchens said after his debut. “They’re supposed to get completions, big, chunk plays. And I thought we did a good job outside, inside, everywhere. It was a real nice first drive.”
They did it while Beckham, the Browns’ major offseason acquisition in a trade from the New York Giants, was kept on the sideline along with Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry by Kitchens.
“Yeah, I didn’t think it was worth the risk,” he said. “They’ve been trying to fight through a couple things, minor things, nothing to write home about, per se. But no reason (to play them). I mean, why?”
Mayfield didn’t need his top targets. He misfired on his first pass, but was otherwise flawless, going 5 of 6 for 77 yards and a perfect 158.3 rating before turning Cleveland’s offense over to backup Drew Stanton.
“It’s great,” Mayfield said. “I always say, next man up, and we have to have that mentality. Whoever is in there has got to have success and got to be able to play. And just having those guys out there and doing well that first drive means a lot.”