By Harvey Hoffman and the Associated Press
Baker Mayfield threw two touchdown passes, Nick Chubb ran for two more and the Cleveland Browns moved over .500 for the first time since 2014 with a 34-20 win over the Washington Football Team, which lost rookie defensive end Chase Young to a groin injury.
With their second straight win under first-year coach Kevin Stefanski, the Browns are 2-1 for the first time since 2011.
It’s also the first time they’ve had a winning record since Week 14 in 2014, when they were 7-6 before dropping their last three and costing Mike Pettine his job.
Stefanski downplayed the significance of Cleveland’s solid start.
“We’re just trying to get to 1-0 every week,” he said.
Young, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, left in the second quarter with his injury. The former Ohio State All-American had an early pressure on Mayfield, but otherwise had little impact before he went out.
Washington coach Ron Rivera didn’t have a specific update on Young, who will receive more treatment and evaluation tomorrow. Young joined his teammates on the sideline in the second half and was animated while cheering them on.
Led by Garrett, the Browns’ defense, which spent the week hearing about Young and Washington’s sack-hungry front, intercepted Dwayne Haskins three times and forced two fumbles.
Garrett’s strip sack and recovery midway through the fourth effectively sealed Cleveland’s win.
Mayfield’s 3-yard TD pass to rookie tight end Harrison Bryant with 11:14 left helped the Browns shake off a horrid third quarter, when Washington (1-2) scored two TDs to take the lead.
Chubb then scored on a 20-yard run with 8:40 left to make it 31-20, the TD coming after linebacker B.J. Goodson intercepted Haskins at the Washington 35.
Chubb finished with 108 yards on 19 carries.
Haskins threw two TD passes to Dontrelle Inman, but the second-year QB continued to make mental errors and his two picks before halftime helped Cleveland open a 17-7 lead.
“My teammates did a great job trying to keep my head up knowing there were plays I wish I could have back,” Haskins said. “I’m going to make sure I’m better and take the blame for what I did and get better from it.”
Young came into the game tied for the league lead with 2 1/2 sacks, and the Browns spent the week scheming ways to slow him down.
Without Young, Washington’s defensive front lost some of its teeth and the Browns took advantage.
Mayfield’s 9-yard TD pass to Hunt in the final minute of the first half was set up by linebacker Malcolm Smith’s interception.
Down by 10, Washington’s defense turned it up without Young in the third quarter, and a TD run by Antonio Gibson and Haskins’ second scoring connection to Inman put Washington ahead 20-17.
Chubb’s 16-yard TD in the second quarter came on one of the “dirty runs” that Stefanski talked about earlier in the week.
Taking a handoff and going right, Chubb cut back, made one Washington defender miss badly, ran out of another tackle and then powered his way over the final 5 yards to make it 10-7 in the second quarter.