LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Carson Wentz threw three interceptions after getting the starting quarterback job back, defensive miscues added up and the Washington Commanders ‘ playoff hopes took a major hit with a 24-10 loss Sunday to the Cleveland Browns.
Wentz was 16 of 28 for 143 yards, and the offense gained just 261 — 96 on Washington’s only touchdown drive — not exactly the spark coach Ron Rivera was hoping for when he made the QB change. Fans making up the sparse crowd booed and chanted early on for Taylor Heinicke multiple times after Wentz missed open receivers or lobbed the ball into the hands of a Cleveland defender.
They did not get their wish: Wentz remained in the game and struggled to move the ball beyond handing it to rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr., who rushed for 87 yards on 24 carries. The Commanders’ fourth-ranked defense allowed a handful of big plays, including a 46-yard pass from Deshaun Watson to Amari Cooper that became a touchdown when top cornerback Kendall Fuller missed an open-field tackle.
Watson also connected with Cooper on a 33-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter that sent fans to the exits. Washington (7-8-1) would be eliminated from playoff contention later Sunday if Green Bay beats Minnesota.
The Browns (7-9) were already out of the race in the AFC but made good on tight end David Njoku’s expectation they’d “give the Commanders hell.” Cooper had three catches for 105 yards, Nick Chubb ran 14 times for 104 yards and Watson finished 9 of 18 for 169 yards and the TD passes to Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones.
GONE TO THE HOGS
The “Hogs” who paved the way to Washington’s three Super Bowl titles were honored before the game, with Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs and others from the franchise’s glory days in attendance. The Commanders also unveiled their new mascot, a hog named “Major Tuddy.”
The team said he is “a muscular 6-foot-5, 230-pound male hog with exaggerated features that are anatomically similar to the animal, including a large belly, snout and cloven hooves.”
Browns: RT Jack Conklin left in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
Commanders: Pro Bowl DT Jonathan Allen went down with a knee injury in the second quarter and did not return. … CB Benjamin St-Juste and S Kam Curl were each inactive because of ankle injuries.
Browns: Visit the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday.
Commanders: Host the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday.