Browns cough up game to Redskins

The Cleveland Browns keep improving, and there’s plenty to like as we see this young team fight hard every week.

But they also keep making mistakes and giving away opportunities to win games. Coupled with some brutal officiating that seems to go against them each week, and you have games like today.

The Browns were poised to extend their lead over the Redskins when Hue Jackson decided to hand off to fullback Malcolm Johnson on first down at the Redskins’ 16-yard line with a 20-17 lead. Johnson fumbled and then everything changed. The Redskins got their second cheap pass interference call for a long gain on their way to the go-ahead touchdown.

The Browns get the ball back, and now Duke Johnson fumbles. But Johnson said he got the ball back. Did he? Did the refs call it too soon? Who knows, but that play was another in the string of turnovers in the second half.

Cody Kessler had a very nice game, but then he threw an interception over the middle as he probably threw a split-second too late to Terrelle Pryor over the middle.

But even with this painful ending, the Browns played well after falling behind 14-0, and we saw some great things from Kessler, Pryor and Isaiah Crowell, who suddenly looks like one of the best backs in the NFL. He’s taken to Hue Jackson’s power running scheme, and the Browns suddenly have a real running game.

Kessler also showed some serious accuracy and consistently completed passes to convert third downs. We’ll see over time if he can start completing passes downfield, but so far he’s at least demonstrating poise in the pocket and excellent accuracy. And, for the hundredth time, we’re seeing that you can’t solely rely on a few preseason games to evaluate a player, particularly a quarterback.

AS I’ve said before, this year is about developing young players. So far so good . . .

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