FINAL SCORE: Redskins 31 Browns 20
RB Matt Jones — When the Skins badly needed a running game, the second year pro was there. Jones finished with a career-high 22 carries for 117 yards and a rushing TD. Jones did his best work in the second half, particularly the fourth quarter, as you would want your bell cow back to do. Best of all: no fumbles.
C Spencer Long — Did you notice there were no penalties against the center position in week four? That’s a change from Kory Lichtensteiger and Long gets the credit in his first NFL start at center. He got good push in the running game, kept the interior pass rush off QB Kirk Cousins and not a single snap was out of place. I’ve been critical of Long during his NFL career, but he was solid — better than solid — in his debut at center.
TE Jordan Reed — Washington’s red zone woes disappeared as soon as they remembered they have a star tight end who spent 2015 destroying defenses in the red zone en route to 11 TD catches. Reed snagged two scores against the Browns on Sunday and finished with a game-high 9 receptions.
OLB Trent Murphy — The coaches tried to move him to the defensive line and the fans had mostly written him off as a major contributor. However, Murphy is clearly the team’s best front-7 defender this season and at times yesterday it looked like he was the only front-7 defender. Murphy leads the team in sacks and he got another one yesterday. He also notched five tackles, including two for a loss.
CB Josh Norman (2nd Half Only) — We saw that first half Josh Norman (see below) and we never want to see him again. Second half Josh Norman, on the other hand, was fantastic. Apart from limiting WR Terrelle Pryor to one catch for four yards in the second half, Norman’s brilliant fourth quarter deep in Cleveland territory led to a Redskins touchdown that sealed the win. Don’t know what to make of that “bow and arrow” celebration and penalty. I just know I don’t want to see it again — the celebration or the penalty.
CB Josh Norman (First Half Only) — Gave up 4 catches for 42 yards and a touchdown to Pryor before halftime. Sure, Pryor is a great athlete and a hell of a talent, but he’s new to the WR position and Norman is supposed to be a super-stud. Play well in both halves, big fella.
DEFENSIVE LINE — Was dominated by a mostly-mediocre Browns offensive line and missed far too many tackles. There was no pass rush and the entire line combined for a measly 10 tackles. That the D-line is bad doesn’t shock anyone. That it appears to be getting worse…? That’s not good.
INSIDE LINEBACKERS — It was a very bad game for ILB Mason Foster and Will Compton, who both notched their fair number of tackles, but nowhere near the line of scrimmage most of the time. What’s worse, there were a number of troubling missed tackles and, even more than that, too many plays where one or both players were just shoved out of the play by Cleveland blockers.
S DAVID BRUTON — How many missed tackles does this guy have in 2016? He looks terrible. I can see now why the Broncos were content to let him go and their defense has apparently not missed him at all. He might be even worse in pass coverage than he is as a run-stopper. Send this guy to the special teams unit immediately!
DC JOE BARRY — Probably should have spent more time on Tackling 101 in training camp.