Washington and Cleveland couldn't match the excitement delivered tonight by a deafening halftime fireworks display at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. The clubs produced an exhibition game that had the impact of a damp cherry bomb.
The Redskins got the biggest bang bywinning, 12-3, on four Mark Moseley field goals. The mistake-plagued Browns gave Washington enough scoring opportunities to run up a huge victory margin, but they squandered the opportunity when their offense bogged down continuously, especially in the second half.
Cleveland, which now has scored one field goal in its first two exhibition games, lost five fumbles and threw threeinterceptions.
Six of the first eight times the Browns had possession in the second half they surrendered it to the Redskins, including twice inside their 30.
Moseley kicked field goals on both ofthose occasions and added a third one late in the fourth period to go along with an opening-quarter success.
His kicks of 21, 32, 28 and 39 yards gave him five in the 2-0 preseason.
Some of Washington's offensive difficulties can be traced to its leberal use of reserves after halftime. But those same reserves moved the ball smartly in the opening exhibition, a 13-3 victory against Baltimore.They were lackluster in this one.
The Redskins need to cut their 68-player roster to 60 Tuesday and that probably won't be much of a chore after Coach Jack Pardee grades the films of this game. He will see littleon offense but penalties, missed assignments and inconsistent blocking and running.
He also will witness a decent performance by his defense, which hit far too hard for the Brown's liking.
Rookie linebacker Kevin Turner recovered two fumbles, while cornerback Ray Waddy, linebacker Dallas Hickmanand rookie fullback Ricky Claitt picked up one each. Safety Mike Nelms and linebackers Monte Coleman and Pete Wysocki each had an interception.
Toss in four pass deflections and three sacks -- by Karl Lorch, rookie Chris Godfrey and rookie Mat Mendenhall -- and Cleveland had its hands full, much to the dismay of 54,986 fans who couldn't believe the ineptness of the home club, which had lost its exhibition opener to Kansas City, 42-0.
Joe Theismann, playing the first twoquarters at quarterback, got off to a quick start by moving the team to the Cleveland 10 on the strength of a 16-yard run by Buddy Hardeman and fourcompletions that totaled another 34.
But that's when the Redskins should have realized it wasn't going to be an artistic night. On first down, Hardeman ran out of his shoe and was stopped for no gain. On second down Bobby Hammond fumbled the ball with no one around him and lost two yards. Moseley came on and kicked a 21-yarder for a 3-0 load.
Cleveland soon joined the mistake parade. The Browns traveled to the Redskin four, due in part to the fine outside running of No. 1 draft choice Charles White, and came up with a fourth-and-inches situation. But reciever Willis Adams jumped offside and Don Cockroft, usually a deadly kicker, missed a chip shot from 25 yards.
Theismann then lost his touch and thegame deteriorated. He finished 10 of 21 for 113 yards, but two tosses could have easily been interceptions. Both were dropped by linebackers.
He had the Redskins at the Cleveland 30 midway in the second quarter but threw two incompletions. And he had the ball to the Browns 44 just before halftime before three straight misfires.
Some of his troubles can be attributed to dropped passes and to a late pass rush from end Lyle Alzado, who was too quick for free agent tackle Mike Gibbons. Gibbons played much of the first half in place of Terry Hermeling, who was weakened by the flu.
Cockroft finally scored Cleveland's first points of the preseason with a 30-yard field goal in the second quarter, but that came only after the Brown's got slapped with delay of game and pass interference penalties to ruin a third-and-two opportunity fromthe eight.
That foul-up was hardly a ripple compared to the second-half flood of errors that the Browns produced.
Larry Collins mishandled the third-quarter on the Brown 21. But quarter-back Kim McQuilken couldn't ge the Redskins untracked and Moseley hit from 32 yards.
Three plays later, Joe Jones and Rich Milot slammed into halfback Cleo Miller, Turner jumped on the loose ball and the Redskins had possession on the Cleveland 29.
This time, McQuilken should have been celebrating a touchdown. He passed 10 yards to rookie Art Monk fora first down and got another on a 10-yard fling to rookie Zion McKinney.
But McKinney, who has had such a fine training camp, dropped a pass in the end zone. After tackle Greg Dubinetz was called for motion, a third-and-nine draw run by Hammond cameup short and reliable Moseley had to come on for his third field goal, this time from 28 yards.
Cleveland finally held onto the ball long enough to punt. But on their next possession, the Browns coughed it up again, this time when Waddy recovered another Miller bobble at the Cleveland 49.
A clipping penalty by McKinney on arunning play ruined any scoring opportunity this time around and the Redskins also had to kick. But they soon were in possession again. Tight end Curtis Weathers fumbled and Hickman was the Redskin on the spot atthe Brown 42.
Bur a McQuilken third down sack foiled Washington, which now got involved in the Keyston Kop routine. The center snap sailed over punter Mike Connell's head and Connell, after picking up the ball, managed to lose five yards on the punt.
Connell, who is competing with Mike Bragg for the punter's spot, later had to deal with a bouncing snap, but he gotoff a 37-yard kick. In all, he averaged just 23 yards on the night, hardly a strong hand against the incumbent, who averaged 43 on four tries.
It appeared Cleveland might go aheadearly in the last quarter. McDonald, the former All-America from USC, found John Smith behind rookie cornerback Marcene Emmett and wound up with a 41-yard completion to the Redskin 28.
But, of course, Cleveland still could fumble, and did. Receiver Ricky Feacher grabbed a McDonald pass in the middle and was promptly smashed by Nelms and Waddy.Turner recoveredthe ensuing bobble to end the threat.
Moseley's last field goal came after Mike Kruezek had been inserted at quarterback. Washington moved 48 yardsto set up the 39-yard kick, but couldn't get a touchdown, despite havinga second-and-five situation at the brown 13.
The Redskin running game, so impressive a week ago against the Colts, had mixed results in this one. Hammond(16 for 49 yards) and Ike Forte (seven for 58 yards) had good showings, but fullback Clarence Harmon was limited to 13 yards on seven attempts. Hardeman had only three carries, good for 18 yards.
Cleveland passers looked even worse. Sipe finished four of 14 for 56 yards and McDonald was eight of 13 for106. But he benefited from the 41-yard gain.
The Redskins now return to their training camp in Carlisle, Pa., to prepare for Oakland Saturday night in RFK stadium.