Best use of a gift: The Redskins drove 91 yards on 10 plays and took the lead for good on Kirk Cousins’s five-yard touchdown pass to Chris Thompson. Yes, Washington scored a touchdown in the red zone. Three of them, in fact! More on that below.
Worst strategy: For the Browns, it was handing the ball off of to anyone but Crowell. On Cleveland’s ensuing drive, Will Compton recovered a fumble by Duke Johnson at the Redskins 43. The Browns’ meltdown was in full effect.
Best interception: Redskins cornerback Josh Norman had a rough day lined up primarily against Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, but his interception of Cody Kessler late in the fourth quarter was Cleveland’s third turnover in as many drives and set up the game-clinching touchdown run by Matt Jones five plays later.
Worst penalty: Norman received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for “shooting a bow and arrow” after the interception, which is a strange thing to hear an an NFL official say during a game. To be clear, Norman did not actually shoot a bow and arrow into the stands. That, presumably, would result in more than a 15-yard penalty.
Best red zone target: The Redskins entered Sunday’s game with touchdowns on just 21 percent of their red zone trips through three weeks, which is objectively terrible and ranks second-to-last in the NFL. Then they remembered that they employ a pretty decent tight end who made a living inside the opponent’s 20-yard line last year. Welcome back Jordan Reed, who capped Washington’s first two drives with his first two touchdown receptions of the season.
Best start: Cousins completed 10 of his first 11 passes, including those two touchdowns to Reed. The Redskins had the ball for more than 11 minutes in the first quarter, during which they outgained the Browns 115-37 and built a 14-0 lead. Washington, which was favored by a touchdown for the first time since 2009, appeared well on its way to comfortably covering that spread.
Best running back: The Browns responded with a 12-play, 81-yard touchdown drive, which included five carries for 40 yards by Crowell, the NFL’s second-leading rusher. Crowell finished with 112 yards on 15 carries, including four runs of at least 10 yards.
Worst tackling: In what has become a theme for the Redskins this season, they struggled to bring down members of the opposing team, which is a key component of the game of football. On the play before Malcolm Johnson’s fumble, Crowell picked up 14 yards on a short pass on third and eight after Su’a Cravens, Dunbar and Norman all whiffed on the tackle. To make matters worse, Cravens suffered a concussion on the play.
Best homecoming: No, not Robert Griffin III. Washington native and former Gonzaga standout Cam Johnson, a seventh-round pick out of Virginia in 2012, had four tackles and two sacks for the Browns. Not bad for someone who was signed off Arizona’s practice squad earlier this week.
Worst stare down: Find someone who looks at you the way Cousins looked at Jamison Crowder on Washington’s first play of the second quarter. Browns cornerback Jamar Taylor knew exactly where Cousins was looking, jumped in front of the pass for an interception, and returned it 29 yards to the Redskins 12-yard line.
Best rookie QB: For the second time in three weeks, the Redskins faced a rookie quarterback who was making his second career start on the road. For the second time in three weeks, the Redskins made that quarterback look like a seasoned veteran, if not a future Hall of Famer, for much of the game. Forced into action after injuries to Griffin and Josh McCown, Kessler was 28 of 40 for 223 yards, including 10-for-10 passing on third down. It’s hard to imagine Griffin or McCown playing as well.
Worst pass rush: The Redskins’ defensive front didn’t exactly make things difficult for the third-round pick, managing only one sack of Kessler. It didn’t help that linebacker Ryan Kerrigan left the game with an elbow injury in the second quarter and did not return.
Best blocking: With Arie Kouandjio making his first career start at left guard and Spencer Long replacing the injured Kory Lichtensteiger at center, there were reasons to be concerned about Washington’s offensive line. While Cousins was sacked three times, Bill Callahan’s unit played well. Jones went over the century mark for the first time this season with 117 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.
Best converted QB: Pryor, who lined up all over the field for the Browns last week, served primarily as a wide receiver Sunday. The former Ohio State quarterback’s first career touchdown came on a nine-yard pass from Kessler and tied the game in the second quarter.
Worst celebration: Pryor did his best LeBron James impression after his touchdown, which drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Best pass rusher: Continuing to prove that kangaroo meat does a body good, Trent Murphy had Washington’s only sack of the game. Murphy leads the Redskins with four sacks — already a career high — through four games.
Worst penalties: The Redskins committed nine penalties for 75 yards, which will normally get you beat against teams better than the Browns.
Best kicker: Dustin Hopkins wasn’t needed nearly as often as he was last week, but remained perfect on the season with a 49-yard field goal. Hopkins has made 16 consecutive field goals.
Best tight end: But seriously, Reed is really good. He finished with a game-high nine catches for 73 yards and has reached 200 receptions in his career faster than any tight end in NFL history.
Best playcall: Throw the ball deep to DeSean Jackson and good things usually happen. Jackson, who wore custom cleats with a caution tape design, was limited to one catch for five yards, but drew a pair of pass interference penalties worth 71 yards. Both penalties led to touchdowns.
Best hope: The Redskins could just as easily be 0-4 or 3-1, but they’re 2-2, which is just fine at this point in the season in the NFC East.