CLEVELAND (AP) — Baker Mayfield threw a touchdown pass to end his only series, superstar Odell Beckham Jr. never put on his helmet and the Cleveland Browns gave a brief preview of their offensive firepower during a 30-10 win over the Washington Redskins in an exhibition opener Thursday night.
Mayfield picked up where he left off following his “dangerous” rookie season, firing a 24-yard TD pass to Rashard Higgins as the Browns went no-huddle and drove 89 yards in just 2:13 to open the game.
They did it while Beckham, the Browns’ major offseason acquisition, was kept on the sideline along with Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry by first-year coach Freddie Kitchens.
Mayfield didn’t need his top targets. He misfired on his first pass, but was otherwise flawless, going 5 of 6 for 77 yards and a perfect 158.3 rating before turning Cleveland’s offense over to backup Drew Stanton.
While the Browns’ quarterback situation is finally settled, the Redskins’ is, well, incomplete.
Case Keenum, who is in a three-way competition with Colt McCoy and rookie Dwayne Haskins, started and threw a 46-yard TD pass — thanks to a miscommunication by Cleveland’s defense — to receiver Robert Davis in the first quarter. He finished 4 of 9 for 60 yards.
McCoy was kept out after being tripped in practice this week. He’s still recovering from surgery after breaking his right leg last season and the Redskins didn’t want to take any chances.
Haskins, who set numerous passing records during one season as Ohio State’s starter, completed a 27-yard pass on his first attempt. However, he badly underthrew a pass in the second quarter and was picked off by rookie linebacker Mack Wilson, who returned it 40 yards for a TD to give the Browns a 14-7 lead.
Haskins threw a second pick later in the half. He completed 8 of 14 passes for 117 yards.
Rookie corner Jimmy Moreland from James Madison University was picked as the Player of the Game for the Redskins. The Dukes’ all-time interceptions leader had five tackles, two forced fumbles and knocked down three consecutive passes to save touchdowns.
Between his performance at camp and this first preseason game, the 7th round pick looks like a lock to make the team.
He even lined up against former JMU teammate Ishmael Hyman, who signed a three-year contract with the Browns back in April. Moreland stripped Hyman on this play below.
Hyman and Redskins linebacker Andrew Ankrah both finished their career with the Dukes in 2017 and got signed to NFL contracts after playing for Orlando Apollos in the Alliance of American Football. Nine JMU players are on current NFL rosters.
Browns rookie Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi returned a punt 86 yards for a TD in the final minutes.
Expectations are massive for the rebuilt Browns as well as Kitchens, who began 2018 as the team’s running backs coach, got promoted to offensive coordinator midway through the season and was hired in January, partly because of his strong rapport with Mayfield.
They’re off to a fast start.
Hall of Fame quarterback and longtime announcer Sonny Jurgensen is abruptly retiring from broadcasting. The 84-year-old released a statement in which he thanked Washington fans “for being so generous to me and our teams, we owe it all to you.”
Jurgensen had a cannon-like arm. He passed for 32,224 yards and 255 touchdowns in 18 seasons for the Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles. He retired from playing after the 1974 season.
Higgins took advantage of Beckham and Landry not playing and had a big night, catching five passes for 98 yards — all in the first half.
Redskins: Starting MLB Shaun Dion Hamilton (chest) was hurt in the first quarter and did not return. … LB Cassanova McKinzy was shaken up in the second quarter, but came back in for the next defensive series.
Browns: OL Kyle Kalis left with a concussion in the second quarter. He’s been competing for the starting job at right guard. Cleveland has had a rash of head injuries, with four others sidelined by them. … Starting LB Joe Schobert missed the game for personal reasons.
Redskins: Host the Cincinnati Bengals on Aug. 15.
Browns: Practice for two days in Indianapolis with the Colts before playing them on Aug. 17.