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.
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.