The 5th Quarter: Browns
By: Mark Solway
Category: Washington Redskins News
Clinton Portis lost yet another fumble at yet another key moment. Portis fumbled on the Redskins' own 30-yard line when he was hit by tackle Michael Myers on the first play from scrimmage of the second half. Four plays later, the Browns went in for the touchdown. It was the third fumble lost for Portis in the last two weeks, and it always seems to result in both a touchdown, and a turning point. Other than the fumble, Portis continues to struggle despite scoring a touchdown Sunday. He managed just 58 yards on 20 carries, and continues to sport an average of less than three yards per carry (with the exception of his first run of the season). "We got three losses and in two of them, I've basically stunk it up," Portis said. "I take the blame for this loss. I put us in the position we were in, and that's not what I was brought here for. I was brought here to play better and I have to find a way to play better."
No argument there.
Part of the problem with the Redskins ground attack is that the offense continues to struggle to stretch the defense with any meaningful passing game. Brunell was unremarkable yet again as the Redskins went deep only twice despite the fact that Cleveland was crowding an 8th man into the box on nearly every play. Brunell managed just 17 receptions on 32 attempts, and lost for the third consecutive game.
Laveranues Coles had a better day hauling in 7 passes for 110 yards, but he also fumbled the ball away to the Browns late in the game to nullify a late effort to snatch a victory.
Another decent outing by the defense, wasted by the inept offense. Despite key injuries (LaVar Arrington, Phillip Daniels, Mike Barrow), the defensive unit continues to keep the Redskins in close games. However, Gregg Williams' aggressive blitz-calling seemed to be neutralized by the Browns and the Redskins failed to get much meaningful pressure on beleagured QB Jeff Garcia. And after limiting the Browns to just 97 yards in the first half, the defense did fail to stop Garcia and the Browns down the stretch.
With so little offense to speak of, the only special teams play of significance was the punt unit. Tom Tupa continues to be a bright spot for the Redskins as he boomed punt after punt again on Sunday. Nearly every punt was 50-plus yards and the punt coverage was also good, giving the Browns bad field position most of the game. If the Redskins could up their level of play to match Tupa's performance, this team would not be 1-3.
James Thrash filled in for a banged up Chad Morton on return duties, but did not log any significant returns.
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