Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/17/12
CLEVELAND -- The Washington Redskins kept their playoff hopes alive Sunday by scoring 28 points in the second half to beat the Cleveland Browns 38-21 for their fifth straight victory. Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins, playing for Robert Griffin III, who was inactive with a knee injury, baffled the Browns with play fakes and rollouts after a shaky start. He threw two touchdown passes to Leonard Hankerson and Albert Morris rushed for two touchdowns to propel the Redskins to an 8-6 record. In November, the Redskins were 3-6 and seemingly out of contention in the NFC East. The loss was a bitter one for the Browns. They rode a three-game winning streak into their final home game of 2012 and had faint playoff hopes, but those were snuffed out on a day when Brandon Weeden threw two critical interceptions. The Browns, 5-9, are living through their fifth straight losing season. They must win in Denver and in Pittsburgh to prevent five straight seasons of double-digit losses. Weeden's first interception was thrown on the second play of the second half. Linebacker Rob Jackson jumped to pick off a pass intended for Greg Little and returned the ball 17 yards to the Browns 15. Three plays later, Morris scooted into the end zone from the 3 to give the Redskins a 17-10 lead and they never looked back. Cousins threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Hankerson to increase the lead to 24-14 with 7:40 left in the third quarter. Evan Royster and Morris added rushing touchdowns in the fourth period. The Redskins held the Browns offense in check most of the day. They hounded Weeden with a heavy pass rush and swatted his passes at the line of scrimmage. Despite the Redskins domination, the Browns led 14-10 at halftime on two rushing touchdowns by Trent Richardson. He scored his first on a 6-yard run after an interception and a 37-yard return by T.J. Ward set the Browns up at the 6. The Redskins tied the game on a 54-yard scoring play from Cousins to Hankerson when Hankerson got behind the Browns defense. Washington took the lead on a 44-yard field goal by Kai Forbath. The Browns stitched together their only sustained drive near the end of the second quarter when they moved 75 yards in nine plays. Richardson finished it off on a 1-yard touchdown run. Notes: Redskins center Will Montgomery was knocked out of the game with a knee injury. ... Richardson has 11 rushing TDs for the season, a Browns franchise record for a rookie running back. ... Phil Dawson, the Browns kicker since 1999, played his final game as a Brown in Cleveland Browns Stadium Sunday unless he gets a new contract.
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