CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns scored early and often, and in a variety of ways during their preseason opener against the Washington football team at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland Thursday night.
Whether it was a touchdown pass from quarterback Baker Mayfield to wide receiver Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins on the first drive of the game, an interception return for a touchdown by rookie linebacker Mack Wilson or an 86-yard punt return from wide receiver Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, the Browns scored in all three phases on the way to a 30-10 win over Washington in front of the home fans.
Following the win, Kitchens heaped praise on Wilson and Sheehy during his postgame speech to the team.
“That’s an excellent job of playing together,” Kitchens said.
Wilson proved over the first 12 days of training camp that he had a nose for the football, and the former University of Alabama standout added to an impressive start to his NFL career in the second quarter of the preseason opener.
Washington’s offense faced a second-and-one from its own 32-yard line when rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. lofted a pass down the right sideline for running back Byron Marshall, but Wilson was there to take away the ball.
After catching the underthrown pass, Wilson hustled down the sideline, got around a tackle attempt from Haskins Jr. and muscled his way through two more Washington players to get across the goal line for the 40-yard touchdown.
Wilson’s touchdown and Austin Seibert’s extra point gave the Browns a 14-7 lead over Washington with 10:53 to play in the first half.
Wilson added a second interception early in the fourth quarter.
“Defense, defending every blade of grass,” Kitchens said. “Mack, that’s the way to take that (stuff) to the house.”
Sheehy-Guiseppi’s path to the National Football League has been anything but conventional, but he is making the most of his opportunity with the Browns.
Late in the fourth quarter of the preseason opener against Washington, Sheehy-Guiseppi fielded a punt at his own 14-yard line and hustled his way down the right sideline for a touchdown.
The Browns’ bench erupted with excitement following the touchdown, and most of the team joined Sheehy-Guiseppi in the end zone for the celebration.
“Sheehy!” Kitchens said, as the team delivered a rousing ovation to the upstart receiver. “Sheehy, get your (butt) up here.”
Sheehy-Guiseppi broke down the postgame huddle in the locker room by saying, ‘Win, on one.”