LANDOVER, Md. - Carson Wentz threw three interceptions after getting the starting quarterback job back, defensive miscues added up and the Washington Commanders ' playoff hopes took a major hit with a 24-10 loss Sunday to the Cleveland Browns.
Wentz was 16 of 28 for 143 yards, and the offense gained just 261 - 96 on Washington's only touchdown drive - not exactly the spark coach Ron Rivera was hoping for when he made the QB change. Fans making up the sparse crowd booed and chanted early on for Taylor Heinicke multiple times after Wentz missed open receivers or lobbed the ball into the hands of a Cleveland defender.
Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders dives with the ball against Grant Delpit #22 of the Cleveland Browns during the second quarter at FedExField on January 01, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
They did not get their wish: Wentz remained in the game and struggled to move the ball beyond handing it to rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr., who rushed for 87 yards on 24 carries. The Commanders' fourth-ranked defense allowed a handful of big plays, including a 46-yard pass from Deshaun Watson to Amari Cooper that became a touchdown when top cornerback Kendall Fuller missed an open-field tackle.
Watson also connected with Cooper on a 33-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter that sent fans to the exits. Washington (7-8-1) would be eliminated from playoff contention later Sunday if Green Bay beats Minnesota.
The Browns (7-9) were already out of the race in the AFC but made good on tight end David Njoku's expectation they'd "give the Commanders hell." Cooper had three catches for 105 yards, Nick Chubb ran 14 times for 104 yards and Watson finished 9 of 18 for 169 yards and the TD passes to Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones.
© 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.