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Before Further Review: Matt Jones Is Finding His Niche

Manny Benton shares his game notes to break down who stood out in the Washington Redskins' win against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

LANDOVER, MD - The Washington Redskins (2-2) won their first home game of the season Sunday against the Cleveland Browns (0-4). While the Redskins were able to pull out the 31-21 win, they almost gave the game away several times. That reflected in the locker room as the team appeared cautiously joyful afterward. They realize they could've lost to a winless team. Below, we'll show our game notes before turning on the film. 

Offense:

  • Quarterback Kirk Cousins started off the game with two nearly perfect drives, both of which ended with touchdowns. On the team's third drive, Cousins threw a costly interception that allowed the Browns to tie the game at 14-14. Cousins just stared down wide receiver Jamison Crowder on the play. He ended the day with a season-high three touchdowns. Yet, I still came away unimpressed by his performance. Cousins put the team in compromising positions with the interception and by taking two avoidable sacks midway through the fourth quarter. Head coach Jay Gruden summed up Cousins' performance well after the game: "I think he played OK," Gruden said. "There were a couple situational things you can't do ... He's far from perfect."  

  • Second-year running back Matt Jones had 117 yards on 21 carries. It was only his second career 100-yard outing. Jones appears to be developing a niche as a fourth-quarter finisher, based on the past two games. Although, he admitted that his late-game success has to start happening earlier. Jones said that after these past two games, he's found out who he is and what he's running for. Jones also said that Sunday was the first game his mother has attended. "I just wanted to be decisive and show my mom what I've got -- what I'm capable of." I think it's safe to say that it would be beneficial for Mama Jones to attend more games.  

  • Tight end Jordan Reed had a big day, scoring two early touchdowns, one of which made him the fastest TE to reach 200 career receptions. He led the team with 10 targets; no other Redskins receiver had more than five. The team made it a point to get the ball in his hands Sunday.

  • I thought, for the most part, second-year left guard Arie Kouandjio played well against the Browns. He had a few poor snaps and a holding penalty, but overall, he played a solid game in his NFL debut. Jones even made it a point to go thank Kouandjio for his level of play in the locker room. "He wasn't nervous," Jones said of Kouandjio. "I even saw him set the edge and get to the second level. So I had to just go tell him, 'Good job.'" 

Defense: 

  • Cornerback Josh Norman had his struggles going against Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sunday. Norman said he's been battling a cold. Regardless, Norman came up with a clutch interception in the fourth quarter that helped seal the game for Washington. 

  • Linebackers Will Compton and Mason Foster have had their ups and downs this season. Honestly, it's been more downs than ups. Both have been caught filling the wrong run lanes several times. Not to mention, Compton has looked pretty stiff and slow in coverage. On the bright side, Compton did force a key fumble today.

  • Before leaving the game with a concussion, rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens continued to show his skills in coverage. He still has work to do against the run, but he's become an asset when facing receiving tight ends and running backs. 

  • Rookie CB Kendall Fuller made his first career start Sunday and competed hard. That's what he brings to the table -- he's a competitor. He had a couple missed tackles but ended the day with eight total, second-most on the team.

Special Teams:

  • Punter Tress Way posted season highs in punts (three), punting average (48.7 yards), punts downed inside the 20 (two) and longest punt (59 yards). 

You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.

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