LANDOVER, Md. — Joshua Cribbs felt just about everything Sunday at FedEx Field.
He felt excitement to be playing in his hometown. He felt joy to score his first career touchdown from scrimmage. He felt disappointment to lose a 14-11 heartbreaker.
And he felt intense pain — twice.
Cribbs, the kick returner/receiver, grew up in Washington and spoke during the week about his desire to show the Redskins what they missed by not drafting him. The Browns signed him as a free agent and he developed into a Pro Bowler last season.
Cribbs was limited on kick returns, averaging 9.6 yards on five punt returns and 23.0 on two kickoff returns, but brought the Browns within 14-9 in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard catch on fourth down. The Browns converted the 2-point play.
“It was a dream for me to play here,” he said. “I know what it meant.
“My first career touchdown at home in D.C. I couldn’t get nothing better than that. I wanted to rub it in their face, but I wasn’t able to do that.”
Cribbs was knocked out of the game twice, once when cornerback Carlos Rogers knocked the wind out of him on an incompletion.
“He hit me right square in the sternum,” said Cribbs, whose only catch was the touchdown. “It was a pretty good hit.”
Cribbs left again after taking another hit, but kept returning.
“It’s important to always get up,” he said. “Every time I get out there, I leave it all on the field.”
Cribbs was wide open on the touchdown after a play-action fake. He said he’d been used as a blocker in that formation previously and the Redskins never expected him to be a receiver.
“What better play to run. It worked,” he said. “We were this close. We’ve got to win the tough games.”
Williams injured, returns
Defensive end Corey Williams left the field in the second quarter with a left shoulder injury. He returned late in the third quarter and stopped Shaun Alexander for a loss of 1.
“It was a little bruise. I was banged up a little bit,” said Williams, who had two tackles. “I was going to come back regardless. I had to come back. My team was out there in a war.”
The Browns could ill afford to lose another defensive lineman. Shaun Smith was out for the second straight week with a broken hand, and Robaire Smith has been lost for the year with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon.
End Santonio Thomas, signed Sept. 16, saw his most extensive action of the year but wasn’t credited with a tackle.
• Linebacker/special teamer Shantee Orr left with a foot injury and was in a walking boot after the game.
• Special teamer Gerard Lawson took a huge hit on a kickoff return while filling in for Cribbs and was wobbly on the sideline. The return went for 43 yards and he was able to return.
Tucker out, Shaffer in
Right tackle Ryan Tucker’s return to the lineup lasted one game.
Tucker, who was sidelined for the first four games as he recovered from a broken hip, was inactive Sunday with a sore knee. He didn’t practice Wednesday or Friday and was limited Thursday.
The offensive line played its best game of the season in the win over the Giants with Tucker at right tackle. But the fact that the knee hurt so much after one week he couldn’t play raises serious questions about his availability for the rest of the season.
Kevin Shaffer returned to his starting role at right tackle after missing one game with a concussion. He had started 20 straight games at right tackle.
Safety Mike Adams didn’t dress and was replaced Sunday by Sean Jones. Tight end Martin Rucker, defensive back Hamza Abdullah, linebacker Beau Bell, offensive lineman Scott Young and third quarterback Ken Dorsey were healthy inactives.
For the Redskins, Shawn Springs (calf) was inactive and replaced by Fred Smoot. Also inactive were: Malcolm Kelly, Ladell Betts, Jason Fabini, Chad Rinehart, Erasmus James, Rob Jackson and third quarterback Colt Brennan.
Jamal Lewis moved into 24th place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list with his first carry for 4 yards. He passed Alexander, who rushed three times for 8 yards for Washington.
• The Redskins have a full band, complete with Native American headdresses.
• Redskins receiver Antwaan Randle El tackled a fan who was being chased by police.
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Clinton Portis, Redskins running back
He would’ve been the goat if the Browns had completed their comeback. But they didn’t, so he’s the hero.
Portis didn’t practice much during the week with a bad hip, then ran for 175 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries, a 6.5 average. He’s the NFL’s leading rusher with 818 yards and got his fourth straight 100-yard performance Sunday. The numbers were almost lost in the shuffle when he fumbled in the fourth quarter, leading to the Browns’ only touchdown and giving them hope.
Braylon Edwards, Browns receiver
Quarterback Derek Anderson was a close second, but his favorite receiver gets the nod. Edwards had as many drops (four) as catches and at least the same number of mental mistakes. Edwards followed a career-best 154 yards Monday night with just 58 against the Redskins. On the last drive, with a chance to pull out an unlikely win, Edwards didn’t recognize an all-out blitz and failed to shorten his route. Anderson threw for him, but it fell incomplete. It was just one of many missed communications with Anderson.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Make it series of the game. The Browns trailed 14-3 and were looking for their second good drive of the game. They got it when a Jamal Lewis screen took the ball to the 1-yard line with eight minutes left.
Lewis was stuffed by linebacker London Fletcher’s jump over the pile on first down, then backup fullback Charles Ali lost 2 yards on a catch. A well-covered swing pass to third-down running back Jason Wright fell incomplete, then defensive end Demetric Evans batted down the fourth-down pass intended for Braylon Edwards, who was open in the back of the end zone.
The Browns got the ball back on a fumble, but the missed opportunity still loomed large.
STAT OF THE GAME
Incompletions by Browns quarterback Derek Anderson. He was 14-for-37 (37.8 percent) for 136 yards, a touchdown, no interceptions and a 57.9 rating. He never got in a rhythm and looked nothing like the guy who made a cameo on “Monday Night Football.”
So much for the juggernaut from Monday night. The Browns managed 236 yards — their fifth time under 261 in six games — and scored just 11 points. They were 4-for-16 on third down. Jason Campbell extended his interception-less streak for the Redskins and Clinton Portis ran for 175 yards.
Cleveland’s crew struggled — again — against the run, but found a way to keep the team in the game on the scoreboard. The Redskins were even better.
They had a goal-line stand (nearly two) and forced a desperation 54-yard field goal at the end.
This category, like the game, swung on Phil Dawson’s
54-yard kick with 32 seconds left. It was wide right, and the tie, overtime and three-game winning streak vanished into the Maryland night.
The Redskins missed a short field goal to end the first half, but did a good job holding down returner Joshua Cribbs.
Romeo Crennel went for the touchdown this time, and it was the right move, even if his team was only successful one out of two times. But offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski rarely had the right play called, and someone — RAC, Chud, Rip — should’ve called for a spike after Anderson sneaked for a first down with about 1:10 left. The Browns wasted precious seconds and never got any closer on what could’ve been the winning drive.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“I’m trying to figure that out myself. If I knew that, I probably would be a better coach and we’d be consistent all the time.”
— Browns coach Romeo Crennel, when asked about the lack of offensive consistency, especially when it comes to Derek Anderson and Braylon Edwards.