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McCown throws TD pass in debut for Browns, Cousins rallies Redskins to 20-17 win in opener

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CLEVELAND — scored on his first preseason possession with Cleveland. and Washington's starters still can't find the end zone.

McCown threw a touchdown pass in his debut for Cleveland and backup scrambled for a TD as the Browns, busting out new uniforms for the first time, built an early lead before losing 20-17 to the Redskins on Thursday night in their exhibition opener.

Signed to stabilize Cleveland's troublesome position, McCown connected with the wide-open on a 2-yard TD in the first quarter.

"He looked lonely, so I threw him the football," McCown said.

Griffin III went 4 of 8 passing for 36 yards during two possessions. Wide receiver dropped a long toss that would have been a TD.

rallied the Redskins, who trailed 14-3 in the second quarter. Cousins ran for a TD and went 12 of 14 for 154 yards.

Washington lost starting tight end to a broken ankle and running back Silas Reed sustained a knee injury.

"I'm sick about it," coach said of Paul's season-ending injury. "He means a lot to this team."

McCown, who went just 1-10 as a starter last year with Tampa Bay, completed all five passes in his one series.

Washington's first-team offense didn't produce a touchdown in the preseason last year, foreshadowing Griffin's struggles in his third season.

Griffin has improved in training camp under new quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh.

RGIII took a hit in the midsection on one play while rolling away from pressure, but still completed a 22-yard pass.

"You're going to get hit every now and then," Griffin said. "I thought we did a good job moving the ball. Get in, get out and that's all you can ask for."

Manziel made a smart play darting 12 yards for his TD. But the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, trying to turn things around after a poor rookie season, stuck to his promise and skipped his signature "money" sign.

TIGHT END TROUBLES

Redskins: In addition to Paul's injury, TE Je'Ron Hall hurt one of his thighs. Washington was already missing TE , recovering from a torn toe ligament.

OTHER INJURIES

Browns: WR injured his ribs in the first half. Before getting hurt, Moore forced a fumble when he wrapped up Washington's .

ON THE SIDELINE

Redskins: Starting WR sat out with a shoulder injury sustained during training camp. Outside LB was held out following arthroscopic knee surgery.

Browns: Pro Bowlers and both sat out. Thomas, who has never missed a snap in his NFL career, hurt his right leg during practice earlier in the week. Haden has been slowed by a hamstring issue the past week. , attempting to switch from quarterback to wide receiver, didn't dress because of a lingering hamstring injury.

ROOKIE WATCH

Redskins: RB ripped off a 23-yard run in the second quarter and finished with 38 yards on five carries. The third-round pick from Florida was checked for a concussion.

Browns: With Thomas out, first-round pick Cam Erving started at left tackle. Erving was called for a holding penalty that was declined.

DEFENSIVE BREAKDOWNS

Redskins: The secondary lost track of Benjamin on Cleveland's first TD. As McCown bought time, Benjamin crossed the end zone without a defender picking him up.

Browns: CB , a major disappointment as a rookie, got beat by Garcon and was lucky the Redskins' wide receiver couldn't handle Griffin's throw. Gilbert was beaten on other completions.

KICKING IT

Redskins: made field goals of 52 and 33 yards.

Browns: converted a 47-yarder in the third quarter. He's batting for Cleveland's starting job.

Pettine downplayed the Browns' interest in running back , suspended and released by Baltimore last year following a domestic violence incident.

"It is premature to talk about that," Pettine said. "We are comfortable with where our room is. I know a lot of people have connected the dots given his circumstances and ours, but it is too early to talk about it."


AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

PHOTO: Cleveland Browns inside linebacker Craig Robertson (53) reacts after the Browns recovered a fumble on a punt during the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Washington Redskins, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Cleveland Browns inside linebacker Craig Robertson (53) reacts after the Browns recovered a fumble on a punt during the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Washington Redskins, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

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PHOTO: Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) scrambles for a 12-yard touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Washington Redskins, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
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