A street free agent, Whitner had worked out for the Giants, Panthers and Rams since being released in April by Browns. The 31-year-old defensive back spent the past two seasons in Cleveland after long stints with the 49ers and Bills.
Washington general manager Scot McCloughan knows Whitner from their time together in San Francisco, and might view the veteran as a potential starter over strong safety David Bruton, who has been hideous against the run and pass.
Jared Cook returned from his seven-week absence with a bang. The tight end, acquired by the Packers in the offseason, had by far his best game in the green and gold and his best since Week 1 of 2013. Cook finished with 105 yards on six catches and a team-high 10 targets, providing Aaron Rodgers with a consistent receiving threat in the middle of the field. His fourth-quarter fumble in Washington territory cemented Green Bay’s loss, but wasn’t enough to dampen a promising return.
The controversial, ambiguous, no good, very bad catch rule nearly reared its ugly head again. Jordy Nelson’s game-tying second-quarter touchdown grab was nearly called back on a challenge because Nelson didn’t fully possess the ball in the end zone. Though the right call was eventually made, the play brought to mind Odell Beckham’s non-catch against the Patriots, one that was ruled incomplete upon review.
Before the move became official, the Washington Redskins jumped in and traded the Pats a conditional draft pick for Stork (likely because they feared he’d get claimed on the waiver wire by a team higher on the priority list).
The Ravens appeared to have the game under control after jumping out to an early lead on a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, but injuries changed the complexion of the game. Top receiver Steve Smith went down with an ankle injury late in the first quarter and never returned. By late in the second quarter, guard Marshal Yanda was forced to kick outside to right tackle, leaving only center Jeremy Zuttah in his original position among Baltimore offensive linemen. Minus Smith, the wide receivers couldn’t shake free of man coverage. Unable to protect Joe Flacco against Redskins defensive linemen Ziggy Hood and whoelsale jerseys and Trent Murphy, play-caller Marc Trestman apparently didn’t feel comfortable dialing up downfield strikes to test that tight man coverage.
Flacco’s offense went in the tank from the middle of the first quarter until the final drive of the game when he converted a fourth down with his legs to reach scoring territory. Flacco unfurled a beauty over All Pro cornerback Josh Norman, but Perriman couldn’t get his second foot down inbounds.
Coach Hue Jackson is the best thing that ever happened to Isaiah Crowell. The Browns running back was underwhelming last season, but came into Sunday as the NFL‘s second leading rusher and Cleveland’s unquestioned workhorse. Crowell repeatedly cashed in blasting through the belly of Washington’s soft run defense, plowing for 112 yards at 7.5 yards per rush with another 22 yards through the air. The story was different for fullback Malcolm Johnson, who fumbled deep in Redskins territory with Cleveland up 20-17 late in the third quarter. Same goes for Duke Johnson, who lost the ball on the following possession, all but squandering any chance of an upset.
Matt Jones has been an up-and-down affair this season, but the Redskins runner came on in the second half and finished with 117 yards and a touchdown at 5.3 yards per carry against Cleveland. Passing-down specialist Chris Thompson caught Cousins’ third touchdown throw and finished with 40 total yards off five touches.
Jamison Crowder is a fascinating athlete who notched his third touchdown of the season after shredding the Ravens last week with an 85-yard punt return to the house. Sunday’s score — a beautiful 16-yard grab in the back-left corner of the end zone — marked the fourth touchdown of the year for a Redskins wideout now serving as a core member of Washington’s air attack.
It gets no easier for the skidding Eagles, who play eight of their final 11 games against clubs that currently have a winning record, including the Vikings, Cowboys, Falcons, Seahawks, Packers, Redskins, Ravens and Cowboys