The Browns defense had an afternoon to remember against the Washington Football Team on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Cleveland recorded three interceptions and made two fumble recoveries in a 34-20 win over Washington to move its record to 2-1 — the first time the Browns have owned a record above. 500 since 2014.
Four touchdowns helped pave the way for the Browns' victory, but all of them were aided by stellar plays from the defense, which took over our selections for the biggest plays from a satisfying win.
Here's the plays that changed the game on a warm afternoon in Cleveland:
1. Karl Joseph intercepts Haskins for big return
After the Browns notched their first points of the game with a 42-yard field goal, Karl Joseph helped give Cleveland the ball back.
The fifth-year veteran was perfectly placed to catch an errant throw from Washington QB Dwayne Haskins midway through the second quarter and make a 49-yard return to Washington's 35-yard line. Joseph fumbled the ball before he was taken down, but Browns CB Tavierre Thomas recovered for excellent field position at Washington's 28-yard line.
That set up another highlight-reel touchdown run from Nick Chubb three plays later — the running back made a few excellent cuts around defenders to find the end zone — and give the Browns a 10-7 lead, their first of the game.
Joseph, however, made the play that started it all. The pick was Cleveland's first interception of the season and provided a needed boost to a secondary that has undergone a bevy of injuries to top players. They needed a spark, and Joseph provided one.
2. Defense intercepts Haskins again (and the Browns score again)
This time, the interception came from LB Malcolm Smith.
On Washington's second series after its first interception, Smith read Haskins eyes on a short passing play and stepped up when Haskins attempted to hit Inman for a first down. Smith, though, wasn't going to let that happen, and he had a clear path to snatching the ball for Cleveland's second interception of the afternoon.
That set up the Browns' second touchdown, which came from RB Kareem Hunt on a 9-yard pass from QB Baker Mayfield. Hunt caught the ball just in front of the goal line and muscled his way in, ensuring the Browns would take full advantage of another Washington turnover and go into halftime with a 17-7 lead.
Check out photos of the Browns against the Washington Football Team
3. Dontrelle Inman catches second TD, gives Washington lead
The Browns were hoping to limit Washington to just a field-goal attempt when WFT marched into their territory midway through the third quarter. A defensive stop would've preserved the Browns' 17-13 lead, and they had several opportunities to shut Haskins down.
Washington ran seven plays inside the Browns' 20-yard line and nearly fell short after it was stopped on third-and-7, but they gambled on converting on fourth-and-2 — and they were successful.
Three plays later, Haskins found Inman open in the back of the end zone for six points. That gave Washington a 20-17 lead and made the Browns play from behind to start the final quarter.
4. Bryant catches first career touchdown, puts Browns back on top
Harrison Bryant couldn't have caught his first career touchdown at a better time.
The rookie tight end was waiting for Mayfield to unload a quick throw from Washington's 3-yard line as he rolled to his right with no defenders around him. Mayfield waited for the perfect angle to throw, and Bryant, a fourth-round pick, had no problem squeezing the ball into his chest and then spiking it into the ground to celebrate.
Cleveland retook a 24-20 lead, and Bryant had a football worth keeping forever.
5. Goodson intercepts Haskins for Browns' third interception
The Browns' defensive back seven won't be remembered fondly by Haskins after Sunday.
Cleveland sealed Haskins' rough afternoon when LB B.J. Goodson stepped in front of an under-thrown pass and secured Haskins' third pick. This interception was in Washington territory, too, and the Browns were again given great field position to add a potential game-clinching touchdown.
Three plays later, they did. Chubb ran away from the Washington defense for a 20-yard run that ended in the end zone — his second touchdown of the afternoon — and gave the Browns their third touchdown that followed after a Washington interception.
Cleveland scored four touchdowns to defeat Washington, but the defense deserves credit for all of them. Their turnovers helped give the Browns their best offensive field positions all day, and without the turnovers, the win would've been much more difficult to find.
6. Myles Garrett's strip-sack-recovery seals win
Myles Garrett was making his presence felt in the backfield all afternoon. He recorded a sack earlier in the game and was constantly applying backfield pressure before the Browns lined up for an important defensive series in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
Then, he made the trifecta for an edge rusher: a sack, a strip and a fumble recovery.
Garrett made his biggest footstep in the final meaningful defensive series for the Browns, who finished Sunday with five turnovers. The final turnover from Garrett sealed the victory, and Cleveland can take pride in a wonderful Week 3 defensive performance.