The Cleveland Browns have seemed to be in a state of chaos for the last 15 years.
Just as they seemed to find a diamond in the rough at quarterback in local boy Brian Hoyer, who led them to two consecutive victories, something happens to end the era of good feeling for Browns’ supporters.
Hoyer went down with a knee injury late in the first quarter and is out for the season, and coach Rob Chudzinski is forced to go back to Brandon Weeden, who wasn’t very popular with the faithful when he went into the game.
However, the contrast was very telling. Seeing Hoyer play at the beginning of the game served a stark contrast to the former first round pick.
Quite simply, Hoyer makes quicker decisions and gets rid of the ball faster, which makes the offensive line look better.
Here’s hoping Weeden can learn from the Cleveland native and can translate those things into his game. He admitted he must do that after the 37-24 win, which raises the Browns’ record to 3-2 on the season.
Weeden made some good throws last night, particularly two long bombs to Greg Little and Josh Gordon, with the latter grabbing a 37-yard touchdown strike after the throw to Little just two plays earlier.
One thing that helped Weeden was that the Browns didn’t abandon the running game at any point in the contest. Willis McGahee carried the ball 26 times last night. In the second year man’s first two starts this season, Cleveland ran the ball less than 20 times in the entire game.
Weeden will need to improve if the Browns are going to continue to win football games. He has to develop an internal alarm clock in his head that tells him to get rid of the football after three seconds.
Everyone will talk about the quarterback situation, but the real story of last night was Travis Benjamin, who set a franchise record for most punt return yardage, including a 79-yard return to give the Browns a 17-10 advantage.
Benjamin also had a 57-yard return, which set up a Billy Cundiff field goal earlier.
Once again, the defense did the job. Yes, Buffalo had 155 yards rushing, becoming the first team to reach the century mark against them this season, but 54 of those came on a touchdown run by C. J. Spiller. The balance of the 101 yards came on 30 attempts.
Yes, we know that counts, but what it does mean is that for a majority of the game, Buffalo could not run the football.
The pressure was also there, with Ray Horton’s defense getting four more sacks, and from four different players, most notably rookie DE Armonty Bryant, who recorded his first NFL sack.
And the defense also put the game away on S T.J. Ward’s interception return for a touchdown.
Cleveland gave up 24 points, but the first seven were a result of a horrible pass interference call on Joe Haden on the Bills’ first play of the game.
We have said it before; the NFL simply has to change the penalty for this infraction to 15 yards. On the play in question, there was just as much contact initiated by the receiver. Why penalize only the defense?
The Browns, winners of three straight, have some extra time off before the Lions visit a week from Sunday.
The season is back in the hands of Brandon Weeden, and he must show a lot of improvement if Chudzinski’s boys are to continue their winning streak.