Breaking in a new quarterback in Brian Hoyer, dumping Trent Richardson and welcoming Willis McGahee would all have been valid excuses for the Browns to have lost to the Vikings (0-3).
Instead the Browns got their act together, and while Brian Hoyer threw three interceptions in his second career start, he also passed for 321 and three touchdown passes.
Two of the scoring tosses came to tight end Jordan Cameron, and the other went to Josh Gordon, who returned from a two-game suspension. Cameron also caught a third touchdown pass on a trick play from punter Spencer Lanning.
Cleveland’s defense did its job by containing running back Adrian Peterson to 88 yards and forcing Christian Ponder to beat the Browns. He ran for two touchdowns but couldn’t connect for a scoring strike through the air.
The Browns defense came up with the big plays when they needed them. Jabaal Sheard and Craig Robertson recovered fumbles, and T.J. Ward had an interception.
In the end, Hoyer drove the Browns for the win in the final two minutes, because that’s what winners do.
Hoyer picked up his first career win at quarterback, while the Browns entered the win column for the first time in 2013.
The rest of the season might not be pretty, but for one day at least the Cleveland Browns put a smile on the faces of their long-suffering fans.
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