In a game against a potential Super Bowl contender the Browns came from behind twice, providing a thrilling victory to a hometown crowd, led by a hometown quarterback.
It would have been hard to fault the Browns for losing to the Saints on Sunday. After all, New Orleans was a very trendy Super Bowl pick by analysts all off season and the Browns were admittedly short-handed. Cleveland was without starting running back Ben Tate and Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron, not to mention All-Everything wide out/car salesman Josh Gordon. Most people were hoping for a tough fought game but, if we’re being honest, few expected the afternoon to end with a brown and orange victory.
Cleveland came out strong, playing intelligent offense and inspired defense, holding Drew Brees to just twelve yards of offense in the first quarter. When the Saints took a 17-16 lead in the second half it would have been easy for the fan base to chalk it up to Cleveland being Cleveland. Our team had battled valiantly with a top flight team but now the Saints were going to blow the doors off a close game as our team would come up short again. This isn’t the old Cleveland Browns, however. Even when New Orleans jumped ahead 24-23 to start the fourth quarter our team refused to fold. Instead of rolling over, the defense held strong, with newcomer Karlos Dansby sacking Brees to knock the Saints out of field goal range and force a punt.
In the past the Browns likely would have gone three and out with the ball on their own 4 yard line to end the game. In years prior, going the length of the field with the game on the line would have seemed impossible; the fans resigned to our 0-2 fate. On Sunday afternoon a young man all too familiar with the fan base’s plight decided that this year would not be like years past. On Sunday, Brian Hoyer showed why he is the leader of this team as he calmly took the Browns on a game-winning drive, culminating in a field goal with 3 seconds to play. We’re a sports society that love stats so here are some great ones:
+Brian Hoyer has started five games as a Cleveland Brown
+He is 4-1 in those games
+In two of those four he’s lead game-winning fourth quarter drives
It’s not just Brian Hoyer that gives this fan base hope, though. Our defense looked great against a top-tier offense, our two rookie running backs, Terrence West and Isiah Crowell, shined for the second straight game and our group of unknown and castoff wide receivers stepped up in big situations including game saving catches by Gary Barnidge, Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins. The most poignant part of Sunday’s victory though remains the fight in the dogs, not the dogs in the fight (I’m not sorry…). Repeatedly there were times when it was expected that the Browns would wilt under pressure and repeatedly they refused to give up.
Pessimists will say that this was only one victory but the way that this victory came about can bring nothing but hope for fans across Northeast Ohio. In a game against a potential Super Bowl contender the Browns came from behind twice, providing a thrilling victory to a hometown crowd, led by a hometown quarterback. I can think of no better way to head into Baltimore Ravens week. I, just like the rest of Browns Nation, am counting down the minutes until kickoff on Sunday. I can’t wait to see what this team has in store for us next. It appears as if Sundays in the fall might mean more than just tailgating and frustration in Northeast Ohio. Maybe, just maybe, we finally have the team this fan base deserves and it all starts with a quarterback who feels exactly the same way we do.