By: Ryan O’Toole ~Staff Writer~
Times are changing in Cleveland, and the rest of the National Football League is quickly learning that the Browns are no longer the doormat of the league.
After two straight weeks of impressive victories, which found Cleveland rallying from 25 points behind to beat the Tennessee Titans on the road and thrashing the Pittsburgh Steelers at home, the 3-2 Browns are competitive heading into week seven.
Leading the way for the franchise is quarterback Brian Hoyer.
He has shown considerable poise in pressure situations, most notably in the comeback against the Titans.
Many fans were calling for Hoyer to be relieved of his duties when the team drafted media darling Johnny Manziel back in April. But Hoyer is proving he is dependable, and he comes without all of the drama of Manziel.
“I don’t think I need to say more than I’m from Cleveland and this is where I want to be, but I’m also a competitor,” Hoyer said in an interview with clevelandbrowns.com. “I want to be somewhere where I’m playing.”
However, while Hoyer may be the offensive leader, Cleveland’s running game has arguably been the most impressive part of their offensive attack.
In last week’s 31-10 beat-down of the Steelers, running backs Ben Tate and Isaiah Crowell combined for 153 rush yards and three touchdowns.
And while the offense deserves all the recognition it has been getting, it was the defense last week that really sent a message, the defensive line in particular.
“We got in the quarterback’s head,” defensive lineman John Hughes said, in the locker room after the game. “It’s a really great win and to top it off, it’s against the Steelers. I’m proud of the whole defense.”
The Steelers struggled to get any sort of offensive game going, including from star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was perturbed by the Browns pressure up front the entire game.
He continued to miss throws that NFL fans are used to seeing converted by Roethlisberger, which is a testament to how well Cleveland played.
“It’s huge,” Bryant said about the win. “It’s a division win so it counts twice. It’s Pittsburgh. So we cherish these kinds of moments. We’ll enjoy it on Sunday and then it’s on to Jacksonville on Monday.”
There is a whirlwind of excitment in Cleveland as the Browns are finally playing well
The Cleveland Browns head to Jacksonville to play the 1-5 Jaguars at 1 p.m. on Oct. 19.