The Cleveland Browns were expected to be in a shoot-out with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday….and in a sense, they were. It took a touchdown by the Colts with 32 seconds remaining for them to get the win. But that’s not going to be what anyone wants to talk about.
They want to talk about benching Brian Hoyer. And that is the right call.
Billy Cundiff missed a 40-yard field goal early in the game that would have been enough to win this, assuming it all played out the same. The officiating in this game was brutal, with some very questionable calls, one of them a pass interference on Buster Skrine that helped the Colts get down the field on that game-winning drive.
But the stinker of the day belongs to Hoyer. The offense did nothing in this game, coming up with one touchdown. Twice they came away with no points after getting into scoring range, once the missed field goal and once when Hoyer threw an interception in the end zone.
The second half was one 3-and-out after another. I’m sorry, but in a playoff push, that is beyond unacceptable. And Hoyer is responsible for that, even if everything wasn’t his fault. Welcome to quarterback in the NFL.
Maybe part of me wants Johnny Manziel in just so I don’t have to see 3000 tweets a game calling for him. It’s not that I don’t agree, but enough already.
Would they have won with Manziel? Who knows? It’s reported that players this week were saying Manziel doesn’t know the plays. I have no idea how true that is. But regardless, I think you have to play him. Hoyer has played terrible and you just can’t defend it. He has now thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. Turning the ball over is a sin. You can’t have it.
And as we’ve seen over the last several years, you can’t expect a defense to prop you up all game if you aren’t getting first downs.
The Browns lost. They are a game behind new division-leading Pittsburgh, and it may as well be two as the Steelers have the tie-breaker. Anything can happen, as I say again and again, but there is not much hope left.
Bring in the rookie. Let him play. Let Hoyer sit for the rest of the year.
One more thing before I go: Josh Gordon. I remember thinking we would be world-beaters when he returned. We’re not and it seems like his effort wanes. Stopping on routes, not going full speed, not putting himself out there on passes he has to reach for. The Browns were taking him off the field on third downs. Also very unacceptable.
Browns lose a heartbreaker today. Even winning out the remaining three games will probably not be enough, not with the way the AFC is bunched up. That’s too bad. Up until now, it’s been a very exciting season.