Rob Chudzinski said he wanted a 'spark' in his explanation of why he was starting Brian Hoyer over Jason Campbell after Brandon Weeden sprained his game against the Ravens.
He got it.
Hoyer led the Browns to scores on four-straight possessions in the first half, including two touchdown passes to lead the Browns to a 24-17 lead.
However, for most of the second half the offense was non-existent as the Browns were shut out until Hoyer hit Jordan Cameron with 51 seconds to play to give the Browns a 31-27 win over the Vikings. It was the Browns first win of the season and Rob Chudzinski's first win as an NFL head coach.
Hoyer finished 30-of-54 for 321 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Trailing 27-24 with 3:22 to play, the Browns took over on their own 45 after forcing the Vikings to punt. After incompletions on first and second down, Hoyer hit Josh Gordon on third and 12 to the Vikings' 41 for the first down. After a short run, Hoyer hit Chris Ogbonnaya for 11 yards to the 30.
After an incomplete pass, Hoyer hit Cameron for 13 yards to the 17. The next play was a 10-yard play to Gordon to the seven. On first-and-goal, Hoyer threw incomplete to Greg Little. After back-to-back incomplete passes, Hoyer found Cameron in the corner of the end zone behind Harrison Smith to give the Browns the lead and the win.
After a three-and-out to start the game, Hoyer led the Browns to a touchdown on the second drive as he hit Gordon for a 47-yard score. On the drive, he was 3-of-3 for 67 yards. On the next possession, Hoyer found Cameron for a 19-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.
Hoyer led the Browns down field for a field goal on the third drive and then a fake field goal resulted in another Cameron touchdown as holder Spencer Lanning threw the ball to an uncovered Cameron for the score.
Hoyer's first half was spoiled as he threw an interception to Smith with 47 seconds to play in the first half. Two more interceptions in the second half and three sacks resulted in lesser production in the second half
24 points none in second half.
In the first half, Hoyer was 14-of-23 for 174 yards with two touchdowns and one interception and no sacks. In the second half, he was 16-of-27 for 147 yards with one touchdown,two interceptions and three sacks.
However, his second half was less than spectacular.
Hoyer was sacked for the first time with less than three minutes to play in the third quarter. after the Browns had given up 11 sacks in the first two games.
The Browns were driving to start the second half in Vikings territory until Hoyer threw his second interception inside the 30. The offense seemed to come to a grinding halt after Hoyer's interception. He threw another one deep in Browns' territory and the Vikings tied the game 24-24 after starting on the 11.
Return of Gordon: WR Josh Gordon made his presence felt returning from the two game suspension. He caught 10 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown, which is a career best. He also ran once for 22 yards. His first catch was a 47 yard touchdown pass from Hoyer on a double move. He then ran a reverse for 22 yards. He had 4 receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Gordon failed to get his feet inbound on a big third down play in the third quarter.
Trickery: The Browns had two big plays on special teams. On fourth-and-one from their own 38, the Browns lined up for a punt and snapped it to the up back DB Josh Aubrey, who ran 34 yards to the Vikings 28. The Browns converted the play into a 38 yard field goal to take a 17-14 lead in the second quarter. They took a 24-14 lead on a fake field goal on a pass from P Spencer Lanning to TE Jordan Cameron. Lanning is the holder for field goals and he took the snap and threw to a wide open Cameron.
Lanning's Day: P Spencer Lanning, not only punted five times for 46 yards. He threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to TE Jordan Cameron on a fake field goal. He later kicked a PAT to make the score 31-27 and force the Vikings to go for a touchdown on their final possession after K Billy Cundiff injured his quad.
Turnover Men: Besides the sacks, the Browns had two turnovers. DB T.J. Ward intercepted a pass that was tipped by LB Craig Robertson and returned it to the 38. Robertson picked up a fumble after a strip sack by OLB Jabaal Sheard, who stripped Ponder at the 10 and recovered to thwart a scoring opportunity and keep the score at 24-17 at the half. LB D'Qwell Jackson stripped RB Adrian Peterson of the ball and Sheard recovered.
Rainey, McGahee: RB Bobby Rainey started and got his first NFL carry for one yard. He had 4 carries for 17 yards. RB Willis McGahee made his debut and had 8 carries for just 9 yards. DB Josh Aubrey led the Browns on 34 yards on a fake punt and RB Chris Ogbonnay had 23 yards on two carries.
Weeden, Lauvao Inactive: The Browns inactives were: QB Brandon Weeden, LB Quentin Groves, OL Shawn Lauvao, OL Martin Wallace, TE Keavon Milton, DL Armonty Bryant and Patrick Lewis.
Little Kick return: After being demoted from starting at receiver, WR Greg Little was back as the kick returner. He didn't get a chance to return any kickoffs as each was kicked out of the end zone. in the third quarter, he ran his first one out for a 25 yard return.
Sack Attack: The Browns had six sacks, including one by DL Desmond Bryant on the game's final play. DL Billy Winn, DL Jabaal Sheard, LB Barkevious Mingo, DL John Hughes and DL Phil Taylor. It was Mingo's second sack in as many games. Sheard stripped sacked QB Christian Ponder on the final play of the first half to stop the Vikings from scoring. LB Paul Kruger and Mingo had pressure constantly.
Gipson Troubles: DB Tashaun Gipson was beat on a 27-yard pass play to WR Greg Jennigs on the first drive, as well as a 20-yard play on the same drive. He also missed a chance to tackle RB Adrian Peterson on his touchdown run. Later, Gipson broke up a deep pass intended for WR Jerome Simpson.
AP: RB Adrian Peterson started strong as he scored on the first possession. However, the Browns limited him to just 88 yards on 25 carries. He caught six passes for 27 yards and he fumbled once.
Injuries: K Billy Cundiff injured his quad and P Spencer Lanning kicked the final PAT. It was important as it forced the Vikings to score a touchdown instead of a game tying field goal on their last possession.
Jordan's the Man: TE Jordan Cameron scored three touchdowns and finished with six catches for 66 yards. WR Davone Bess had 7 catches for 67 yards. Cameron had 3 receptions for 41 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
Bad Play Benji: After the Browns had scored 10 straight points to take a 24-14 lead, PR Travis Benjamin muffed a punt return and the Vikings recovered on the Browns 26. The Vikings were forced to punt back after the Browns after just three plays. The Vikings converted the miscue into a field goal by K Blair Walsh. Later in the game, WR Davone Bess was in the punt return position.