If there’s one thing you have to admire in his season full of ups and downs, Brandon Weeden has a short memory. In week six – and on his birthday – against the Cincinnati Bengals, Weeden showed his cool, calm, and collect side to lead the Cleveland Browns in a second half come back home victory over the Bengals. This was the first win in almost a year for the Browns.
The birthday boy would have to battle adversity for much of the contest. In the first quarter on a solid chains moving drive, the just turned 29 year old threw his 10th interception of the year. On the 9th play of Cleveland’s 59 yard drive, Weeden’s pass would be tipped up in the air at the line of scrimmage and picked off by Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson. The Browns’ rookie quarterback did not hang his head and bounced right back up. On a day where the Browns really needed a win, Weeden threw for 231 yards, two touchdowns, and his second best qb rating of his professional career, 92.7.
For Weeden, it really looks like the game is slowing down more. His reads were as good as I have seen all season and he didn’t try to force any errant throws. Putting some serious zip on the football in the swirling winds of Lake Erie, he hit eight different receivers on the day including a well thrown 71 yard touch pass to fellow rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon that went for six. Despite the win being a team effort, Weeden shined when it mattered.
As Cleveland produced second half stops, turnovers, and returns for great field position, the rookie from Oklahoma State University found ways to put points on the board. What makes Weeden’s effort more telling is that he did it without his huge safety valve Trent Richardson. Richardson injured his ribs and did not return.
Although it took six games to get the monkey off of his back, Weeden earned his first win in the NFL and rightfully so. If he can develop better pocket presence and awareness, the Browns may have finally found the answer to their prayers at quarterback.
Cleveland heads to Lucas Oil Field this Sunday to face the Indianapolis Colts and the number one overall pick Andrew Luck. Can Weeden beat Luck again like he did in college? It should be a fun one.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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