After losing the first two games of their season and things generally looking very grim it appeared that the Cleveland Browns were in for yet another miserable season. When they traded Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts prior to Week 3 and reportedly put wide receiver Josh Gordon on the market at the same time appeared as if the Browns front office was waving the white flag themselves. After all how could a team that was already brutally awful afford to lose one of their best players and try to get rid of another solid player and not be considered to be vying for the top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft?
Oh how two weeks can change things.
Since this apparent attempt by the Browns front office to sabotage their franchise’s season the team has won their Week 3 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings by a 31-27 scoreline and then won 17-6 over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4. These wins have been sparked by the offense gaining steam and the defense continuing to improve, and in the process it has brought hope back to fans in Cleveland.
On the offensive side of the football the implementation of Brian Hoyer as quarterback in place of Brandon Weeden has seemed to bring a sense of stability to an offense that scored one touchdown in its first two games. Hoyer has been 55-of-92 passing with 590 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions, while showing exceptional poise in the pocket and the ability to stretch the field with the long ball. This contribution has been extremely important to the Browns’ revival, especially when one considers that the Browns have only rushed for 192 yards during the last two games.
Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball the Browns improved exceptionally from Week 3 to 4, which is remarkable considering they improved against a Bengals team that has offensive threats A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham. This improvement was marked by the Browns’ ability to get to Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, sacking him twice, hitting him two more times and deflecting ten passes. While they are still not a perfect unit by any means, it appears that the Browns’ defense has taken a significant step in the right direction and are by no means a pushover.
In the end the Cleveland Browns have gone from a team that looked destined and willing to finish the season with one of the worst records in the NFL to a playoff contender in a matter of two weeks . After all their 2-2 record has them tied for the lead of the AFC North, and after watching them fight back from being a laughingstock of a franchise it will be hard to count out the Browns from accomplishing some remarkable things during the rest of the 2013 season.
So much for that tanking the season thing.