Your Weekly Spartans in the NFL Report
Already 0-2 and headed for another disappointing season, the Cleveland Browns needed a miracle and a savior. Who better to play the part than hometown product and MSU alum Brian Hoyer?
Following the injury of starting quarterback Brandon Weeden, the Browns named Hoyer the starting quarterback for Sunday’s showdown with the Vikings. The news, announced in the afternoon on Wednesday, was soon overshadowed by the trade of star running back Trent Richardson. Announced a few hours later, the shocking deal shipped the former third overall pick to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first round draft pick. With a backup quarterback starting and the team’s best offensive weapon gone, the Cleveland faithful surrendered all hope heading into week three.
But when Hoyer stepped in for the Browns, something changed. The fifth-year pro sparked a long-dormant offense, tossing two touchdown passes in the first half alone. But the difference came in the fourth quarter. Faced with a three-point deficit, the North Olmsted, Ohio native led his team on an 11-play, 55-yard drive capped off by a seven-yard touchdown pass from Hoyer to tight end Jordan Cameron. The four-point lead would stand for the next 51 seconds, giving the Browns a 31-27 win over the Vikings and hope to a city sick of bad quarterbacks.
“You guys ask me a million times, ‘Does it mean more playing for your hometown team?’ Yes, obviously it does, and to win and get that first win is huge,” Hoyer told reporters after the game. “Now hopefully we can just build on it and keep it rolling.”
Hoyer finished the day with 314 yards and three touchdowns, completing 34 of the 50 passes he attempted.
“Just all those guys in that huddle, looking in their eyes when we went in there and right before that [game-winning] drive, they believed,” Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski said after the win. “Brian gave us a spark today and did a great job, made the plays down the stretch when you had to make the plays.”
49ers tight end Garrett Celek hauled in a 30-yard pass at the end of San Francisco’s 27-7 loss to the Colts. The catch was Celek’s first of the season.
The Spartan-Bengal duo of Kyle Cook and Domata Peko helped Cincinnati secure a 34-30 victory over the Packers on Sunday. Cook did not record any stats at center, while Peko racked up two tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, and a quarterback hit in the contest.
Cornerback Johnny Adams saw some playing time for the Bills, but did not have any stats in Buffalo’s 27-20 loss to the Jets in week three.
Dion Sims’ stat sheet from Sunday’s Dolphins-Falcons is not so impressive: one reception for one yard. But his catch was the most critical of the game. The rookie’s one-yard touchdown grab, the first of his career, gave Miami a last-minute 27-23 victory over Atlanta.
“I really didn’t think about the situation. I knew it was crunch time, so I just went out and treated it like it was practice. We had run that play several times in practice…I just used my instincts,” Sims said to the Palm Beach Post of his over-the-shoulder catch. “The linebacker grabbed my other hand, so I hand no choice but to grab it with [that] one. Tannehill made a great throw. I just needed him to throw it over the top.”
Fellow Dolphin Brandon Fields also played a key role in Miami’s win, forcing the Falcons to work with bad field position for much of the game. Fields booted the ball three times for an average of 53 yards, pinning Atlanta inside its own 20 yard line once, with his long punt being of 56 yards.
Rookie defensive end William Gholston notched one assist for the Buccaneers during their 23-3 loss to the Patriots on Sunday.
Keshawn Martin had a busy day on Sunday. The second-year wideout caught two passes for 35 yards, returned two punts for 18 yards and two kicks for 55 yards. Martin’s efforts went for naught, however, as the Texans fell to the Ravens, 30-9.
Backup quarterback Nick Foles did not see any action for the Eagles in Philadelphia’s 26-16 loss to the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football.
Kellen Davis reeled in two passes for his new team, the Seahawks, during Seattle’s 45-17 rout of the Jaguars. The veteran tight end’s two receptions went for 31 yards in the big win.
The Broncos schooled the Raiders on Monday Night Football, cruising to a 37-21 victory over Oakland. Denver defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson tabbed one tackle in the win.
Pittsburgh RB Le’Veon Bell was inactive for his team’s 40-23 loss to the Bears on Sunday evening. The rookie running back is expected to return for the Steelers’ matchup with the Vikings in London on Sunday, according to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports. The Steelers are in desperate need of a dominant force in the backfield, as Bell’s replacements have only managed 124 yards in three games. Expectations for LeVeon are that he WILL play next week.
Green Bay DT Jerel Worthy is still on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list due to a knee injury and unable to play for the Packers until October 20.