Two former Spartans are beginning to experience significant success in the National Football League, particularly in the Rust Belt. The NFL is TRULY a business and their performance has made NFL betting very interesting.  Pittsburgh Steelers running back LeVeon Bell and Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer are getting a shot at the starting role at their respective positions. Both have wowed fans and coaches alike thus far and made the Spartan Nation quite proud.  

Any decent quarterback can have one good week in the National Football League. So when Cleveland Browns signalcaller Brian Hoyer threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday, September 22 in a 31-27 win over the Vikings, many prognosticators were impressed, but not convinced. But after another strong outing on Sunday in a 17-6 victory over the Bengals, Hoyer’s critics are remarkably quiet.

During his homecoming to his native Northeast Ohio, Hoyer showcased smart decision making against Cincinnati. Utilizing short passes, especially play-action pass plays, Hoyer kept the Browns offense moving against a solid Cincinnati defense. Hoyer led the offense down the field on touchdown drives of 95 and 91 yards, and also set up kicker Billy Cundiff for three field goal attempts. Finishing the game with 269 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Hoyer sealed the win over the division rival with one-yard swing pass to running back Chris Ogbannaya in the end zone, giving the Browns a 17-6 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the contest.

The lead would hold, evening Cleveland’s record at two and breathing life into a previously stagnant Browns offense. “Certainly he’s been the spark that I had hoped for and has led us to two games — winning two games,” Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski told Given control of an offense with few weapons and a lackluster rushing attack following an injury to starting signalcaller Brandon Weeden, Hoyer was not given much of a chance.

But the fifth-year quarterback has made the most of the opportunity, throwing for a combined 590 yards and five touchdowns in his two starts. Hoyer’s teammates have started to take notice of his leadership ability. “[Hoyer] is very confident and I think the team feeds off of that,” tight end Jordan Cameron told “In the huddle, he’s confident and he’s focused and very driven. During the last scoring drive he was very adamant, same as last week, saying, ‘Guys, make a play, we’ve got this, we’re going to be fine.’”

Many outside of the team’s facility in Berea have also begun to show confidence in the North Olmsted, Ohio native. Phil Simms, Chris Mortenson, Bernie Kosar, and Tom Brady are among the many to shower praise on Hoyer. Cleveland fans are beginning to believe, too. As Hoyer prepares for the team’s Thursday night showdown with the Buffalo Bills, a football-crazed Cleveland waits in anticipation to see what its hometown hero can do under the lights.  

Despite missing the first three games of the season due to a foot injury, rookie running back LeVeon Bell got the starting nod at running back on Sunday for Pittsburgh’s bout with the Vikings in London. Bell did not disappoint, living up to his reputation as a bruising back. In his first NFL game, Bell rushed 16 times for 57 yards and two touchdowns. He pounded the ball into the end zone from eight yards out in the first quarter and from the one yard line in the third quarter.

Using his 6’1, 244 pound frame, Bell punished Minnesota defenders and imposed his will inside the red zone. Bell looks to continue his success on Sunday, October 13 against the Buffalo Bills after Pittsburgh’s bye week. The rookie back will most likely shoulder the majority of the workload in the backfield, as Bell is the most talented player amongst the others the Steelers have at the position.

Joe Ginley is the newest writer for the Spartan Nation website and magazine. He writes Spartans in the NFL and State of the Spartans among other articles. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Joe brings a great passion for sports and a great flexibility in writing skills.

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