The 2013 Cleveland Browns took the field Sunday afternoon with a completely different look compared to the previous two weeks. Subtract Browns' starting running back Trent Richardson who was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a first round pick in 2014 Wednesday afternoon. Add Cleveland's leading wide receiver from 2012 Josh Gordon who played in his first game of the year coming off a two game suspension for violating league substance abuse policy. The Browns also signed veteran running back Willis McGahee to try and fill the void the Richardson trade left in the back field.
Lets not forget 27 year old quarterback Brian Hoyer. He got the start today in Minnesota in place of injured quarterback Brandon Weeden as the Browns took on the Vikings in a week three match up. Hoyer started off with a bang driving six plays for 68 yards capping off with a 47 yard touchdown pass to Gordon.
On the next drive Hoyer took the Browns down the field again seven plays for 82 yards ending with a 19 yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Cameron. Hoyer finished 30-for-54 for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Gordon led the receivers with 10 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown. Cameron continued his superb play so far this season as he caught six passes for 66 yards and 3 touchdowns, one of those touchdowns coming on a pass from punter Spencer Lanning on a fake field goal.
The key drive for this young offense came late in the fourth quarter as Hoyer relied on his offensive weapons Gordon and Cameron going 55 yards in 11 plays to put Cleveland in position to take the lead. Cameron caught his third touchdown pass of the game on a touch pass to the corner of the end zone to put the Browns ahead and give them the win over the Vikings 31-27.
Ray Horton's bone crushing defense proved to be key in Cleveland's first victory of the year. Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder was on the run the entire contest. The young 3-4 Cleveland defense turned in big performances Sunday afternoon as Barkevious Mingo, Desmond Bryant, Jabal Sheard, John Hughes, former first round pick Phil Taylor and Billy Winn each recorded sacks in the win over Minnesota. Veteran safety T.J. Ward had the Browns' lone interception also turning in eight tackles. Vikings' star running back Adrian Peterson had a somewhat quiet afternoon being held to 3.5 yards per carry with his longest rush only being nine yards.
Next week the (1-2) Cleveland Browns look for their second victory of 2013 as they return home to First Energy Stadium next Sunday and take on inner state rival Cincinnati Bengals in an AFC North match up. The Bengals led by quarterback Andy Dalton and star receiver A.J. Green are (2-1) and have sole possession of first place in the division. Kickoff is at 1:05 PM ET.