ATLANTA: After quarterback Brian Hoyer threw his third interception of the game and the second of the fourth quarter, he had forfeited virtually all hope the Browns would pull out a win Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome.
“I was down. I really was,” Hoyer said. “That last one, I felt like I lost the game for us.”
What went right: With 29 carries for 162 yards (5.6 average) and two touchdowns, the Browns had their best production in the running game since they racked up 30 carries for 183 yards (6.1 average) and two touchdowns in the season opener Sept. 7 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It also was their best effort on the ground since Pro Bowl center Alex Mack suffered a season-ending broken left fibula on Oct. 12 in a rematch against the Steelers. So did fill-in center Nick McDonald and the rest of the offensive line play better than they had the past five weeks? Did rookie running backs Isaiah Crowell (12 carries for 88 yards, 7.3 average, and two touchdowns) and Terrance West (14 carries for 62 yards, 4.4 average) shine because they were able to split carries in the aftermath of the team cutting veteran Ben Tate last week? Did the presence of All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon, who returned from a 10-game suspension, open running lanes? Perhaps those factors combined to yield the stellar production.
1. The Browns welcome back standout wide receiver Josh Gordon against the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome. Gordon is available for his first regular-season game after serving a 10-game suspension handed down by the NFL. Gordon is a game-breaker, leading the league in receiving yards in just 14 games last season with 1,646 yards, the league’s 10th most ever. Coach Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will seek to work Gordon into Cleveland’s offense this season. Quarterback Brian Hoyer has been spreading the ball around to Andrew Hawkins, Miles Austin, Taylor Gabriel and Travis Benjamin in Gordon’s absence.
28 & 34 — The jersey numbers of rookie running backs Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. These two will shoulder the workload for the remainder of the season after the Browns released opening-day starter Ben Tate last week.
“Anytime something bad happens in our area, I feel terrible about it. It’s painful. I probably can’t even describe it to you what it’s really like. At the end of the day, though, as a man I look myself in the mirror. Am I coaching the best I can? I need to do a little bit better.”
BEREA: After Browns tight end Jordan Cameron practiced Friday for the first time in nearly a month, he tapped on the photograph of his 5-year-old son, Tristan, hanging in his locker and explained he’s at peace with his decision to continue playing football despite suffering three documented concussions in less than two years.