CLEVELAND — Where has all the cawing gone?

"The Crow" could have been a hero.

For a moment, he actually was.

Isaiah Crowell scored two touchdowns to bring the Browns to the brink of a miracle comeback against the Steelers in Pittsburgh in the 2014 season opener. In the rematch against the Steelers, Crowell ran 11 times for 77 yards in a 31-10 win.

In a Thursday night romp over the Bengals in Cincinnati that improved the Browns' 2014 record to 6-3, "The Crow" scored a touchdown. In the win over the Falcons in Atlanta that lifted the team to 7-4, he ran 12 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns.

By then, it was a sure thing that when Crowell would make a play, a hundred people would tweet a single word: "Caw." Since then, the Browns are 4-50-1. The cawing grew very quiet.

Crowell will be back as the No. 1 runner for the New York Jets in Thursday night's game.

He departed without fanfare, viewed by critics as an average starter at best with weak field vision, but with serious supporters. On the Monday after a December stop in Cleveland as a network analyst, Chris Spielman said Crowell's rugged effort was his most positive takeaway about the Browns.

Crowell's 4.3 average in 737 career carries with the Browns was respectable, and his 4.8 average in 2016 was among the league's best. Through two games with the Jets, he has run for 137 yards (6.2 average) and two touchdowns.

"He is averaging over 6 yards a carry right now," said Browns coach Hue Jackson, who got 32 starts and 1,805 yards out of Crowell in 2016 and 2017. "He has done some good things."

Jackson didn't mention Crowell gave the Jets 10.2 yards per carry in his debut, a 48-17 win at Detroit, but just 2.9 in Game 2, a 20-12 home loss to the Miami Dolphins.

In four years on the Lake Erie shore, "The Crow" could be a beast one moment and a bust the next.

At the start of the 2016 season, for example, he ran 61 times for 394 yards in the first four games. In the next five, he ran 51 times for 134 yards.

It remains to be seen whether the Browns have upgraded by adding Carlos Hyde, drafting Nick Chubb and retaining Duke Johnson. Hyde has 38 of the trio's 51 carries so far but has generated just 105 yards (2.8 average).

Thursday night's matchup with Crowell pits the ex-Brown against a run defense that has allowed 221 yards (3.8 per carry). It's also Crowell vs. Hyde (or Chubb, if the Browns deem it time to turn loose the rookie).

Jackson elaborated on Crowell, saying, "He brings quickness, suddenness and speed. He is a tough, competitive player. We have to tackle him. They are going to give it to him, that is for sure.”

Jets coach Todd Bowles' take reflects Spielman's.

“We really like him. He is a tough-minded grinder. He runs well, blocks well and catches well,” Bowles said.

Chris Smith, who has played about two-thirds of the defensive-line snaps as a first-year Brown, faced Crowell twice in 2017 while with the Cincinnati Bengals.

"He's like a one-cut guy," Smith said. "When he gets confidence early, he can really get going. That's one thing. We've got to take his confidence at the beginning of the game.

"Their run game in general is a zone scheme. They try to get you running sideways. You've got to do a real good job of knocking the line of scrimmage back and being square."

Browns linebacker Joe Schobert was Crowell's teammate the past two years.

“Crow is definitely a fast and explosive runner," said Schobert, who has played all 150 of the defensive snaps. "He has good balance. He can hit that one cut, downhill. You can't let him get a head of steam.”

Second-year Browns safety Jabrill Peppers said, "I actually think he was very productive last year. Tough to tackle, very elusive, surprising speed, and I think he actually slimmed down. He looks a lot faster on tape."

Crowell had a middling game against the Jets last year, giving the Browns 60 yards on 16 carries in a 17-14 Browns loss.

"He was just over here last year, cracking jokes with us, and now he's on the opposite team," linebacker James Burgess said. "He'll definitely have a chip on his shoulder."