Positives: The Browns have once again found a way to claw out another victory.
Josh Gordon: Now that’s what a #1 receiver looks like! With 8 receptions on 16 targets, Gordon was able to go for 120 yards. Gordon also had a huge play on a fumbled reverse, where he picked up the ball and threw it down field. What should have been a 3rd-and-24, turned out to be a 3rd-and-6. Also, was he ever really expected to play between 20 to 30 snaps?
Andrew Hawkins: With Josh Gordon returning it was expected that Hawkins’ usage would go down, and it did, as he only saw 5 targets in the game. However, he was able to catch all 5 passes thrown his way, and was able to gain 93 in the process. Hawkins is still on pace for a 1,000 yard season and 70+ receptions.
Run Defense: Yes, I realize that the Falcons run game isn’t exactly the greatest, but still the Browns defense only allowed 63 rush yards in the game. The 63 rush yards allowed was the lowest the Browns have allowed all season. The Falcons ran the ball 23 times, gaining an average of 2.7 yards a carry.
Billy Cundiff: Save for a 60-yarder that he should never have attempted at the end of the first half, Cundiff was 4-for-4, including the game winning 37-yard field goal.
The Crow: Before the game, I was given an omen, as at least 150 crows took refuge in the trees outside my apartment complex and woke me up at 7:00 am. Then, “The Crow”, Isaiah Crowell, rumbled for 88 yards on 12 carries, as he scored twice for the now 7-4 Cleveland Browns.
The Offense: Yes, I’m giving them a check plus. They gained a season high 475 on 71 plays, as they averaged 6.7 yards a play. The return of Josh Gordon seemed to do wonders for the offense, that or the Falcons defense is just that bad.
Paul Kruger: Kruger increased his season sack total to 8.0 on the season, after he registered 2 more against Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Kruger has really stepped up his game in his second season with the Browns.
Joel Bitonio: Bitonio had the biggest tackle of the game, when he took down Falcons return man Devin Hester, who made it 70 yards after returning a missed 60-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half before Bitonio was able to tackle him. Had Bitonio not made the tackle, it would have been a 21-13 Falcons lead at the half.
10-loss seasons: With the Browns winning their 7th game of the season, it officially ends the string of 6 straight seasons in which they lost at least 10 games.
Negatives: If the Browns would have lost, would we have been graced with Manziel in week 13? The world may never know.
Brian Hoyer: Has Hoyer made a deal with the devil? Arguably playing his worst game of the season, going 23-for-40 for 332 yards, 0 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, he was still able to drive the Browns down the field for the game winning field goal. All 3 of the interceptions he threw were all his fault, and his alone. He overthrew Josh Gordon twice, and stared at his tight end for ages, leading to his second interception. It shows you something about this Browns team, that their quarterback played so badly, but they were still able to win the game.
Clock Management: With 55 seconds left in the first half, and armed with 3 timeouts, the Browns decided not to use any until about 15 seconds left, forcing them to try a 60-yard field goal that almost went terribly wrong.
3rd-down Defense: The Falcons on the day were faced with 16 3rd-downs. They were able to complete 9 of those, almost all exclusively behind the arm of Matt Ryan.
Tashaun Gipson: One of best safeties in the league, Tashaun Gipson had to be carted off the field after a collision with Joe Haden. Hopefully it is nothing too serious, but it would be a mighty blow to the defense to lose him for any amount of time.
— Chris Sladoje (@CST_Doje)