The Cleveland Browns' playoff hopes took a devastating blow on Sunday, as the Indianapolis Colts rallied to come out on top by a score of 25-24. If QB Brian Hoyer had the locker room heading into this game, it's hard to imagine he has much support left.
The Browns' defense put up an absolutely outstanding effort against QB Andrew Luck, intercepting him two times, one for a pick six, and also strip sacking him for a touchdown. Luck was sacked three times and completed just 44% of his passes. Given the explosiveness of the Colts' offense, we knew it was only a matter of time before Indianapolis would score.
The inexcusable part for the Browns' offense is that they had a 21-7 lead at one point, and still held a 24-19 lead after the half-way point of the fourth quarter. The Colts had a 4th-and-1 at the 3 yard line with 0:44 to play, and they chose to hand off to RB Boom Herron. The Browns appeared to stop Herron, but a last ditch spin move allowed him to get the first down. On the next play, Luck hit WR T.Y. Hilton for the go-ahead touchdown.
With just 0:28 to play, Hoyer launched a bomb to WR Josh Gordon, who got behind the Colts' defense...but he midjudged the ball and couldn't come away from it. That killed any last ditch effort the Browns had as Hoyer was intercepted two plays later.
The Browns have fallen to 7-6 on the season, and while they still have a glimmer of hope at the postseason, it'll be rough. They'd have to win their final three games (Cincinnati, Carolina, Baltimore) and also get some help. The Steelers and Ravens both won today, so Cleveland is a full game behind both of them in last place of the AFC North.
Hoyer was completely ineffective against a Colts defense that was missing their top cornerback and allowed two wide open receivers deep who Hoyer overthrew. If this is a fair competition at quarterback, you have to make the switch next week -- any mental knowledge that Hoyer might have over QB Johnny Manziel isn't enough to keep the rookie quarterback down any longer.
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