The Brandon Weeden era in Cleveland appears over. That's the short takeaway from the Cleveland Browns' victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Brian Hoyer, formerly the Browns' third quarterback, now appears to be the man moving forward in Ohio.
Sure, Hoyer wasn't perfect. In fact, he was far from perfect, throwing three interceptions to go with his three touchdown passes. Still, Hoyer wasn't afraid to push the ball down the field, and it resulted in 24 first half points, something the Browns offense under Brandon Weeden was rarely, if ever, able to do.
In addition to better play at the quarterback position, it was obvious how little the Browns missed running back Trent Richardson, who was shipped to Indianapolis for a first round pick in next year's draft earlier this week. That was expected to be the story line of choice against the Vikings, but Hoyer's performance put Richardson's absence on the back burner.
As many answers as the Browns seemingly found, the Vikings are now coping with just as many questions. Christian Ponder was mediocre, and the Vikings' defense was unable to hold off the Browns after coming back from first half deficit.
The Vikings were unable to establish a dependable running game against the Browns, and with so much of their offense derived from the play action pass, the Vikings weren't able to play offense on their own terms.
The Browns probably won't be competing for a playoff birth later in the season, but signs are appearing that this isn't the same ole Browns, and in this case, that's a good thing. For the moment, Cleveland was able to remain near the AFC North leaders, and during early season play, that's the goal.