MINNEAPOLIS -- Welcome back to the Cleveland Browns and the NFL Josh Gordon.
The second-year Browns wide receiver missed the first two games of the regular season while serving a league-mandated two-game suspension because of a failed drug test, and when he lined up against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at the H.H.H. Metrodome Sunday, Gordon made an immediate impact in the 31-27 road win.
Gordon caught a career-high 10 passes for 146 yards and one touchdown, and also gained 22 yards on an end-around run. Gordon had 103 yards receiving at halftime of the win.
“I was definitely excited to be out there, was really amped up about it,” Gordon said. “I think we came out there to do exactly what we did. That’s how I saw it from the beginning. From the start of the suspension, I knew this week was going to have to be a huge one for me.
“Emotionally, it was definitely a big game for me. I wanted to feel that way, not only for me, but for the rest of the team, so if I could help our other guys up, get them motivated, never get down, I tried to rally the guys on the sidelines as much as I could.”
“He came up huge, made a lot of big plays for us, and I think that opened up a lot of different things for other guys as well,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said.
On the Browns’ second drive against the Vikings, Hoyer threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Gordon, which tied the game at 7-7 with 4:42 left to play in the first quarter.
“It was a Cover Two look, and the safety stayed in tight,” Gordon recalled. “The cornerback bit on the fake really hard with the double move, and I was able to squeeze around him. Brian threw the perfect pass, and I was able to take it in.”
When the Browns took a 14-7 lead over the Vikings with Hoyer’s touchdown pass to tight end
Earlier in the drive, Hoyer completed a 30-yard pass to Gordon on a slip screen. After Gordon caught the ball near the line of scrimmage, he fought his way through several Vikings defenders before being driven out of bounds.
“On the screen play, that’s something we’ve been working on all week,” Gordon said. “I’ve been doing it since college, so I’ve got some experience with the play, but at that point, I knew I shouldn’t let the first guy tackle me and if I could make the second guy miss, I could get a first down.
“On the end-around, we’ve been working on it because we knew people weren’t going to be looking for me to run the ball out of the backfield as big as I am. We believed I had the speed to bend the corner and get some yardage, at least a first down.”
After his successful debut in 2013, Gordon is hoping to continue making an impact for the Browns’ offense.
“These guys are here, and they’re fired up,” Gordon said of his teammates. “They want to win just as badly as I do. Coach talked before the game about somebody starting a spark, starting a fire. Everybody felt that today. It was a very emotional game and we knew we had to come out here and prove something this week.
“I want to be a Cleveland Brown, and I want to help this organization as much as possible. I love the offense. I love (offensive coordinator) Norv (Turner), and Coach Chud. They’re great guys and I’m learning a lot from a wide receiver standpoint.”