Hoyer leads second-half comeback

Posted Aug 29, 2013

CHICAGO -- Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer engineered two second-half scoring drives in the 18-16 win over the Chicago Bears in the preseason finale at Soldier Field.

CHICAGO -- Quarterback Brian Hoyer did not officially find out that he would get the start in the preseason finale against the Chicago Bears until Thursday morning, and despite a shaky start, the five-year veteran engineered two second-half scoring drives to lead the Cleveland Browns to an 18-16 victory.

Hoyer, who played the whole game after coach Rob Chudzinski elected to rest his starters and backup quarterback Jason Campbell suffered from flu-like symptoms, completed 24 of 35 attempts for 307 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.

“I always prepare myself like I’m going to start, regardless of when it is,” Hoyer said. “I got some good work in practice this week as we were preparing for Chicago. I was really excited, and it worked out. It’s awesome, especially with the last two weeks and how things played out. We only got a few series here and there. It’s just good, going forward, to play a whole game and run some plays I haven’t run before and get them in game action.

“Football is football. Last year, I started against the (San Francisco) 49ers after being somewhere for two weeks. You go out and play and get in a rhythm. When you get things going, you get things going. It doesn’t matter who’s in there. It’s not always going to be that way, especially in the situation for me where my name could get called at a moment’s notice. You’ve got to get in there and play.”

Hoyer was sacked once for a seven-yard loss, incurred three other quarterback hits, and was forced to scramble for 18 yards when he was flushed out of the pocket four times.

On the Browns’ first offensive play from scrimmage, Hoyer completed a 45-yard pass to wide receiver Josh Gordon down the left sideline. However, two plays later, Hoyer again targeted Gordon with a pass, but Bears cornerback Demontre Hurst jumped the route, intercepted the pass and returned it 17 yards.

However, in the second half, Hoyer went 11 of 17 for 100 yards and the touchdown, 14-yard strike to tight end Dan Gronkowski with 6:47 remaining in the game.

“I thought he did a really nice job and showed a lot of poise in there,” Chudzinski said. “(He) took a couple hits and bounced back and was able to engineer what he needed to do. We were running out of guys there toward the end, and that typically happens in your fourth game, but there were a bunch of guys that sucked it up and fought through it and were able to get the win.”

To Hoyer, handling the adversity and continuing to lead the team despite a double-digit second-half deficit was just part of the job description.

“That’s what you’re supposed to do,” Hoyer said. “You’ve got to keep battling. I don’t care if it’s the fourth preseason game or the last game of the year. You’re out there to win. It doesn’t matter who’s out there. You play the game to win. You don’t just play to play.

“We struggled. We shot ourselves in the foot a bunch in the first half. We’d get something going, and then, we had an interception that was on me, a holding (penalty) and things like that. We kind of put it together. The defense did a great job, got the turnover and we were able to capitalize. It’s just good to see when you grind it out. You’re not always going to win big, and I know it’s kind of cliché, but a win is a win, and hopefully, we can take that mentality and momentum into the regular season.”

Click here for the photo gallery from the Browns' 18-16 win over the Chicago Bears.

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