We're still ruffling through our notebook after Sunday's post-game interviews.
Here are the seven things said that stood out most to us close to 20 hours after the Browns' 17-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
- "I honestly didn't think he was going to run because of the whole car accident thing but he did and it is what it is." -- Browns defensive end Billy Winn on Carolina quarterback Cam Newton's rushing threat.
Despite the fact he'd been in a car accident 12 days earlier, Newton was his usual self with the ball tucked in his hands. He finished with 12 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown in his third-best rushing performance of the season. Though the Browns delivered some significant pressure when he was in the pocket, Newton made them pay with numerous scrambles that picked up first downs. Cleveland didn't have a chance to stop him on his bootleg, 2-yard touchdown run.
- "He was improvising on that. What happened was Jonathan kind of leaked out and found a spot in the end zone and Cam found him and hit him for the touchdown. It was one of those things, when you have a quarterback that doesn't necessarily look to run but looks down field you create opportunities, and that's what he did. He created an opportunity for us." -- Carolina coach Ron Rivera on Newton's game-winning touchdown pass to running back Jonathan Stewart
This goes hand in hand with the previous statement about the danger of a poised dual-threat quarterback. The Newton of a few years ago might not have had the patience to hang around and wait to make a throw to a guy who didn't even have a designed route. Those are the kinds of plays Duke Johnson Jr. could be capable of making on a regular basis if he continues to grow and develop as an NFL quarterback.
- "I'm a fan of his just like a lot of people are. But, there's a lot of things he has to learn and it's just a learning curve." Newton on Manziel
Newton may dwarf Manziel in size, but the two have so much in common when it pertains to their respective skill sets and the respective hype they've had to weather after winning the Heisman trophy. Manziel and Newton appear to have a good relationship and it's one that should benefit them both as they move forward in their respective careers.
- "If anything, it makes me more hungry to work in this offseason and get with these guys and stay on top of this stuff and come back next year and come out and try to have some success early in the season and sustain that through a season. That's obviously a long way from now, but just the way my mindset has flipped from being a guy that you never know when you are going to get a chance to go in and trying to stay on top of your stuff to being the guy for a couple weeks." -- Manziel
Manziel was fired up during his post-game press conference. This was a snippet of his final answer, which went on for more than a minute. It seems clear Manziel understands how important the upcoming offseason is toward his development.
- "Usually we throw a hot, like a little 5-yard route and it was definitely a hot they overloaded the pressure over there as I dropped back and saw there was no one replacing where the safety should be, so I just kind of just lofted it over. We knew Luke Kuechly all week that he studies our patterns and, in this case, it helped us because he took the underneath guy and drove it right over the top. Oddly enough, on the series where we kicked the field goal when I scrambled and it was little bit short, Jordan came over and was like, 'Hey, if I get that route again I am going to be wide open,' so he definitely called that one and I am laying on the ground just wondering if he was going to make it in." -- Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer on the origin of his 81-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Cameron
Essentially, the Browns took advantage of a player like Kuechly knowing them too well. It's a great example of the game within the game and how one misfire can ultimately lead to something as spectacular as Cameron's long touchdown catch.
- "Not a surprise. If you had said to me that happened and guess who did it he probably would have been the first or second name that I would have come up with. That's the type of play that he would make for sure." -- Browns coach Mike Pettine on Travis Benjamin's fumble recovery
We'll have a more in-depth breakdown of the play Tuesday, but as Hoyer said, the Browns would have likely been done on the spot if Benjamin didn't hustle like he did to force a fumble on a lengthy interception return that came after a pass intended to him on the opposite side of the field.
- "Kyle Shanahan in my helmet said you need to be able to get up, you have no other choice. I just couldn't breathe. The guy hit me, and pinged me and when you have all of that mass come down on you, it's hard to breath for a second or two. I wasn't going to be able to even call the play, I couldn't even breathe." -- Hoyer on the aftermath of a crushing sack in the fourth quarter
It was at that point when this question was raised: Who is the Browns' emergency quarterback? Pettine clarified that Manziel would have likely returned but would not have been mobile.