The Browns loved it when K Dustin Hopkins made smoothies for the team the night before the game. That happiness boiled over to game day with his magnificent performance.
The Browns defeated the Colts 39-38 Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, breaking a 12-year drought. And Hopkins had a hand in the victory, as he had the best game of his career.
The Browns traded a seventh-round pick in the 2025 draft to the Chargers to acquire Hopkins on Aug. 28. Hopkins eventually replaced second-year K Cade York, who struggled during the preseason and was eventually waived by the Browns.
When Hopkins joined the Browns, there was belief from the coaching staff about his level of talent and what he would bring to their kicking game. Hopkins has done just that – plus more – through six games this season.
Last week, Hopkins was recognized for his success when he was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for scoring 13 points on five kicks, including field goals of 29, 42, 46 and 50 yards, and an extra point. This accounted for 13 of the Browns' 19 points in their victory over the 49ers in Week 6.
Hopkins has only missed two field goals this season. After Sunday, he improved his field goal percentage to 16-of-18, or 88.9 percent. He was given one of the three-game balls from HC Kevin Stefanski after their win over the Colts.
"Dustin was unbelievable in that game," Stefanski said. "He came through today. That 58-yard field goal was great."
Hopkins on Sunday was the unsung hero for the Browns as he scored 15 points. He made all three extra points and connected on all four field goal attempts, which ranged from 44, 54, 54, and 58 yards.
During the game, Hopkins set a new NFL record for five consecutive games where he made a field goal of at least 50 yards. He achieved this feat just before the halftime whistle by successfully hitting a 54-yard field goal. This gave the Browns a lead of 27-21 as they headed into the locker room.
Following his 54-yard kick, Hopkins was 5-of-5 from at least 50 yards, and he became 7-of-7 by the end of the day after hitting two more 50+ field goals. This is a significant improvement from his previous success rate of 50 percent (15-of-30) from that range at the beginning of the season. In addition, his seven 50-yard field goals have tied him for the most by a Brown in a season.
In the later part of the fourth quarter, Hopkins made his career personal best with a 58-yard field goal and gave the Browns a 33-31 lead. P Corey Bojorquez, the holder on the field goal, cheered for Hopkins and celebrated with a shimmy dance.
"Dustin did a hell of a job bailing us out time after time," QB P.J. Walker said.