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Browns Defeat the Vikings: 3 Plays that Changed the Game

Sep 22, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Browns punter Spencer Lanning (5) throws a touchdown pass against the Minnesota Vikings on a fake field goal in the second quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Browns win 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

In most games a couple plays can mean the difference between a win and a loss for both teams. The day after we will review such plays that led to either a Browns’ win or loss, hopefully more wins then losses. We will look how it could of effected the rest of the game and who great of an impact said play had.

Fake FG for a Touchdown

The Browns were up 3 following failing to get it into the endzone from the 20 yard line on their previous possession. Another field goal puts them in the same position they have been in the last 2 games, up 6 which means a touchdown by the Vikings erases their lead. Instead Tight End Jordan Cameron acts like there were too many players on the field, runs off to the sideline but stays in the game. They snap the field goal try back to punter Spencer Lanning, pictured above, who throws it out to a wide open Cameron who finishes at the goal line while being tackled, Browns up 10.

Impact: Instead of the Vikings having confidence that 1 touchdown drive could take the lead they instead were facing a 10 point deficit. While they continued to run the ball and stay within their game plan, the point difference ended up being the difference in the game.

Effect: High. The confidence this instilled in the team and the excitement in the players was huge. The team continued to push and show great effort throughout the game as they finally didn’t “settle” for 3 points in a crucial situation. It also allowed the 3 Hoyer INTs to have less of an impact on the team.

Sheard Sack/Fumble of Ponder Near End of 1st Half

The Vikings took over after a Hoyer pick at the 46 yard line and only 47 seconds to go. They were able to drive down the field to the 10 yard line with only a few seconds left but 1 timeout remaining. On 2nd and goal from the 10 Ponder dropped back and was sacked by Jabaal Sheard which caused a fumble recovered by the Browns as time ran out on the half.

Impact: The Vikings trailed by 7 and the Browns were getting the ball after half. A field goal at minimum was a given but Ponder’s poor decision making led to no points. Instead of the Browns being up 4, or tied, going into half (after giving up 2 straight scores) they went into a half with a big defensive turnover.

Effect: Medium-High – Those 3, or 7 points, were important as was the momentum. The Browns defense stepped up for the mistake by Hoyer that gave the Vikings good field position. The Vikings on the other hand continue to struggle with confidence in their young signal caller.

Hoyer to Cameron for Game Winner

With just under a minute to go in the game, with the Browns down 3, Hoyer had driven the team to the 7 yard line and faced a third down. Cameron ran a fade pattern against a DB and Hoyer dropped the ball where only Cameron could catch it. This throw had oft been seen by Browns fans, except it normally was out of bounds and uncatchable. The Browns took a 4 point lead with 51 seconds remaining.

Impact: A bad throw, or failing to catch the ball, would of led to a FG attempt by the punter Lanning, with Kicker Billy Cundiff hurt. The Vikings would have a chance to kick a field goal to win the game or the game goes into overtime where all bets are off.

Effect: High - The Vikings did drive the ball on their next series and could of attempted a long field goal to win the game. Overtime, without a kicker, would of been dangerous for the Browns who were emotionally spent and without much of a running game.

Any other plays we should of focused on? How would they of impacted and effected the game?

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Topics: Cleveland Browns, Key Plays, Minnesota Vikings, Nfl, Week 3

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  • Lars McDougal

    vikings have no talent and won’t win a game this season.

    • Jared Mueller

      Lars looks like your a Vikings fan, how different is the team then they were last year when they made the playoffs?

  • KevVc1

    I certainly dont believe Ponder is playing well but to characterize the Sack and fumble as a poor decision by Ponder is ridiculous. Sheard blew right by Loadholt like he was standing still and caught him right as he was throwing. Was it a devastating blow to the Vikes? Absolutely! but the blame goes to loadholt for terrible pass blocking in a key situation.

    • Jared Mueller

      Kev,

      I see your point. Ponder’s football IQ shows that feeling any type of pressure is not his strong suite. I’m also not sure the decision to pass in that situation was best for the team either. How does Loadholt normally look to you? Is this same old same old or just a bad play?

      • KevVc1

        Loadholt historically has been a much better run blocker than pass protector. He also struggles more against speed rushers. That being said, the entire line hasnt lived up to the expectations they set a year ago as evidenced not only by Ponder being sacked the 6th most in the league (not to mention hurries and hits) but by Peterson rushing way below what he was averaging last year. I would agree that the Vikings play calling on both sides of the ball have been suspect at best and atrocious at times.

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