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Wednesday, September 25, 2013
QB Watch: Browns' Brian Hoyer

By Jamison Hensley

A weekly analysis of the Cleveland Browns' quarterback play:

Rewind: Replacing the injured Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer became the first quarterback in Browns history to throw for at least 300 yards in his debut with the team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He completed 30 of 54 passes for 321 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions Sunday, exploiting the Minnesota Vikings' 25th-ranked pass defense. Coach Rob Chudzinski hasn't named Hoyer the starting quarterback for this coming Sunday yet because Weeden could be available. But it would be surprising if Chudzinski pulled Hoyer after he led the Browns to a comeback win.

Fast-forward: It's going to be a tougher test against the Cincinnati Bengals than the Vikings. The Bengals are coming off a game in which they sacked Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers four times and intercepted him twice. What makes Cincinnati so tough against quarterbacks is the fact that the Bengals can get pressure with their front four, which allows them to drop seven defenders back into coverage. But, over the past four seasons, Browns quarterbacks have had 12 touchdowns and five interceptions against the Bengals.

Favorite target: Hoyer wasn't the only one making his 2013 debut this past Sunday. Wide receiver Josh Gordon was coming off a two-game suspension, and Hoyer certainly noticed he was on the field. More than one-third of Hoyer's throws -- 19 of 54 -- went in Gordon's direction. Also, 45 percent of Hoyer's passing yards were accounted for by Gordon.

Prediction: It's difficult to think Hoyer can produce a repeat performance. The Bengals haven't allowed Rodgers, Jay Cutler or Ben Roethlisberger to throw for more than 251 yards. But the Browns will continue to attack with Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron, especially if they fall behind. It could be another game in which Hoyer throws multiple touchdowns and interceptions.