Since staring the season 0-2, the Browns have won 2 straight with Brian Hoyer as QB.Week 5 of the NFL season begins tonight as the Buffalo Bills make the short trip to northeast Ohio to take on the Cleveland Browns. Here are a few storylines to follow heading into the game.
1. This is the second straight season the Bills will play in Cleveland (Buffalo won 24-14 in Week 3 last season). The Bills have won five of the last eight meetings overall, including three of the last four in Cleveland.
2. The Bills have scored at least 20 points in each of their four games this season under rookie QB EJ Manuel.
EJ Manuel This Season
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since the merger in 1970, there has been only one other team to score as many as 20 points in each of their first four games of a season while being led by a rookie QB. That was by the 2012 Washington Redskins and Robert Griffin III.
After opening the season completing just over 68 percent of his passes over the first two games, Manuel has come back to earth, completing just 45 percent of his throws.
If the Browns win tonight, Hoyer will become the first Browns quarterback to win his first three starts with the team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Why has Cleveland been better under Hoyer than Brandon Weeden?
Browns QB This Season
Throws 10 Yards or Fewer
It starts with decision making. Hoyer is getting rid of the ball an average of 2.8 seconds after the snap, the best average in the NFL. In his two starts, Weeden took 4.3 seconds on average, the worst mark in the league.
Another area where Hoyer has been much better than Weeden is on short throws. On passes thrown 10 yards or fewer, Howyer is completing almost 70 percent with three touchdowns.
4. C.J. Spiller scored three rushing touchdowns in the first two games of the 2012 season, but has just three running scores in the 18 games since (including no rushing touchdowns in six straight games). By comparison, the Browns (along with the St. Louis Rams) are the only teams without a rushing score this season.
Spiller is averaging 1.2 yards per rush after contact this season, tied for the second worst rate in the NFL. Last season, he averaged 2.1 yards per rush after contact, fifth best in the league.
5. Jordan Cameron has accounted for five of Cleveland’s seven touchdowns this season. Four of his five receiving scores have come since Hoyer took over as the starting quarterback.