Final

Browns 31

(1-2, 1-1 away)

Vikings 27

(0-3, 0-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, September 22, 2013

Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, MN 

1 2 3 4 T
CLE 7 17 0 731
MIN 7 10 7 327

Top Performers

Passing: B. Hoyer (CLE) - 321 YDS, 3 TD, 3 INT

Rushing: A. Peterson (MIN) - 25 CAR, 88 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: J. Gordon (CLE) - 10 REC, 146 YDS, 1 TD

Browns stun Vikings as QB Brian Hoyer leads way

Associated Press
NFL Sunday Blitz: Browns-Vikings Recap
Michele Steele and Tom Waddle break down the Browns week 3 win over the Vikings.Tags: NFL, recap, Sunday Blitz, week 3, Michele Steele, Tom Waddle, Browns, Vikings
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

MINNEAPOLIS -- The young running back was traded away, the third-stringer was picked to start at quarterback, and Cleveland's jaded fan base was already pushing this week for the first pick in next year's draft.

The Browns haven't given up on the season, though.

Minnesota's might be slipping away.

Jordan Cameron caught three touchdown passes, including the go-ahead grab in the back of the end zone with 51 seconds left, and the Browns kept the Vikings winless with a 31-27 victory Sunday.

"If you let the distractions that are outside of the locker room affect the way you play, then you are tanking the season and you will have no chance," said Joe Thomas, the three-time All-Pro left tackle.

Brian Hoyer threw for three scores in his second career start, and the Browns (1-2) became the latest team to torch Minnesota's struggling secondary, which lost top cornerback Chris Cook to a groin injury in the first quarter. Hoyer overcame three interceptions to throw for 321 yards, going 30 for 54. Josh Gordon had 10 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown in his season debut, and Cameron had six receptions for 66 yards.

"It's just a matter of believing in Brian and believing in ourselves, and we did a good job of that," Cameron said.

Christian Ponder ran for two touchdowns for the Vikings (0-3), but he threw an interception, lost a fumble and took his sixth sack on the final play of the game. The Vikings went three-and-out six times, twice in the fourth quarter when they could've put the game away.

Ponder almost hit Jerome Simpson in a crowd at the goal line on the penultimate play, but the Vikings didn't get closer than the 34.

"We've got to look ourselves in the mirror and change this around quickly, because we're going to make sure this doesn't steamroll and snowball downhill," Ponder said.

After scoring 16 points over the first two games, dealing 2012 first-round draft pick Trent Richardson to Indianapolis and putting Hoyer in for the injured Brandon Weeden, the Browns looked finished. They were behind 7-0 after a long Vikings touchdown drive and a 45-second possession of their own forced a punt.

But they held Adrian Peterson to 88 yards and one score on 25 rushes, used a fake punt and a fake field goal in the first half to build a lead and kept the Vikings from scoring after Hoyer's first two interceptions. The third one, by Erin Henderson, set up Ponder's scramble for 8 yards to tie the game late in the third quarter.

The Vikings got Blair Walsh's second field goal of the game with 10:47 remaining, but they stalled at the 12 and missed an opportunity there, too. The defense held the Browns without scoring for seven straight possessions, but like last week in the one-point loss at Chicago faltered on the final drive when the failure stung the most.

"I don't know if guys underestimated the Browns coming in or what the deal was, but we have to take a long look in the mirror and get better," said defensive end Jared Allen, who was held without a sack or a tackle and was credited with one quarterback pressure against Thomas.

The Browns started at their 45 with 3:21 left and finished the commanding march with a 7-yard pass by Hoyer to the corner for Cameron, the budding standout tight end Cameron who has 20 catches for 267 yards and four scores already this year.

Hoyer, who played for New England and Arizona after a nondescript career at Michigan State, grew up in a suburb of Cleveland rooting for the Browns. So he knew how the fans were feeling after the Richardson trade.

"I used to think that way, too. Hopefully this is a change," Hoyer said.

Hoyer, whose wife is due with the couple's second child on Oct. 21, joked he hoped he didn't send her into labor early with the wild finish. Trailing by three, the Browns could've settled for a short tying field goal. But kicker Billy Cundiff was hurting with a quadriceps problem, so that wasn't a guarantee.

"I told the guys in the huddle, `Let's just go win it right here," Hoyer said.

Game notes


Punter/holder Spencer Lanning threw the TD pass to Cameron on the fake FG in the second quarter. He also kicked the last extra point, with Cundiff hurting. According to the NFL, Lanning became the first player since 1968 with a punt, extra point and TD pass in one game. ... The Vikings have been out-sacked by their opponents 10-4. ... Referee Bill Leavy mistakenly penalized the Vikings after coach Leslie Frazier tried to challenge a ruling on a muffed punt in the second quarter. Minnesota should have lost a timeout instead.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Team Stat Comparison

 
CLE
MIN
1st Downs2321
Passing 1st downs
1811
Rushing 1st downs
49
1st downs from Penalties
11
3rd down efficiency
6-158-17
4th down efficiency
2-30-0
Total Plays7579
Total Yards409329
Yards per play5.54.2
Total Drives1415
Passing306195
Comp - Att
31-5525-42
Yards per pass
5.64.6
Interceptions thrown
31
Sacks - Yards Lost
3-266-33
Rushing103134
Rushing Attempts
1731
Yards per rush
6.14.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-33-5
Penalties5-474-35
Turnovers43
Fumbles lost
12
Interceptions thrown
31
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession28:5231:08

Passing Leaders

CLEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Hoyer30/543215.9333-26
Lanning1/11111.0100-0
MINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Ponder25/422285.4016-33

Rushing Leaders

CLECARYDSAVGTDLG
Aubrey13434.0034
Ogbonnaya22311.5022
MINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Peterson25883.519
Ponder5469.2214

Receiving Leaders

CLERECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Gordon1014614.614719
Bess7679.601510
MINRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Patterson24924.50374
Jennings34314.30276

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCLEMIN
minTD09:13Adrian Peterson 2 Yd Run (Blair Walsh Kick) 07
cleTD04:42Josh Gordon 47 Yd Pass From Brian Hoyer (Billy Cundiff Kick) 77
SECOND QUARTERCLEMIN
cleTD14:55Jordan Cameron 19 Yd Pass From Brian Hoyer (Billy Cundiff Kick) 147
minTD10:12Christian Ponder 6 Yd Run (Blair Walsh Kick) 1414
cleFG06:07Billy Cundiff 38 Yd 1714
cleTD03:39Jordan Cameron 11 Yd Pass From Spencer Lanning (Billy Cundiff Kick) 2414
minFG01:08Blair Walsh 43 Yd 2417
THIRD QUARTERCLEMIN
minTD02:36Christian Ponder 8 Yd Run (Blair Walsh Kick) 2424
FOURTH QUARTERCLEMIN
minFG10:47Blair Walsh 30 Yd 2427
cleTD00:51Jordan Cameron 7 Yd Pass From Brian Hoyer (Spencer Lanning Kick) 3127

Research Notes

From Elias: Brian Hoyer: 1st QB in Browns history to throw for at least 300 yards in his debut with the team.
Christian Ponder has a career-high 2 Rush TD today. He's the 1st QB with 2 Rush TD in a game this season and the 1st since Russell Wilson scored 3 times on the ground Week 15 last season.
The Browns have been using some trickeration against the Vikings today: - They scored a TD on a fake field goal. It was their first TD on a 4th down since Week 13 2011. - They also had a fake punt that netted a 34 yard run by Josh Aubrey. The Browns pulled off a similar feat against the Steelers in Week 17 last season when Raymond Ventrone picked up 35 yards on a fake punt.

ESPN Stats & Information