|Date of game: 11/2/2014
Recap: Cleveland vs. Tampa Bay
Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Brian Hoyer threw two interceptions for the first time this season, but his two second-half touchdown passes helped the Cleveland Browns edge the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 22-17.
Hoyer passed for a season-high 300 yards on 21-of-34 efficiency for Cleveland (5-3), which entered November above .500 for the first time since 2007. Terrance West and Taylor Gabriel each had a touchdown grab.
"I'm proud of the mental toughness we showed to find a way to win it," said Browns head coach Mike Pettine. "Not the prettiest win, but we'll take it."
Hoyer, who beat out first-round draft pick Johnny Manziel for the starting quarterback position during training camp, improved to 8-3 as a starter with Cleveland.
Mike Glennon went 17-for-33 for 260 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Bucs (1-7), who have lost four straight games. Three of those losses came by six points or less.
"The two picks in the first half were not good at all," said Glennon. "Should have been potentially two touchdowns. They're throws that I need to make."
Mike Evans racked up seven catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns and Bobby Rainey gained 121 yards from scrimmage in defeat.
Trailing 17-16, Cleveland's special teams came up with a huge play early in the fourth quarter. Craig Robertson flew in to get a fingertip on Michael Koenen's punt. K'Waun Williams pounced on the short kick at the 35, setting Hoyer and the offense up with terrific field position.
They took advantage. Two plays into the drive, Gabriel put a double move on Alterraun Verner and Hoyer hit him in stride for a 34-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, and the lead was five.
After punts both ways, Glennon got the ball back with 2:37 to play and 77 yards to go. The drive started well, with Evans making consecutive catches for 31 and nine yards.
After the two-minute warning, Glennon misfired twice to set up 4th-and-1. Evans then caught a pass for nine yards and a first down, but was flagged for offensive pass interference. Glennon then dropped back on 4th-and-11 and looked for rookie tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, but the ball was thrown too far out in front and fell incomplete.
The Browns were able to run out the remaining 1:39.
Earlier, Hoyer connected with Andrew Hawkins for 20 yards early in Cleveland's first drive, then fired a strike to Travis Benjamin for 31 yards on 3rd- and-17. The drive stalled at the 31, and Billy Cundiff opened the scoring with a 49-yard field goal.
Rainey's 34-yard reception on a dump off led to Patrick Murray's second field goal try. After his first kick was blocked on the game's first possession, Murray got off a 55-yarder that was on line, but missed short by less than a yard.
Late in the first, Glennon looked deep to Evans, but Joe Haden deflected the pass and Donte Whitner picked it off. Whitner saw plenty of green in front of him and picked up blocking downfield, returning the interception 54 yards to the Tampa Bay 21.
Hoyer threw across his body on the first play of Cleveland's drive to a wide open Ben Tate, who caught it while falling out-of-bounds at the five. Tate was then stood up twice on goal-line runs and Hoyer was sacked on third down, as the Browns had to settle for another Cundiff field goal.
Rainey keyed an 8-play, 80-yard drive afterward, as the Bucs finally entered the scoring column. He gained 44 yards on five carries, and Glennon found Evans for a 24-yard touchdown to put the Buccaneers in front.
Murray hit from 40 yards away late in the half to extend the lead, and Cundiff beat the halftime buzzer with a 43-yard kick, as the Browns went to the break down 10-9.
Cleveland burned nearly six minutes off the clock on the first series out of halftime, with West hauling in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Hoyer to cap the 11-play trek.
Evans' second touchdown catch restored Tampa's lead. After Spencer Lanning punted out of his own end zone to give the Bucs possession at the Cleveland 45, Glennon found Vincent Jackson for 15 yards to move the sticks. Two plays later, Evans found the end zone for another 24-yard score and a 17-16 edge.Game Notes
The Browns only needed eight games to pass their win total from last season
... Hoyer is 6-1 as a starter at home ... Earlier this week, Tampa Bay signed
DT Gerald McCoy to a seven-year, $98 million contract and traded safety Mark
Barron to the Rams for a two 2015 draft picks (4th and 6th) ... The Bucs were
0-for-2 in the red zone.