Friday, October 10, 2014

Brian Hoyer has marginalized Johnny Football

Brian Hoyer (No. 3), on the Steelers'
practice field with Charlie Batch (No. 16), in 2012
Sunday will be Brian Hoyer's last day as a 28-year-old.

Born Oct. 13, 1985, the former Steeler will take the field as the undisputed on-field leader of the Cleveland Browns. And, if a team with a 2-2 record can be perceived as an upstart, it is this year's Browns, and that is largely due to Hoyer.

The world no longer waits with bated breath for Johnny Manziel. Unless he does something stupid that lands him on TMZ between now and Sunday afternoon, America's breathless fascination with Johnny Football has ebbed.

The cool, level-headed play of Hoyer, the sober one of the two quarterbacks, has quelled virtually all talk of Manziel taking over as Browns' starting quarterback anytime soon.

Brian Hoyer
Hoyer's been more than solid. He ranks ninth among NFL quarterback in Quarterback Rating, at 97.3, which is not far off Ben Roethlisberger's sixth-rated 100.1.

Hoyer has completed 82 of 132 passes (62.1%). Roethlisberger has completed 122 of 177 passes (68.9%).

Keeping in mind that the Browns have played just four games vs. five games played by the Steelers ... Why in the name of Todd Haley have the Browns averaged more points than the Steelers?

Yes, the Browns have scored 25.8 points per game vs. Pittsburgh's 22.8 points per game.

The one thing that concerns us about this game is that Cleveland has a superior offensive line. Their O-line gets a good push for the running game and typically sets a clean pocket for Hoyer, who is decisive and releases the ball quickly. He doesn't take many sacks (just five in four games, vs. Roethlisberger's 15 in five games), and he makes good decisions. He's thrown just one interception in four games and hasn't fumbled.

On defense, though, Cleveland's surrendered more points than Pittsburgh: 26.3 vs. the Steelers' 21.6 points per game allowed.

Looking at stats and numbers all day can make your head spin. They can also lead to misleading conclusions.

Long-suffering Cleveland fans have every right to be excited about the direction of their team. Joey Porter's Pit Bulls suspect they are going to be disappointed on Sunday when the overly amped Browns make too many mistakes and find a way to lose to the Steelers on a windy day in Cleveland.

It says here the Steelers will win in Cleveland. On Monday, Brian Hoyer's 29th birthday will not be entirely candles and cake.

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