Billy Cundiff's game-winning 37-yard field goal capped a furious final drive for the Cleveland Browns, who escaped disaster with Sunday's 26-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Our takeaways:
- Josh Gordon trotted out with the starters and immediately looked like the best player on Cleveland's roster. The back-from-suspension wideout was used all over the field and showed off his patented after-the-catch ability with 120 yards off eight grabs. Playing the entire way, Gordon led the team in targets but also suffered bouts of miscommunication with quarterback Brian Hoyer, who misfired on way too many deep shots to last year's league-leading wideout.
- Falcons passer Matt Ryan was picked off and strip-sacked on back-to-back first-half drives that triggered a pair of Cleveland scores. He recovered to complete 27-of-43 passes for 273 yards, but Ryan was hassled all day by a Browns pass rush that dialed up three sacks and six hits. Completing 14 of his final 18 throws, Ryan made plenty of plays to Julio Jones and Roddy White, who combined for 168 yards off 14 catches. Don't blame Ryan for Atlanta's disastrous season.
- Coming off his worst game of the year, Hoyer doubled down to put together the ugliest start of his career, throwing a trio of killer interceptions that kept Atlanta alive. The second pick saw Hoyer wipe out a potential game-sealing scoring drive in the final quarter with an ill-advised toss to Gordon in the end zone. Hoyer's 10-4 mark as a Browns starter is no mirage, but neither is his NFL-worst completion percentage.
- The undrafted Isaiah Crowell got the start for the Browns, wiggling through Atlanta's defense for 88 yards and twotouchdowns off just 12 carries. Leading all NFL rookie runners with seven touchdowns, Crowell was complimented by Terrance West, who rumbled for another 62 yards off 14 totes. Cleveland's ground game hasn't been the same since losing center Alex Mack, but play-caller Kyle Shanahan deserves credit for sticking with it.
- Before Atlanta kicked what appeared to be a game-winning field goal, Falcons coach Mike Smith called a timeout that allowed the Browns enough clock to surge 61 yards in 44 seconds to set up Cundiff's game-winner. That's 44 seconds the Browns shouldn't have had. Smith is on borrowed time.
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