By Nick Shook | NFL.com
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Well, we’ve reached a new low. Road teams struggled mightily in Week 5, going 3-10 on Sunday, and if it weren’t for a record-setting comeback, Alex Henery being the Detroit Lions‘ only option at kicker, and Dick LeBeau‘s defense confusing a rookie quarterback late in a close game, we might have had our first winless week for those away from home. Luckily, the traveling stars of the week made it a little bit respectable for road teams as a whole.
Whether it was room service food, the effect of a hostile crowd or uncomfortable beds (never at a Courtyard Marriott, of course), something threw off the road squads. But despite slim pickings, there were still some standout performers. Here are the week’s best.
Greatest on the Road …
Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns
Let’s be honest: Brian Hoyer may have sat behind Tom Brady for a portion of his career, but he isn’t Tom Brady, and probably never will be. But let’s take a quick look at Hoyer’s final stat line: 21-37, 292 yards, three touchdowns, one interception.
Pretty good numbers for a guy who has spent most of his career as a backup, right?
Hoyer and the Browns‘ offense had the odds stacked high against them. Trailing 28-3 in the second quarter, they were essentially left for dead — after all, no team had ever overcome such a large deficit on the road — and they showed no signs of impending improvement.
Hoyer helped change that last line forever.
The Browns‘ quarterback tossed Cleveland back into the game, connecting with Jim Dray on a 1-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 28-10 just before half. The former Michigan State Spartan kept up the comeback attempt in the fourth quarter, finding Travis Benjamin wide open in the endzone for a 17-yard score with 6:57 to play.
An untimely interception put the ball back in the hands of the Titans, but Cleveland’s defense came up big with a stop on fourth and inches to give the ball back to the Browns with 3:03 left. Less than two minutes later, Hoyer hit Benjamin again in the back of the endzone for the go-ahead score, completing the largest road comeback in NFL history.
Hoyer might never be Brady, but much like the future Hall of Fame quarterback, he’s solid in the clutch — so much that in his seven starts as the Browns‘ signal-caller, he’s 5-2 and has three game-winning drives in the final two minutes.
Also considered …
Kyle Orton, Buffalo Bills