Cleveland Browns Week 6 Most Valuable Players: Who Gets the Dawg Bones?
Browns fans finally have something to smile about on a Sunday night.
That's what winning your first game since November of 2011 will do to a city starving for success.
The 34-24 victory tasted even sweeter since it was over bitter division rival Cincinnati and came at home.
Some give out game balls, but since I cover the Browns, I will be giving out "Dawg Bones" following every Cleveland matchup to recognize exceptional performances.
Here are the most valuable players for Week 6.
The Josh Connection: Gordon; Cooper; Cribbs
Cleveland's three Joshes earn a collective Dawg Bone to wrestle over for their domination of the Browns' Week 6 offense. If this trio continues to play like this, quarterback Brandon Weeden should name his next born child, boy or girl, Joshua.
Let's break it down.
Josh Gordon: Three receptions for 99 yards, which included a gorgeous one-handed 71 yard catch and run for a touchdown.
That is Gordon's third TD in the last two games.
He showed that he is not only a deep ball threat, but also possesses excellent hands by juggling and retaining control of a poorly thrown pigskin on one particular play.
The rookie continues to show that he is a game breaker, and the scary thing is that he isn't even being fully utilized yet.
Josh Cooper: Three receptions for 39 yards
Brandon Weeden's old Oklahoma No. 2 receiver was promoted from the practice squad with the slew of injuries to Cleveland's wideouts.
Looking very Wes Welker-like, the undrafted Cooper ran crisp routes, showed phenomenal hands and, most importantly, an instant rekindling of chemistry with Weeden.
Coach Shurmur will have some serious decisions to make on roster space once Massoquoi, Benjamin and Norwood return.
Josh Cribbs: Eight yards rushing, punt return of 60 yards, kick return on 44 yards
The addition of speedy threats in Travis Benjamin and Jordan Norwood has seemed to rekindle the fire in Joshua Cribbs on special teams.
Cribbs has been running wild in the return game the last three weeks and did so again, giving the Browns excellent field position and forcing Cincinnati to go the safe route by kicking for several touchbacks.
He also threw in a huge tackle on the kicking team side of things to remind the NFL how versatile he really is.
The former Kent State quarterback got into some razzle dazzle as well when he was tossed the rock, thought about throwing to a covered Jordan Cameron and elected to scamper his way for eight yards.
Honorable Mention: Montario Hardesty (15 carries, 56 yards, one touchdown)
Following a flank (rib) injury to Trent Richardson, Hardesty was inserted into the action in what looked like a temporary fill-in while T-Rich caught his breath.
The much maligned third year running back has tumbled down Cleveland's depth chart following seasons of ineffective rushing, fumbles and injury.
While Hardesty entered with a purpose, Browns fans cringed. However, this looked like the back promised when selected 59th overall in the 2010 NFL entry draft.
Hardesty didn't do his trademark backfield dancing, but made sharp cuts and ran downhill.
He was an important component away from the ball as well when he made a largely unnoticed pass block that allowed Weeden to lob a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Benjamin Watson.
No. 20 collected his first career rushing touchdown at a crucial point in the final quarter and definitely deserves a fist bump for making himself impossible to take out of the game.
Billy Winn (9 tackles, 1 sack and 1 fumble recovery)
Big No. 90 was a monster all afternoon, as he was called upon more than usual in having to help fill the shoes of an injured Ahtyba Rubin.
The 6'3", 290 lbs. defensive lineman was in Andy Dalton's grill early and often as he recorded a sack on the Bengals' second-year QB. It seemed that Winn was in on every play, whether it be stifling the visitor's running attack or on the pass rush.
To cap it all off, the rookie recovered a fumble late in the matchup where he proceeded to rumble, bumble and stumble his way to a healthy return.
Once Winn is able to take the oxygen mask off, I'm sure he will be pleased with his performance.
Honorable Mention: Joe Haden (seven tackles-six solo, one assist and one interception)
The secondary's MVP was back with a vengeance in his first game following suspension.
Haden had mentioned all week that he wanted to make a statement, and for the most part, he did just that.
Seven total tackles, a couple of key deflected passes and a big-time interception gave defensive coordinator Dick Jauron some relief with Dimitri Patterson out and TJ Ward participating with a broken thumb.
The stellar cornerback also drew a key offensive pass interference penalty to add to a solid outing.
Haden was burned on a fourth-quarter score where he looked winded afterwards, but that is nothing to be concerned about moving forward.
Trent Richardson Lands in the DAWG HOUSE
Disappointment is the only word that comes to mind when describing running back Trent Richardson's play on Sunday.
Rib injury aside, the third overall pick in this year's draft was held in check both in the rushing and passing departments.
After some early success, the Bengals defence made adjustments and rendered T-Rich largely ineffective.Of course, the offensive line 99 percent of the time has a part in the blame for not creating the necessary holes.
However, for an athlete that this West Coast attack is being built around, everyone expects a lot more than 54 total rushing and passing yards.
On top of that, Richardson straight up blew his blocking assignment on third down, which allowed an easy sack on fellow rookie Brandon Weeden.
He will of course bounce back, but for this week, he lands in the "Dawg House."
--Follow Andy on Twitter @AndyMc81
Check out Andy's NFL podcast "3rd and Long" on CBC Sports.