After a disappointing 1-5 start, the Browns have won two games in a row against quality opponents. The margin of victory hasn't even been close, as the Browns have outscored opponents 64-31 in the past two games.
So what has made the difference?
Rookie quarterback Colt McCoy has taken control of the Cleveland offense and has the players, the coaching staff, and the fans believing that the Browns are supposed to win games.
Of course, McCoy wasn't supposed to play in 2010. The new front office of president Mike Holmgren and GM Tom Heckert drafted McCoy in the third round of the 2010 draft to be a project, a player who could be brought along slowly and might be ready to play in a year or two.
The front office brought in veteran quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace to transition the team into a new era and to hold down the QB position until they could get an idea of what they had in McCoy.
However, as is usually the case in Cleveland, things didn't go as planned.
Injuries to Delhomme and Wallace forced McCoy under center just six weeks into the season, and he has faced a brutal schedule to begin his young NFL career. A three game stretch against the Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots would be a daunting task for any quarterback, let alone a rookie with no NFL experience.
Luckily for the Cleveland Browns, McCoy doesn't seem to care who he is playing against or what the odds are. He just plays football.
McCoy hasn't put up eye-popping numbers, going 46 of 68 for 529 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in three games, but he has the offense clicking and is finding a way to make things happen.
If you watch McCoy play the game, you see a player who not only wants to win, but expects to win. His performance today was more proof, as McCoy consistently read the defense at the line of scrimmage, found ways to extend plays, made impressive throws, and topped it all off with an exciting 16 yard touchdown run.
Many experts dismissed the win over the Saints as a fluke. The Browns won that game with trickery and by capitalizing off of mistakes, and there was no way that they could do it again against the Patriots, who came into Cleveland with the NFL's best record.
The Browns responded by manhandling New England in all phases of the game. McCoy played mistake-free football, the defense held the league's top scoring offense to only 14 points, and Cleveland's human highlight reel, Peyton Hillis, rumbled for a career best 184 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Somehow, the Cleveland Browns found a way to follow "the upset of the year" with "the upset of the year."
Colt McCoy now has a 2-1 record as a starter and has his team believing that they can beat anybody. More importantly, he has the Browns believing that the future has arrived in Cleveland and that it is time to stop the rebuilding and simply start building on the pieces that are quickly falling into place.
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