BEREA, Ohio (AP) Brian Hoyer turned his baseball cap around backward and cut loose, footloose.
Caught up in the celebration after the Browns made NFL history on Sunday by overcoming a 25-point deficit to win at Tennessee, Cleveland’s comeback quarterback busted out some dance moves in the middle of Cleveland’s delirious locker room.
Hoyer knew he was being videotaped. He knew he looked foolish.
He didn’t mind one bit.
”I almost just blacked out,” Hoyer said. ”I was so excited. I was just trying to copy what everyone else was doing. For me, everything I’ve gone through the past year, I want to enjoy it. I want to go out and have fun. You never know when it’s going to be taken away from you.”
”To celebrate a victory with my teammates, I don’t care how goofy I look,” he said.
After the Browns (2-2) pulled off the largest comeback for a road team, scoring 26 unanswered points to stun the Titans 29-28, Cleveland’s locker room transformed into a postgame nightclub. When Hoyer, who threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin with 1:09 left, entered the room the party was well underway.
So, he joined it. And so did Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas, who showed some interesting steps while peeling tape off his hands.
Browns guard John Greco, aware the scene was being captured by cameras, stepped back and soaked it in.
”He looked like a typical white guy dancing at a wedding,” Greco said of Thomas. ”I didn’t see Hoyer as much as I saw Joe. He was stealing the show.”
Browns rookie coach Mike Pettine was also mindful not to get caught on camera during a moment that was posted on Instagram by defensive lineman Phil Taylor (http://bit.ly/1uS2H8e).
”I knew it was being filmed and I stayed far out of the shot,” Pettine said.
But Pettine, who had already delivered his postgame speech, was having so much fun seeing his players dance that he told equipment manager Brad Mellon to keep the music blaring.
After all, the Browns had just pulled off their own Music City miracle, so why not dance?
For Pettine, the sight of Hoyer and Thomas – two of his leaders – getting a little carried away was well worth a few extra minutes of fun. The Browns are bonding.
”This is a tight group,” Pettine said, ”and when you do things like we did yesterday there’s evidence of that.”
The Browns would prefer a more routine victory. They’ve certainly developed a flair for drama.
Cleveland’s four games have been decided by eight points, and the Browns’ two road games have followed very similar scripts. In their opener at Pittsburgh, the Browns trailed 27-3 before rallying and losing on a last-second field goal. The Titans jumped up 28-3 in the second quarter before the Browns stormed back – and this time finished.
Hoyer made it possible.
Once again, he was cool under pressure, orchestrating his third comeback win in just seven career starts.
In less than a year, Hoyer has overcome a serious knee injury, beaten out rookie Johnny Manziel for the starting job and perhaps established himself as a long-term answer at quarterback – either in Cleveland or somewhere else.
As the pressure gets stifling, Hoyer seems to thrive.
”Actually I’m surprised how calm I can be. Everyone else is going crazy and I’m just like this,” he said, moving his hand on a flat line. ”Maybe you get a feeling for it throughout your career, but things seem to slow down a little bit in that situation when for some other people they speed up.”
Things didn’t get hectic for Hoyer until after the game, when he allowed himself to get a little crazy out on the locker room/dance floor.
”My wife made fun of me for it,” said. ”She said, `I’ve never seen you dance that way.”’
NOTES: Pettine said he didn’t have any issue with Manziel being caught by TV cameras smiling on the sideline after the Browns fell behind 28-3. Pettine said the team’s play was ”laughable” in the first half. … Pettine doesn’t think rookie LB Chris Kirksey tried to ”cheap shot” Titans QB Jake Locker, who later left the game with a bruised thumb. Kirksey delivered a blow to Locker’s head in the end zone. ”Anybody that knows Chris and knows Chris’s history knows he’s not a dirty player,” Pettine said. ”The kid knew right away and felt bad about it. If you know the kid and what high character he is, you know there was no intent to harm there.” … Pettine did not have injury updates on CB Joe Haden (hip) or DE Phil Taylor (knee). Pettine did say Haden’s status could be ”up in the air.”