MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Days after trading a former first-round draft pick and naming their third-string quarterback the starter, the Browns kept the Minnesota Vikings winless with a 31-27 victory Sunday.
Jordan Cameron caught all three of Brian Hoyer’s touchdown passes, including the go-ahead grab in the back of the end zone with 51 seconds left. Hoyer was named the starter in place of the injured Brandon Weeden earlier in the week and overcame three interceptions to pass for 321 yards, going 30 for 54.
Josh Gordon had 10 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown in his season debut, and Cameron had six receptions for 66 yards.
Christian Ponder ran for two touchdowns for the Vikings (0-3), but he threw an interception, lost a fumble and took his sixth sack on the final play of the game.
Earlier in the week, the Browns became the talk of the NFL when they traded 2012 first-rounder Trent Richardson to Indianapolis.
Referee Bill Leavy mistakenly penalized the Vikings after coach Leslie Frazier tried to challenge a ruling on a muffed punt in the second quarter of Sunday’s game against Cleveland.
When Browns punt returner Travis Benjamin muffed the punt, Vikings linebacker Larry Dean scooped the ball up and headed to the end zone. The officials correctly ruled that the Vikings could not advance a muffed punt and awarded Minnesota the ball at the Cleveland 26.
Frazier threw the red flag to challenge. But NFL rules stipulate that changes of possession can only be reviewed from the booth. Leavy then issued a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
But a rule change this offseason says the Vikings should have been charged a timeout and not penalized the yardage.