By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor
Colt McCoy is getting better. He’s improving in just about every phase of his game as a quarterback.
Two weeks ago, against the Rams, it was all about poise and confidence. It was all about being efficient while being reasonably effective. It was all about seeing the field, making good decisions, and getting the Browns in position to win a game that they ultimately found a way to lose with a botched field goal.
What it wasn’t about was touchdowns. And that glaring omission put an asterisk on a performance that otherwise said McCoy had made progress since the start of his first full season as an NFL starter.
Sunday’s game against the Jaguars was different. First of all, it was a victory. Secondly, it was a game in which McCoy led the Browns – who seemingly had a permanent brick wall between them and the end zone – to a pair of touchdowns. The second resulted from his nice throw, and an even better catch by Josh Cribbs that featured incredible balance and awareness to keep both feet in a front corner of the end zone.
Third, there was McCoy’s remarkable toughness and resilience. After a third-quarter sack, McCoy left the field in clear pain in his right shoulder. He had to keep his right arm as straight as possible by his side while making his way to the sidelines, and then slammed down his helmet. McCoy did return to action without missing a snap, but still seemed to have issues from the hit because he frequently opened and closed his hand as if trying to get feeling back into it.
With the help of a penalty that Pat Shurmur accepted even though it took a Phil Dawson field goal off the scoreboard, the Browns found themselves deep in Jaguars territory. And not long thereafter, McCoy threw a pass over the middle that was intended for Ben Watson but was intercepted by Dawan Landry. The quarterback seemingly made matters worse for himself physically by using his aching shoulder to tackle Landry during his return. He received medical attention on the sidelines, and raised questions about whether he would be healthy enough to finish the game.
But McCoy proved just how deceiving looks could be. He effortlessly threw a 13-yard pass to Cribbs, scrambled for 15 more yards and a first down, threw 11-yard passes to Greg Little and Owen Marecic, and finally hooked up with Cribbs for the winning score from three yards.
McCoy’s day was a success all the way around: he showed progress, along with mental and physical toughness. He led two touchdown drives … and got a win.
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