Having spent several seasons with the Cleveland Browns, now-Houston Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer can boast about one thing... he's never lost to the Cincinnati Bengals as a starting quarterback. It's true (not that he's single-handedly the reason why).
During Cincinnati's Week 4 loss to Cleveland in the 2013 season, the Bengals turned the ball over multiple times, struggled on third down and allowed the Browns to sustain drives of 10 plays or more -- all translating into a scoring opportunity and 17 points scored for the Browns. Then came the memorable loss on Thursday Night Football last season when Andy Dalton, for all intents and purposes, hit rock bottom with a 30.3 completion percentage, three interceptions and a 2.0 passer rating. Cincinnati entered the game as favorites.
"It was a Thursday night game, and no one gave us a chance, kind of similar to what we're going into," Hoyer, now with the Houston Texans, recalled to the Houston Chronicle after Monday's practice. "I remember, as a team, we felt confident going in. I think that kind of begets success. We were able to get up on them early and finish the game."
Regardless, Hoyer knows the Bengals.
"They're a tough team, and they're winning big games and close games," Hoyer said. "I'm familiar with their personnel and their scheme. I didn't have to look at the scouting report because I know them by name and number. They don't change much. They do a good job of keeping their players."
Cincinnati's embarrassing loss to the Browns in 2014 featured a surging Hoyer, accelerating into a mythological superhero while earning sports talk discussions that Cleveland should discuss an extension. Hoyer, for his part, managed the win over Cincinnati with 15 completions and 198 yards passing -- Cleveland's three touchdowns were scored by three different running backs -- helping Cleveland improve to 6-3. For one reason or another, everything collapsed after that. Cleveland would only win one of their remaining seven games and Hoyer was eventually benched for backup Johnny Manziel.
Hoyer signed with the Texans during the offseason, beat Ryan Mallett for the starting job (a decision that came down to the wire) and was subsequently was benched with over six minutes remaining during Houston's regular season opener. Mallett started in Weeks 2 and 3 while Hoyer entered the game in relief during Weeks 4 and 5 before Houston settled on Hoyer as the full-time starter (presumably, as of this posting). Mallett, with the maturity of a teenage girl attending a Delta Tau Chi fraternity party, was eventually released by the team.