BEREA, Ohio — Browns punter Spencer Lanning was bombarded with texts after he threw his first NFL touchdown pass.
Some of the messages were congratulatory, and few others werent so kind.
Ive had some guys around the league texting me saying I threw it like a girl, Lanning, a York graduate who played at South Carolina, said with a smile. No offense to all the women out there.
Clevelands holder on field-goal and extra-point attempts, Lanning lofted an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Cameron in Sundays 31-27 win over Minnesota. The Vikings fell for the trick play when they left Cameron uncovered.
The Browns had practiced the play, but werent sure it was going to work. Once they broke the huddle, it was up to kicker Billy Cundiff to decide if they would attempt the deception.
If they covered it up we were going to shift back in and kick the field goal, Lanning said. I heard Billy Cundiff saying, Its on, its on, its on, its open.
Cameron, who caught two other TD passes from quarterback Brian Hoyer, said the moments before the ball was snapped were excruciating. He kept waiting to be detected, but the Vikings didnt notice him until it was too late.
Its the worst, Cameron said of waiting for the snap. Then he throws it and it felt like the ball was in the air for like 30 seconds, and I was waiting and waiting and then you gotta catch it. And then I almost got tackled at the 1, which would have been embarrassing, but we made it happen.
Lanning had his own anxious moments before, during and after the play.
It was an easy pass, I guess, he said. He was open. As a quarterback you cant ask for any more than that. I was just sitting there thinking to myself, I cant believe theyre not going to cover him. We heard the defense, they knew we only had 10 guys out there. They didnt see the guy out there. We actually had 11. They were sort of freaking out because they couldnt figure out what was going on.
Not only did the Browns (1-2) pull off a fake field goal, but they also used a fake punt to pick up a first down.
Lanning laughed when he was asked about his background as a quarterback.
The most training Ive had throwing a ball is with my dad out in the yard, Lanning said. As kickers and punters, we have a lot of time on our hands. In college especially, we got some passes in and whatnot. But I have no background playing quarterback, never played Pee-Wee football or anything like that. Coaches just drew up a play and we went out there and executed it.
It wasnt the only thing Lanning had to do on Sunday. After Cundiff strained a quadriceps muscle, Lanning was pressed into kicking duty and booted the extra point after the Browns scored to go ahead with 51 seconds left.
If the Browns hadnt scored the TD, Lanning may have had to attempt a game-tying field goal. He was pressed into service during Clevelands final exhibition game and kicked a field goal against Chicago.
Lanning is the first player since Philadelphias Sam Baker in 1968 to punt, kick an extra point and throw a TD pass in the same game a rare trifecta.
I havent really experienced it before, having to use a punter in those kicking situations, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. Its happened. I dont know if he was, but maybe he was a Punt-Pass-Kick champ when he was a kid or something.