Posted: 11:41 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013
By James Dator
A pair of quarterback injuries gave way to one of the stranger Thursday Night Football games as the Cleveland Browns defeated the Buffalo Bills by a score of 37-24. The Browns now take sole lead of the AFC North after a third consecutive win.
Brian Hoyer was the first to leave Thursday's game after he attempted a slide in the opening quarter and crumpled to the ground on a hit by Kiko Alonso. Brandon Weeden entered the game to play for a disapproving crowd, but quickly turned their favor as he lead a long drive resulting in a 1-yard Willis McGahee touchdown.
Weeden settled after a rough start to finish with 197 yards passing and a touchdown. It will be very interesting to see what happens at the quarterback position in the coming weeks, provided Hoyer is healthy.
E.J. Manuel lasted until the third quarter, but suffered a similar fate. He converted on a third-down run but did not step out of bounds in time. A defender dove at Manuel, hitting his knee and leaving him in a heap on the ground. He was surrounded by trainers and appeared to be okay, but Manuel ultimately went to the locker room as was lost for the game.
What followed was a tale of two very different teams. The Browns couldn't run the football but had a deep-ball passing offense with Josh Gordon and Greg Little, while the Bills abandoned the passing game but still had C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.
The game finished as a microcosm of what the NFL is right now -- a passing league and the Bills couldn't stay in-step after Manuel left the game.
Buffalo's offense could be reeling as the Bills were without Manuel (knee) and Stevie Johnson (back). There is no update on either's status at this time.
Spiller moved past a slow start to finish with 66 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Josh Gordon became the Browns' primary deep threat and put up 86 yards receiver and a touchdown of his own.
The Cleveland Browns were 3.5 point favorites, according to OddsShark. Their 13-point victory means they covered easily.
Oct. 13: Buffalo vs. Cincinnati
Oct. 13: Cleveland vs. Detroit