NFL Nation: 2013 Week 5 BUF at CLE Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Cleveland Browns

October, 3, 2013
10/03/13
11:42
PM ET

CLEVELAND -- A few thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 37-24 win over the Buffalo Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium:

What it means: Brandon Weeden regained the Browns' quarterback job in the worst possible way -- through an injury to Brian Hoyer. Hoyer was injured just more than three minutes into Thursday's victory over the Bills when both his knees caught awkwardly under him as he was attempting to slide at the end of a run. The initial diagnosis was a right-knee injury, and NFL.com reported during the game Hoyer would need an MRI. That put Weeden back in the game. The carousel that has been the Browns quarterback situation since 1999 keeps right on turning, and right now it appears Weeden will be riding the lead pony.

Stock watch: The Browns moved over .500 for the first time since the third game of the 2011 season. That has to help a team trying to find itself. If anyone benefitted from the night, it was Weeden, who missed two games with a thumb injury and seemed to have lost his job. He finished with a quarterback rating of 95.3 and took steps toward re-establishing himself.

Private Benjamin: Browns punt returner Travis Benjamin had as much to do with the result as any player. Benjamin set up Cleveland's first score, Billy Cundiff's 30-yard field goal, with a 57-yard return, then scored its second touchdown with a 79-yard return. By game’s end, Benjamin had broken Eric Metcalf's team record (166 yards in 1993) for punt return yards in a game, finishing with 179. Benjamin is too small to contribute regularly on offense, but his quickness and speed are extremely dangerous in the return game.

Defense does it: With an assist from Jeff Tuel. One thing that can be said is that the Browns' backup quarterback is better than Buffalo’s. Once Tuel got in the game, the Bills got little done. In the final two minutes, the Browns secured the win when T.J. Ward intercepted a Tuel pass and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown.

What’s next: The Browns get a 10-day break before finishing the last of three games in a row at home, with the Detroit Lions visiting Cleveland. The stakes get a little higher, as the Browns go from Tuel with no Stevie Johnson to Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.

Rapid Reaction: Buffalo Bills

October, 3, 2013
10/03/13
11:40
PM ET
CLEVELAND -- A few thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' 37-24 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

What it means for Bills: The Bills lost their second road game and fell to 2-3 overall, but the big story is the health of rookie quarterback EJ Manuel. The 16th overall pick in April's NFL draft suffered a knee injury when he was hit by a Browns defender after scrambling for a first down in the third quarter. Manuel was replaced by undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel. Tuel and the Bills couldn't overcome their injuries against the Browns, despite their loss starting quarterback, Brian Hoyer, to a knee injury in the first quarter. With a chance to erase a six-point deficit late in the game, Tuel instead threw a pick-six, sealing the defeat. For the Bills, who have shaken off numerous injuries this season, Manuel's injury was one too many and bears watching in the coming days.

Johnson injures back: Both Bills quarterbacks in this game were without their top receiver for much of the contest. Steve Johnson left the game in the second quarter with a back injury, initially staying on the sideline. He came back into the game later in the half but then departed for the locker room and did not return.

Stock watch: Punter Shawn Powell and the Bills' punt-coverage unit had a tough time corralling Browns returner Travis Benjamin in the first half. After a 57-yard return set up a Browns field goal, Benjamin returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. He finished with 179 punt-return yards, setting a Browns team record.

Hobbled Spiller scores: Running back C.J. Spiller, who entered the game nursing an ankle injury, was used sparingly in the first half, carrying just twice for 3 yards. But on the third play of the second half, Spiller broke off a 54-yard touchdown run, tying the game. He limped his way back to the sideline and had a member of the equipment staff keep the ball. Spiller gained just 7 yards after the touchdown.

What's next: The Bills have nine days until their next game, when they will host another AFC North team, the Cincinnati Bengals, on Oct. 13 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

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