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Weeden sparks confidence with play

Posted Oct 7, 2013

Brandon Weeden sparked confidence in his team when he came in for the injured Brian Hoyer and led the Browns to a 37-24 win over the Buffalo Bills.

The Cleveland Browns trailed the Buffalo Bills, 7-0, and had just lost starting quarterback Brian Hoyer with 11:03 remaining in the first quarter of last Thursday’s interdivision game at FirstEnergy Stadium, and it was up to Brandon Weeden to spark the team to victory.

Originally the starter at the beginning of the season but forced to miss two games because of a sprained right thumb, Weeden entered the contest and the Browns punted three plays later. However, Weeden settled into a rhythm and helped lead the team to a 37-24 win over the Bills.

“Brandon did a really good job of showing everybody on this team how to handle the tough situation of being injured and then, coming back, not having the spot right away, and when you are called, coming out and doing a great job,” said six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas. “We expect him to be even better than that when he gets a full week of practice and game plan that’s tailored to the things he does well.

“Everybody feels comfortable and confident that Brandon is more than capable, and he’s going to do a great job for us because he’s got a whole season of starting under his belt, plus the first two games of this year and all of training camp. There’s plenty of confidence and a high level of comfort amongst the guys on offense.”

Despite not practicing because of the short turnaround between last Sunday’s 17-6 win over the Cincinnati Bengals and the Thursday night game against Buffalo, Weeden completed 13 of 24 attempts for 197 yards and one touchdown.

Weeden finished the game with a 95.3 quarterback rating despite being sacked five times for 23 lost yards.

“The first couple possessions, he was a little bit shaky just coming back from the injury and not getting a lot of practice reps,” Thomas said. “He settled down and played really well for us. I think that’s huge.

“He’s going to get all the reps this week before the Lions, and we expect him to go out and play really well. He’s going to get a game plan that’s tailored to the things that he does well instead of having to come in and play in Brian’s game plan, which I think is really going to help him.”

Against the Bills, Weeden’s first two passes were incompletions, but his next two attempts went for a combined 22 yards, the first going for 15 yards to wide receiver Josh Gordon, and then, on the next play, he had a seven-yard pass to running back Chris Ogbonnaya.

In the third quarter, Weeden engineered a two-play, 74-yard drive that culminated with his 37-yard touchdown pass to Gordon. Weeden’s pass tied the score at 24 all with 5:35 left to play in the quarter, and the Browns never trailed again after that scoring play.

“Brandon coming in without a lot of work in practice, you could see a little bit of rustiness,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “The encouraging thing from my standpoint is that when we needed plays, he was able to make those plays and make good throws and get the ball out on time. I think, as the game went on, he was better and more comfortable in that area.”