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5 Observations: Browns OL John Greco goes down on 1st drive with knee injury


1. Browns OL John Greco goes down on 1st drive with knee injury

Two plays into Sunday's game, the Browns were without another key member of their offensive line.

Right guard John Greco injured his knee and did not return. Of the bumps and bruises Cleveland incurred in Sunday's loss to the Seahawks, Greco's was the most severe, coach Mike Pettine said.

Greco will have an MRI on Monday.

"Losing Grec hurt that early in the game, having to jumble the lineup," Pettine said. "This late in the year, those backup guys aren't getting a lot of quality reps with the ones but that's part of it."

Rookie Cameron Erving, who filled in for a couple of games at left guard for Joel Bitonio before he was replaced by Austin Pasztor, played the rest of the game in Greco's place. Right guard is among the positions Erving knows best after competing with Greco at the spot during training camp.

"I felt pretty good going in there," Erving said. "It's different, but I was more prepared for it than I was last time it happened."

Erving (ankle) was among the three other players to suffer some kind of injury Sunday. Center Alex Mack (calf) and linebacker Tank Carder (elbow) were the others.

2. Browns miss K'Waun Williams

K'Waun Williams would have been on the field a bunch against the Seahawks, who ran three wide receiver sets throughout most of Sunday's game. The second-year nickel back was on the sidelines, though, because of a shoulder injury that put him on the inactive list.

It was a tough blow for a Browns secondary that has dealt with injuries and instability since training camp. Williams' absence forced a double move of sorts, as starter Charles Gaines moved to the inside when Seattle lined up with three receivers while Johnson Bademosi took Gaines' spot.

"It hurt us with K'Waun down," Pettine said. "That was tough for us because K'Waun has been playing well. He worked out before the game and felt he couldn't go. It's a situation where he's tough, he wanted to be out there. It was a tough one for us."

3. Mostert a bright spot

Claimed off waivers Wednesday, Raheem Mostert made an immediate impact Sunday as Cleveland's newest kick returner.

Mostert returned five kickoffs for 159 yards for a 31.8 average. His longest went for 53 and helped set up a Cleveland field goal. It was the Browns' longest kickoff return in more than two years.

"He was a guy that when we played Baltimore, we were very aware of where he was and we tried to kick away from him," Pettine said. "Obviously we were glad that we were able to pick him up midweek. He gave us some spark in the return game."

4. Barnidge ties franchise TD record

Gary Barnidge's first-quarter touchdown catch was his ninth of the season, moving him into a tie with Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome for the single-season franchise record for tight ends.

Barnidge, who has two games to break the record, finished with three catches for 29 yards. He has 68 receptions for 930 yards on the season.

"He's Mr. Consistent," Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel said. "It takes a while to go back and see when Gary didn't catch a touchdown in a game. The guy works hard. He's the most consistent guy on our offense – outside of Joe Thomas, who has been doing this year after year for years. Gary has been that safety blanket for us."

5. Versatile Duke

Rookie Duke Johnson Jr. led the Browns with 46 yards on the ground and was also the team's leading receiver with five catches for 39 yards.

Johnson was responsible for Cleveland's two biggest plays of the game, and they both set up field goals. He caught a 22-yard pass in the first half and notched a season-long 39-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Johnson needs 12 receptions to tie Kevin Johnson (1999) for the Browns single-season rookie record.

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