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Kevin Hogan 'battled as hard as he could' in Browns debut

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CINCINNATI — **Kevin Hogan was supposed to be a wrinkle in the Browns' offensive game plan.

That's the way head coach Hue Jackson and his staff drew it up before Sunday's game against the Bengals.

"I'm trying to find a way to win. I'm trying to find a way to move the ball and score touchdowns on offense. That's our job and so — I told you guys before — we'll do whatever we have to do," Jackson said after a 31-17 loss in Cincinnati.

"I'm not opposed to doing anything if it means we've got a chance. I just saw an opportunity for him to come in and make plays and he did that."

Indeed, on this afternoon, that meant splicing the backup quarterback and unexpectedly elusive rookie from Stanford into the lineup when appropriate.

"I knew I was going to jump in and get a couple plays — we'd repped them during practice, some of those read option plays," Hogan said. "They worked well all week, so I knew there was a chance I'd get in and get a few reps just to get my feet wet."

It's unlikely, however, the Browns expected Hogan — whom the club elevated from the practice squad earlier this month to add depth at the injury-riddled position — to play pinch hitter when Cody Kessler left with a concussion in the second quarter.

And because of that, Hogan suddenly found himself at the controls of Cleveland's offense. In the process, the former Stanford standout combined for 204 yards, including 104 yards on the ground and a 28-yard touchdown run that's now the longest ever by a Browns quarterback. 

"It's something that I've always trusted and something I did a little bit at Stanford. If there was nothing there downfield, then I felt comfortable with my legs that I could get a first down or a big gain," Hogan said.

"It was nice during the week to rep some of those run plays, and it happened to pay off during the game today."

Hogan, who was drafted by the Chiefs in the fifth round, wasn't perfect — he tossed two interceptions in the second half — but he didn't blink much against the Bengals.

"I felt very comfortable out there. I felt good in the huddle, leading the guys and getting to the right plays. There are some plays you'd like to back. Obviously you want to protect the ball and put your team in the best position to keep the ball and go in and score," he said.* *"There are some plays I'd like back, but overall I felt very comfortable out there, and confident."

While it's unclear what his role might be going forward — Kessler will enter the league's concussion protocol while Jackson said it's possible veteran quarterback Josh McCown could be cleared to play against the Jets next weekend — Jackson praised Hogan for stepping up when the Browns needed him to.

"He battled as hard as he could for a guy that, again, doesn't get a ton of reps, but enough to do what he did," Jackson said.

"I'm sure there's a few balls he wishes he had back, but he went in and battled like a quarterback should go battle."

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