*Over the next few weeks, as the season winds down, ClevelandBrowns.com will take a deeper look at each member of the 2014 team, how they contributed and what others are saying about their impact. *
- Played every snap as the starting left guard.
- Stepped in with supreme athleticism as a versatile guard who could be used as a chess piece in run blocking.
- Anchored a running game that has produced the most rushing touchdowns (16) in franchise history since 1987 with two weeks left in the season.
- Did more than hold his own against star defensive linemen such as Tampa Bay's Gerald McCoy, Tennessee's Jurrell Casey and Baltimore's Haloti Ngata.
- Maintained a high level of play even with the Browns changing the center position four times, which alters everything he has to do.
Best play of the season
*In a pivotal game against the Atlanta Falcons, Bitonio actually shined as a tackler. Just before halftime, legendary return man Devin Hester was well on his way to taking a missed field goal all the way to the house for a 106-yard touchdown.
A momentous touchdown like that could've, and probably would've, lost the game for the Browns. Instead, the 305-pound Bitonio had the wherewithal to sprint from the opposite end of the field to drag Hester to the turf. Cleveland went on to win the game, 26-24, on a last-second field goal. Coach Mike Pettine called it the "most impressive play of the year" one day later during his press conference.
Best play of the season part II
What teammates are saying about Joel Bitonio
Joe Thomas: "Few rookies are ever going to play as well as Joel has been playing. I definitely will be the first person beating my chest to send Joel to the Pro Bowl because I really think he deserves it."
John Greco: "Smart kid. You can tell he's not the typical rookie. Sometimes those guys' heads are spinning. As far as intelligence-wise, he's right on. He shows that he's athletic and he's flying around."
Johnny Manziel: "We roomed together when I first got here. I couldn't ask for a better teammate or friend."
What others in the organization are saying about Joel Bitonio
General Manager Ray Farmer: "He's gritty, he's tough, he's athletic … all of those things added up to me that a guy would come to this league and have success."
Coach Mike Pettine: "It's rare that an O-linemen can come in and step in right away and look like he's been doing it for five or six years."
Offensive line coach Andy Moeller: "We've been really pleased, and I'm happier than hell that he's a Brown."