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QB Austin Davis faces non-ideal circumstances, impresses in Browns debut

There might have been a smoother, simpler time for Austin Davis to make his Cleveland Browns debut, but that didn't faze the second-year quarterback.

"It's been a wild year," Davis said.

His season began in St. Louis, where he started eight games last season, and moved to Cleveland shortly before the first regular season game. A third-string option through the first half of the season, Davis transitioned to the backup role after Josh McCown's injury sidelined him for two games and the subsequent demotion for Johnny Manziel.

On Monday night, after McCown went down with a collar bone injury, it culminated with Davis taking his first snap as a Brown -- third-and-10, 9 minutes to play in the game and the Browns trailing by a touchdown.

"It is tough to get tossed in on third-and-10 late in the game. I felt comfortable," Davis said. "I felt like the guys around me really just calmed me down, kind of talked me through it as we went."

The first play didn't go as planned. Davis dropped back, threw well incomplete in the direction of Brian Hartline and the Browns had to punt.

With 4:20 to play and the margin still at seven, Davis returned to the field and saw the Browns move backward 9 yards on two plays. Faced with a third-and-19, Davis found Hartline for 14 yards across the middle. On fourth-and-5, he connected with Hartline again, this time for 8 yards, to move the chains.

The next two passes were his best. He fired a 16-yarder to Travis Benjamin and followed with his first touchdown pass in more than a year, a 42-yard deep ball down the middle of the field for Benjamin.

"He looked open, the 'please don't miss him' he's so open," Davis said. "Pulled his coverage, and I had a little pressure from the left and stepped up underneath it. He did a good job getting behind him, a lot of fun. Wish we could have finished it off."

With a chance to take the lead, the Browns went three-and-out on their next offensive series. Given fresh life again after a Tramon Williams interception, Davis moved the Browns from the Ravens' 48-yard line to the 33 with an 8-yard pass to Hartline and a 7-yard scramble.

Ultimately, his first appearance ended in sour fashion, as Travis Coons' field goal was blocked and returned 64 yards for a touchdown.

Browns coach Mike Pettine put the evaporation of time between the two plays on himself and the coaching staff. He said Davis did "a heck of a job" on Cleveland's game-tying touchdown drive and called it a credit to the Browns' quarterback room, led by Kevin O'Connell and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

"I feel the plays we're running, the system that we run is what I'm familiar with so it was just a transition of terminology and being in the game, really is the only adjustment," Davis said. "After that first play, third-and-10, we come off, go back on, get a completion, put a drive together. Like I said, just playing football from that point."

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