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Weeden Returns and Leads Browns to Win, Patriots Sign WR Collie

Just when the Cleveland Browns (3-2) were part of the conversation, things took an interesting turn of events on Thursday night as its “new” starting quarterback Brian Hoyer went down on the game’s second drive against the Buffalo Bills (2-3). Hoyer appeared to hurt his knee.

QB Brandon Weeden

QB Brandon Weeden

Enter former starting quarterback Brandon Weeden. Recovered from a thumb injury, the player didn’t exactly receive a rousing welcome by the home crowd. His early play didn’t seem to warrant it as he first went three-and-out and then he threw two incompletions.

Weeden was booed by the crowd. But not so fast as he underwent a 360, leading the team to a 37-24 win.

He said of the game via The Associated Press, “Whether I was the starter, eyes are still on you to see how you respond, to see how you react. I was upbeat the entire time and never let it bother me. Inside, it just kind of lit a fire.”

Yep, this is not your usual Browns team. They have now won three straight games and sit atop the AFC North. With their 3-2 record, it’s their best one for the team after five games since 2001.

The Browns had to battle for the win, taking their first lead, 17-10, before halftime with a 79-yard punt return by wide receiver Travis Benjamin. The Bills battled back and tied it up but the Browns owned the fourth quarter. Breaking a 24-all tie with 24-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff at the top of the quarter, the nail in the coffin came with a 44-yard interception return by T.J. Ward, giving the Browns a 37-24 lead with 1:44 remaining.

As for the Bills, who now sit at the bottom of the AFC East, they also suffered a quarterback injury. Rookie E.J. Manuel went down in the third quarter with a knee injury. Fellow rookie Jeff Tuel pinch hit for him, showing he wasn’t exactly ready for the starting gig.

On Friday, both Hoyer and Manual will undergo MRIs for their sprained knees. They were both undergoing good, short seasons and on Thursday, you could also say they had another Welcome to the NFL moment with their injuries.

Both teams also lost an additional player each as the Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson hurt his back in the game’s first half and didn’t return while the Browns defensive end Desmond Bryant experienced a shortness of breath in the third quarter and went to Cleveland Clinic.

Look ahead, the Browns are 75/1 to win the 2014 Super Bowl while the Bills sit at 150/1.

Patriots Sign Collie

After initially landing with the San Francisco 49ers (2-2), wide receiver Austin Collie got cut by them in the preseason (questions swirled about his knee recovery) and since then, has spent time working out for different teams and looking for continued employment for 2013. On Thursday this came to an end as he was signed by the New England Patriots (4-0).

Austin Collie

Austin Collie

He’ll join a wide receiver corp. trying to find its identity. After Wes Welker moved on, the team signed Danny Amendola who has lived up to his reputation of getting injured a lot. He has been out for three games due to a groin injury but could return this week.

While improving, receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins have played inconsistently, they have also been battling injuries as they were limited in this week’s practices.

Collie has struggled with his share of his own injuries, including numerous concussions and 2012’s ruptured patella tendon. What his role will be with the Patriots remains to be seen. He could just be an insurance policy as Amendola returns and at some point, he will be joined by tight end Rob Gronkowski.

This week the Patriots will play the Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) and Vegas has the game at even (45 o/u).




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