People expecting to see a boring, mistake-filled tire fire between two of the league's perennial basement dwellers on Thursday night had another thing coming, as the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns put on a wild, back-and-forth show that ended in a 37-24 Cleveland win. This was a game of streaks, with both teams trading points in bunches as the momentum shifted wildly from sideline to sideline: the Bills taking a 10-0 lead, the Browns responding with 17 unanswered, the Bills grabbing back-to-back scores to go back on top, only to have the Browns rattle off a 20-point spurt to grab the win.
Lost in all of the wild plot twists, however, is the real drama: quarterback injuries. Both teams' starting signal callers were forced out of the action and were unable to return.
Brian Hoyer, a career backup who led the Browns to two unexpected wins after being pressed into service in Week 3, went down in the first half with an injury to his right knee.
Chris Pokorny at Dawgs by Nature explains what happened next:
Hoyer suffered a knee injury early in the first quarter, forcing [Brandon] Weeden, who had not played since Week 2 due to a sprained thumb, back into action. He look dazed in the pocket for a lot of his early snaps, but eventually pulled it together and did enough to help lead Cleveland to a win.
Weeden overcame a shaky start to finish 13-of-24 for 197 yards, one touchdown and no picks.
Manuel was injured running up the left sideline to convert a first down on a scramble. As he stayed inbounds to try to pick up extra yardage, Browns defensive back Tashaun Gipson hit Manuel on the knee, sending his legs whipping out of bounds. As soon as Manuel landed, he grabbed his right knee in pain. The injury looked much more serious than it was, with Manuel not moving on the sideline for several minutes until he stood up and walked off. He'd spend several minutes on the sideline walking, hopping in place and riding an exercise bike before ultimately retiring to the locker room.
Manuel would not return, and the Bills would not score another point with rookie backup Jeff Tuel at the helm.