CLEVELAND (AP) — Brandon Weeden lost his starting job, but never any confidence.
He promised that if he ever got the chance to start for the Browns again he would make the most of it.
And on Thursday night, in front of a home crowd that booed some of his early throws and a national TV audience, Weeden came to Cleveland’s rescue.
Weeden replaced injured starter Brian Hoyer and rallied the Browns to a 37-24 win Thursday night over the Buffalo Bills, who also lost starting rookie quarterback EJ Manuel with a knee injury.
“You can only control what you can control,” Weeden said. “I’m just sticking my neck on the line for this football team. I prepared like I was starting, but it was tough with zero reps the last two weeks. I was a little rusty to start.”
Buccaneers release benched QB
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Quarterback Josh Freeman was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, a week after being benched in favor of rookie Mike Glennon.
The winless Bucs made the latest move during their bye week after general manager Mark Dominik contacted every other team in the NFL in an unsuccessful attempt to trade Freeman, a 4,000-yard passer a year ago and the team’s career leader with 1,144 completions and 80 touchdowns.
Coach Greg Schiano benched Freeman after the 25-year-old completed just 45.7 percent of his passes and posted a league-low quarterback rating of 59.3 through three games, all losses. Glennon made his first pro start last Sunday, turning the ball over three times during the fourth quarter of a 13-10 loss to Arizona.
Freeman is owed the remaining $6.25 million on the contract he signed as the third quarterback selected in the 2009 draft behind Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez.
“We appreciate his efforts over the past five seasons, but we felt this was in the best interests of both Josh and the Buccaneers,” Dominik said a brief 33-word statement.