Injuries keep mounting for Cleveland Browns at quarterback

Playing quarterback for the Cleveland Browns is proving a challenging, and short-term, job this season.

Cody Kessler, starting because of injuries to Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown, left Sunday’s 33-13 loss to New England after hurting his ribs and chest in the first quarter.

Kessler was hurt when hit on a backward pass that went out of the end zone, giving the Patriots a safety.

That brought in veteran backup Charlie Whitehurst playing for his fifth NFL team, and he hobbled to the sideline in the final minutes after hyperextending his right knee. That left Terrelle Pryor at quarterback until Whitehurst returned for the final seconds. But Whitehurst was in pain waiting for X-rays leaving his status for next week’s game at Tennessee unknown.

“I think I’ll be fine,” Whitehurst said. “I don’t know. We’ll see. I guess there will be some tests, but I think I’ll be fine. I’ll be ready.”

The Houston Texans are piling up injuries in their secondary nearly at the same rate as the Browns. The Texans went to Minnesota without cornerback Kareem Jackson, out with an injured hamstring, and lost two more starters in the second quarter of a 31-13 loss to the Vikings.

Safety Quintin Demps hurt a calf, while cornerback Johnathan Joseph left with a concussion on a defense already missing superstar defensive end J.J. Watt (back) for the season. Backup linebacker Brian Peters hurt his quadriceps after handling kickoffs for kicker Nick Novak.

In the third quarter, Texans right guard Jeff Allen left to be evaluated for a concussion, while backup tight end Ryan Griffin was taken off the field by a cart after hurting his neck making a tackle after an interception.

The Vikings, the NFL’s last undefeated team, had their own woes on an already banged-up offensive line. Right guard Brandon Fusco left with a concussion on the first drive of the game, leaving the unit without three starters.

Tight end MyCole Pruitt hurt his knee in the third quarter, and Cordarrelle Patterson stopped returning kickoffs after hurting his hip in the second quarter.

In the showdown between Ravens receiver Steve Smith and Washington cornerback Josh Norman, Smith twisted his ankle making a catch. Norman was hurt a few plays later with both players going to the locker room. Norman returned to the game.

In Miami, rookie guard Laremy Tunsil was hurt before kickoff against Tennessee. With left tackle Branden Albert already out with a virus, that left the Dolphins without the left side of their offensive line, though Mike Pouncey played his first game at center this season after a hip injury.

Rookie Jakeem Grant returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown for Miami and hurt an ankle later in a 30-17 loss to the Titans.

The Detroit Lions lost defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to a shoulder injury in a 24-23 win over Philadelphia, while Eagles cornerback Leodis McKelvin aggravated a hamstring injury that had kept him out of the past two games. McKelvin returned in the fourth quarter.

Buffalo safety Aaron Williams hurt his shoulder in the second half of a 30-19 win over the Los Angeles Rams, while safety Colt Anderson did not return after an arm injury.

Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson was carted to the locker room in the fourth quarter with an injured right ankle, while offensive lineman Cody Wichmann did not return after hurting his right ankle on the opening drive.

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