CLEVELAND -- Two weeks ago, quarterback Kevin Hogan was on the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad running scout-team offenses designed at giving the starting defense a look at what they could face from opponents on Sunday afternoons.
But now, Hogan could be in line to be the Browns’ fourth quarterback to start this season after Cody Kessler suffered a concussion in Sunday’s 31-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
In relief of Kessler, Hogan accounted for 204 yards with a rushing touchdown and two interceptions.
“He was unbelievable,” Browns offensive lineman John Greco said. “For a guy who was on our practice squad, that I’d never taken snaps with -- unbelievable. He played like a veteran and I compliment him on that. We were able to continue with what we do because he went out and made plays.”
The Browns took a 10-7 lead over the Bengals with Isaiah Crowell’s one-yard touchdown run with 6:20 to play in the first half.
On the first play of the drive, Hogan ran for a 15-yard gain, and then, mirrored that with another 15-yard burst around right end just two plays later.
After center Cameron Erving’s holding penalty negated a 10-yard run from Crowell, Kessler delivered a 21-yard pass to fullback Malcolm Johnson, and Crowell followed that up with a 12-yard run down to Cincinnati’s 13-yard line.
Facing a second-and-13 from Cincinnati’s 16-yard line, Kessler stood in the pocket and shoveled a pass to tight end Gary Barnidge. Barnidge made a one-handed catch for an 11-yard gain, but Kessler was hit twice on the play and got sent off the field by the referee. Kessler was taken to the locker room for a concussion evaluation and Hogan took over the quarterbacking duties for the remainder of the game.
Hogan made the most of his first extended time running the offense.
Against heavy pressure on first-and-10 from Cincinnati’s 28-yard line, Hogan scrambled to his left, cut back across the field and fought his way through a Bengals tackle at the goal line for a touchdown, his first score in the National Football League.
Hogan’s first touchdown drew the Browns to within four points of the Bengals, 21-17, with 10:43 to play in the third quarter.
“I’m trying to find a way to win,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “I’m trying to find a way to move the ball and score touchdowns on offense. That’s our job and so, I told you guys before, we’ll do whatever we have to do.
“I’m not opposed to doing anything if it means we’ve got a chance, but I just saw an opportunity for him to come in and make plays and he did that. He battled as hard as he could for a guy that, again, doesn’t get a ton of reps, but enough to do what he did. I’m sure there’s a few balls he wishes he had back, but he went in and battled like a quarterback should go battle.”