Brandon Weeden earns first NFL win on 29th birthday


Brandon Weeden isn't getting any younger, and he hasn't stopped growing.

The Cleveland Browns' rookie quarterback turned 29 on Sunday, an afternoon when he won his first NFL game, 34-24 over the AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals.

Trent Richardson gear.

The Browns are the youngest team in football, and they started seven rookies Sunday. Against the Bengals, most of these newbies contributed.

Weeden was 17-of-29 passing for 231 yards and two touchdowns. One of those scoring strikes was a beauty -- a rope to 21-year-old Josh Gordon, who burned Cincinnati's secondary for a 71-yard score that marked the second-longest touchdown by a rookie receiver in Cleveland franchise history.

Some of Weeden's well-advertised on-field issues bubbled up in the win. He had another momentum-killing interception -- his NFL-worst 10 picks are dubious -- but he recovered to produce a solid game. The Browns are averaging 22 points per game after putting up 13.6 last season.

Weeden impressed me on a third-quarter quarterback sneak on which he had his helmet ripped off below a pile of defenders. Weeden calmly rose to his feet, plopped his helmet back on and guided the Browns on a 10-play, 66-yard scoring drive. He's not intimidated by NFL defenses.

Weeden hasn't made much noise in our weekly rookie quarterback ratings, and that has to do with his epic turnover count. However, we saw signs of growth on his 29th birthday.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.