Rookie starter Cody Kessler went to the locker room early in the second quarter of Sunday's game with injuries to his ribs and chest and did not return. The injury came on a disastrous play where he threw the ball backward and was planted into the ground by Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower. The ball went out the side of the end zone for a safety to give New England an early nine-point lead in a game it went on to win 33-13.
The injury looked bad, but it could have been worse. Browns coach Hue Jackson said after the game that X-rays revealed that Kessler did not break anything. Further tests could always change that diagnosis, but Kessler is day-to-day for now. Jackson said that Kessler tried to throw on the sideline after the injury, but he was unable to do so.
"It'll be fine," Kessler said about his injury after the game. "Just get treatment all week and try to get back as fast as I can."
Charlie Whitehurst, signed just a few weeks ago, took the majority of snaps at quarterback the rest of the game. While wide receiver Terrelle Pryor occasionally lined up behind center, Whitehurst finished with 184 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 24 attempts.
Whitehurst became the fifth player to take quarterback snaps this season for Cleveland if you count Pryor, and he couldn't avoid the injury bug either. He left the game with a knee injury late in the fourth, leaving the Browns with just Pryor at quarterback. Whitehurst later returned to take a knee at the end of the Browns' 20-point loss.
If healthy, Whitehurst could be the team's fourth quarterback starter next week, which is a shame considering how hard this Browns team has fought. Kessler was playing better than anyone could have expected out of a third-round rookie.