Cleveland Browns: Cody Kessler and the debuts of rookie QBs
By Thomas Moore
Charlie Frye: Dec. 4, 2005, vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
December in Cleveland brings cold weather, holiday cheer and rookie quarterbacks making their first NFL start.
The Browns turned to third-round pick Charlie Frye for a home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Things looked good early on as the Browns jumped out to a 14-3 halftime lead as Frye hit fellow rookie Braylon Edwards for touchdowns of 34 and 17 yards.
The Jaguars shut down the fun in the second half, however, limiting the Browns to just 39 yards of total offense and zero points in the game’s final two quarters en route to a 20-14 win.
Frye finished the game 13-of-20 for 226 yards and the two touchdowns, but took five sacks as the Browns fell to 4-8 on the season.
Factory of Sadness
Brady Quinn: Nov. 6, 2008, vs. Denver Broncos
Having grown tired of quarterback Derek Anderson’s erratic ways, the Browns turned to Brady Quinn, the team’s first-round selection in 2007, for a nationally televised game against the Denver Broncos.
Quinn led the Browns to a 23-10 lead in the third quarter thanks to a pair of touchdown passes to tight end Kellen Winslow and drove the Browns into the lead with five minutes remaining, but the Broncos prevailed with 21 points in the final quarter to hand the Browns a 34-30 loss.
Quinn ended the night completing 23-of-35 passes for 239 yards and the two touchdown passes while leading the offense to almost 400 yards of offense. For one night at least it appeared the Browns had solved their quarterback issue. But reality would soon set in as Quinn’s debut was one of the few high points of his time in Cleveland.
Colt McCoy: Oct. 17, 2010, vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
It took two years, but the Browns were once again teased with false hope when they traveled to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers.
Cleveland had lost both Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace to injury in the opening weeks of the season, forcing the team to turn to rookie Colt McCoy as its starting quarterback.
While the Browns went down to the Steelers without much of a fight, McCoy led the Browns to an early 3-0 lead. Pittsburgh took control from there by scoring 21 consecutive points. McCoy finally got the Browns into the end zone in the fourth quarter when he hit tight end Ben Watson with a 12-yard touchdown pass.
McCoy completed 23-of-33 passes for 281 yards, but also threw two interceptions and was sacked six times while only leading the Browns to 10 points.
The McCoy party would last for two more weeks, as he led the Browns to upsets of the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots, before the inevitable set in for McCoy and the Browns.