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Winners and Losers: Cleveland Browns out Last Denver Broncos

A look at who showed up and who didn’t for the Cleveland Browns during the team’s 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos.

The Cleveland offense was unable to finish drives at times and the Browns still found a way to defeat the Denver Broncos on Thursday night football despite scoring just 17 points.

Case Keenum stepped in for the injured Baker Mayfield and did his job. It maybe wasn’t a great performance, but Keenum got the job done and managed the team to a win. The Browns are now back above .500 with a 4-3 record.

Winners:

D’Ernest Johnson

What a night it was for the Browns third-string running back. Johnson looked like anything other than a third-string back on a night where he scored his first touchdown and went over 100 yards. Finishing with 146 yards on 22 carries, Johnson carried the ball at nearly seven yards a pop - that will get the trick done every time. Johnson ran hard, used good vision and hit the holes that were given to him. The Broncos had no answer to the Browns’ running back all night long.

John Johnson III

Johnson grabbed his first interception with the Browns after being close a couple of times this season. The Browns safety made a nice tackle up toward the line of scrimmage. Many, like myself, would like to see Johnson play in the box a bit more - especially on running downs. Cleveland’s defensive play caller on the field was part of a defense that allowed just 223 total yards.

Johnny Stanton

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Andy Janovich is on the injured reserve, so Stanton is up off the practice squad for the time being. Stanton was able to score his first career touchdown in front of his parents on a one-yard catch out of the backfield. The big guy picked up a couple of key first downs to keep Cleveland’s drives going. An underrated player on Thursday night that was great in his defined role.

Blake Hance

Hance spent the last couple games at left tackle, but was at right tackle on Thursday night with Jedrick Wills Jr. back. Jack Conklin missed his second straight game and Hance was solid in his spot. The backup lineman is quietly becoming very dependable and has stepped up when needed. He’s not perfect, but the Browns don’t need him to be. Hance delivered some good run blocks as well as pass sets. The highlight of the night was a big block on a screen where Hance drove his guy to the ground downfield. Earlier in the week Broncos’ Von Miller said he was going to kill whoever the tackle was, well he did not.  

Myles Garrett

Often held and hardly called is the story for Myles Garrett. But, when you are the best pass rusher in the league you still get work done. Garrett had 1.5 sacks on the night and was consistently getting pressure as he has all year. Garrett chased Teddy Bridgewater out of the pocket multiple times and kept the quarterback on edge. Another day at the office for Garrett.

Losers:

Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham did have a pair of catches, but the production is once again just not there. Last week he was solid, this week he was not. It would be a non-story if he simply wasn’t targeted with a backup quarterback playing, but he was. Number 13 had a drop early, an illegal formation and slipped on a very catchable ball. Another game where Beckham could not put it together for the Browns. The Browns’ receiver is not 100% healthy, but was good enough to go. Two catches to one drop is a ratio you never want to be a part of. Another performance that leaves more to be desired. 

Brandon Little is a writer for Sports Illustrated’s Browns Digest website and you can follow him on Twitter here. You can follow Browns Digest on Twitter as well here.