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Keenum, 3rd-string back Johnson lead Browns past Broncos

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By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum celebrates after the Browns defeated the Denver Broncos 17-14 in an NFL football game Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


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Denver Broncos tight end Eric Saubert (82) is tackled by Cleveland Browns linebacker Mack Wilson (51) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


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Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum (5) hands the ball off to running back D'Ernest Johnson (30) during the second half of the team's NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


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Cleveland Browns running back Johnny Stanton celebrates after scoring a one-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


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Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


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Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller walks off the field after an injury during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


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Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater throws a pass during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


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Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, right, watches from the sideline during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


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Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum (5) hands the ball off to running back D'Ernest Johnson (30) for a 4-yard touchdown during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


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Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum throws a pass during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


CLEVELAND (AP) Baker Mayfield had the best seat in the house to watch the Browns' backups deliver.

Case Keenum stepped in for an injured Mayfield and made the most of his first start in two years, third-string back D'Ernest Johnson rushed for 146 yards and Cleveland overcame a short week and a long list of injuries to beat the Denver Broncos 17-14 on Thursday night.

Keenum didn't put up impressive stats (21 of 33 for 199 yards), but threw a touchdown pass and did enough - as did Cleveland's maligned defense - to get the Browns (4-3) a much-needed victory.

They survived without Mayfield, who sat out with a shoulder injury and could miss more time.

''Unfortunately, some people are going to get hurt,'' Keenum said after his first win since 2019. ''At the same time, you love other young guys getting chances.''

Johnson, playing because stars Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt were both out with calf injuries, had the best game of his young career. He scored on a 4-yard run in the first half and picked up 52 yards on seven carries as the Browns chewed up the final 5:17 after the Broncos pulled within three.

Once he reached the end zone, Johnson wasn't sure how to react.

''It's unexplainable,'' he said. ''I wanted to celebrate but I didn't know what to do. It's been a long journey.''

The Broncos couldn't stop Johnson and now they can't stop losing, either.

''The last drive was very frustrating,'' Denver coach Vic Fangio said. ''We loaded up against the run and we couldn't stop them.''

Afterward, Johnson, who worked on a fishing boat when he wasn't drafted, got doused with water by his teammates in a raucous locker room celebration.

Johnson couldn't believe that NBA superstar LeBron James tweeted about him in the game's final minutes.

''LeBron?'' he said. ''Man, that's my favorite basketball player. LeBron? That's amazing. That means a lot. Wow!''

Denver quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw a pair of TD passes and gutted it out while playing with foot and quadriceps injuries. He finished 23 of 33 for 187 yards with one interception.

The Broncos (3-4) dropped their fourth straight game, and maybe as importantly, lost star linebacker Von Miller to a sprained ankle. The eight-time Pro Bowler missed all of 2020 with a dislodged ankle tendon.

Miller got hurt late in the first half when he banged legs with teammate Dre'Mont Jones while rushing Keenum.

Mayfield, who has been playing with a torn labrum, also has a broken bone in his non-throwing shoulder but believes he can continue to play with it, a person familiar with the quarterback's health told the Associated Press.

Mayfield hopes the injury improves enough in coming days days that he can play against Pittsburgh on Oct. 31, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The fourth-year QB revealed the break in his humerus bone - which runs from his shoulder to elbow - to Fox during the network's pregame show.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski did not get into any specifics about Mayfield's injury, but said it was ''too far away'' to know if the QB will be back next week.

Until he's ready, Keenum showed he can keep the Browns going forward.

So did Johnson, an unlikely hero.

''A guy like him, who the locker room loves and everybody loves - a great young family and just a good overall person,'' Keenum said. ''To come in here and having an incredible night like that and make some big time plays for us on a national stage, very pumped for him. It was exciting.''

After Bridgewater's 8-yard TD pass to Melvin Gordon brought the Broncos within 10-7 in the third quarter, Keenum directed a 13-play, 75-yard drive he capped with a 1-yard scoring pass to fullback Johnny Stanton IV.

Keenum made the biggest play on the drive, converting a fourth-and-3 play with a 5-yard scramble to Denver's 1.

The 33-year-old, who last started for Washington two years ago, was excited about the opportunity to play, saying Wednesday he was ''built for this'' and Keenum showed he's more than capable of filling in.

LANDRY LIFT

Browns receiver Jarvis Landry had five catches for 37 yards in his first action since missing four games with a sprained knee. He was activated a few hours before the opening kick.

OBJ JUST OK

Odell Beckham Jr. had a forgettable night.

The Cleveland star receiver, who didn't practice this week due to a shoulder injury, had a drop, got called for an illegal formation and was briefly out of the game after banging his shoulder - all in the first half.

Beckham bounced back with two receptions in the third quarter.

INJURIES

Broncos: ILB Micha Kiser (groin) left in the first quarter. Denver was already thin at linebacker after placing Alexander Johnson and Andre Mintze on injured reserve earlier this week.

Browns: WR Donovan People-Jones suffered a groin injury during pregame warmups and didn't play. ... CB Denzel Ward injured his left hamstring in the fourth quarter. ... Cleveland was also missing starting RT Jack Conklin, who missed his second straight game with a knee injury.

UP NEXT

Broncos: Host Washington on Oct. 31.

Browns: A much-welcomed extra few days off to heal before facing rival Pittsburgh on Halloween.

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Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 12

Player Notes
Josh Johnson Nov 29 9:03pm ET
Josh Johnson

New York Jets QB Josh Johnson and RB Austin Walter were returned to the practice squad Monday, Nov. 29, after they were on the active roster for the Week 12 game.

From TheHuddle

Anthony Miller Nov 29 9:03pm ET
Anthony Miller

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Anthony Miller was returned to the practice squad Monday, Nov. 29, after he was on the active roster for the Week 12 game.

From TheHuddle

Cody Core Nov 29 8:33pm ET
Cody Core

Free-agent WR Cody Core was signed to the Miami Dolphins practice squad Monday, Nov. 29.

From TheHuddle

Kevon Seymour Nov 29 8:13pm ET
Kevon Seymour

Baltimore Ravens CB Kevon Seymour was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Nov. 29.

From TheHuddle

Joe Flacco Nov 29 8:03pm ET
Joe Flacco

New York Jets QB Joe Flacco was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Nov. 29.

From TheHuddle

Mark Ingram Nov 29 7:53pm ET
Mark Ingram

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram (knee) fully participated in practice Monday, Nov. 29.

Fantasy Spin: Ingram seems ready to play after missing the Week 12 game, but his role is uncertain at this point. He will receive another start if Kamara is not able to play but will still see a decent amount of touches even if Kamara plays. Ingram can be at least a flex option in standard leagues.

From TheHuddle

Cedrick Wilson Nov 29 7:43pm ET
Cedrick Wilson

Dallas Cowboys WR Cedrick Wilson (ankle) did not participate in practice Monday, Nov. 29.

Fantasy Spin: Wilson suffered the injury in the last game and likely will miss the game if he does not practice this week. He likely will see a decreased role when he plays again because Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb are expected back in the lineup. He can be avoided in most leagues.

From TheHuddle

Taysom Hill Nov 29 7:43pm ET
Taysom Hill

New Orleans Saints QB Taysom Hill (foot) fully participated in practice Monday, Nov. 29.

Fantasy Spin: Hill is expected to take over the starting job this week after being used in a variety of ways during the first half of the season. His running ability helps his fantasy value, but he should only be a No. 2 quarterback in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Nick Kwiatkoski Nov 29 7:33pm ET
Nick Kwiatkoski

Las Vegas Raiders LB Nick Kwiatkoski (ankle) has a chance to play in the Week 13 game.

From TheHuddle

Curtis Samuel Nov 29 7:30pm ET
Curtis Samuel

Washington Football Team wide receiver Curtis Samuel (groin) and tight end Logan Thomas (hamstring) are officially active for Monday's game against the Seattle Seahawks. Thomas and Samuel were recently activated from injured reserve and will play in Monday's game. Samuel has played in just two games this year and is expected to be on a snap count. The 25-year-old is mainly a stash in deep-league formats for now. Thomas missed six games with a hamstring injury and is expected to start at tight end with Ricky Seals-Jones ruled out. The 25-year-old will be most likely be on a snap count and has appeared in only two games in 2021. Fantasy managers can safely insert Thomas into their starting lineups.

From RotoBaller

Curtis Samuel Nov 29 7:23pm ET
Curtis Samuel

Washington Football Team WR Curtis Samuel (groin) is officially active for the Week 12 game.

Fantasy Spin: Samuel has played in only two games this season because of his groin injury, so there is a chance he will see limited snaps this week. Fantasy may want to see him play in a game before considering him for their lineups.

From TheHuddle

Carl Nassib Nov 29 7:23pm ET
Carl Nassib

Las Vegas Raiders DE Carl Nassib (knee) is considered week-to-week because of a knee injury.

From TheHuddle

Robert Nkemdiche Nov 29 7:03pm ET
Robert Nkemdiche

The Seattle Seahawks have declared QB Jacob Eason, OT Dakoda Shepley, OG Damien Lewis, RB Travis Homer, S Nigel Warrior, RB Rashaad Penny and DL Robert Nkemdiche inactive for Week 12.

From TheHuddle

Corn Elder Nov 29 7:03pm ET
Corn Elder

The Washington Football Team have declared CB Corn Elder, WR Antonio Gandy-Golden, DE Bunmi Rotimi, OG Tyler Larsen, WR Dax Milne and TE Ricky Seals-Jones inactive for Week 12.

From TheHuddle

Deebo Samuel Nov 29 7:00pm ET
Deebo Samuel

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) sustained a groin strain in the Week 12 win over the Minnesota Vikings and is expected to miss the next 1-2 weeks. He became one of three players in NFL history to record 1,000 receiving yards, five receiving touchdowns, and five rushing touchdowns in a season. The 25-year-old underwent an MRI on Monday, which revealed a groin strain, and he will be out 1-2 weeks. Samuel has been fantastic this season, hauling in 56 catches for 1,006 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 203 yards and five scores over 11 games. Brandon Aiyuk should see an uptick in targets and becomes a must-start receiver while Deebo is sidelined. Jauan Jennings is a speculative add in deep-league formats. Samuel will most likely be back in time for the fantasy playoffs, starting Week 15 against the Atlanta Falcons.

From RotoBaller

DeAndre Hopkins Nov 29 6:53pm ET
DeAndre Hopkins

Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) hopefully will be able to play in the Week 13 game, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

Fantasy Spin: Hopkins could return to the lineup this week, but fantasy players will know more later in the week. Hopkins is one of the top receivers in the NFL when healthy and can be at least a No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Dalvin Cook Nov 29 6:13pm ET
Dalvin Cook

Updating a previous report, Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder) reportedly did not suffer a torn labrum in his shoulder, according to head coach Mike Zimmer on Monday, Nov. 29. Zimmer declined to answer questions regarding Cook having a dislocated shoulder and suggested Cook was day-to-day.

Fantasy Spin: Zimmer insisted that he is only relaying what team doctors told him regarding Cook's status, but it seems highly unlikely that the running back is "day-to-day" after he was carted off in the Week 12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Previous reports had Cook likely out until at least Week 15, which seems like a much more realistic timeline. Alexander Mattison should be added anywhere he was not already rostered and considered a strong RB1 option for however long Cook is out. Kene Nwangwu should also be added in deeper leagues.

From TheHuddle

Kevin Byard Nov 29 6:13pm ET
Kevin Byard

Tennessee Titans S Kevin Byard was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Nov. 29.

From TheHuddle

Dalvin Cook Nov 29 6:03pm ET
Dalvin Cook

Updating a previous report, Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder) reportedly did not suffer a torn labrum in his shoulder, according to head coach Mike Zimmer on Monday, Nov. 29. Zimmer declined to answer questions regarding Cook having a dislocated shoulder and suggested Cook was day-to-day.

Fantasy Spin: Zimmer insisted that he is only relaying what team doctors told him regarding Cook's status, but it seems highly unlikely that the running back is "day-to-day" after he was carted off in the Week 12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Previous reports had Cook likely out until at least Week 15, which seems like a much more realistic timeline. Alexander Mattison should be added anywhere he was not somehow already rostered and considered a strong RB1 option for however long Cook is out. Kene Nwangwu should also be added in deeper leagues.

From TheHuddle

Darren Waller Nov 29 5:50pm ET
Darren Waller

Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said that tight end Darren Waller (knee) is "week-to-week" on Monday. There's a chance that Waller is able to play in Week 13 against the Washington Football Team, but he could also very easily miss the game after straining his knee in the Thanksgiving overtime win over the Dallas Cowboys last Thursday. Waller left the game early and finished with only two catches on five targets for 33 yards. The 29-year-old is a must-start, high-end TE1 anytime he's active, but fantasy managers need to have a backup plan in place in case he doesn't have a great week of practice and is ruled out. Backup Foster Moreau would see an increase in playing time and could be a tight end streamer if Waller isn't cleared.

From RotoBaller