Kevin Hogan delivers valiant effort, but Browns' QB saga continues

CINCINNATI -- The season of quarterback calamity marches on.

The Cleveland Browns became the first team in a non-strike season to have six players throw a pass in the first seven games of the season since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976. That was Year 1 of the Bucs' existence, and they finished 0-14. The Browns fell to 0-7 -- only one more loss than the number of quarterbacks used -- in a 31-17 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday.

The sixth quarterback for the Browns was rookie Kevin Hogan, who was promoted from the practice squad on Oct. 11.

The Browns initially planned to use Hogan just in read-option packages against Cincinnati, but when Cody Kessler left with a concussion with 7:27 left in the first half, Hogan took over. He followed Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Kessler, Terrelle Pryor and Charlie Whitehurst at the position.

Hogan played valiantly, finishing with 104 yards rushing and 100 passing. But he also had two interceptions and a rating of 26.4.

He played far more valiantly than the Browns' defense, which gave up three touchdowns of 40 yards or more.

The Bengals had a 44-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell, a 48-yard TD to A.J. Green on a Hail Mary to end the first half and a 74-yard TD run by Jeremy Hill.

The Browns gave up 559 yards on defense, and the trifecta of embarrassment: a 100-yard rushing day to Hill, a 100-yard receiving day to Green and a 300-yard passing day to Andy Dalton.

With Joe Haden out for a second consecutive game with a strained groin, Green had his way against the Browns' secondary, catching all eight passes thrown his way. Hill had an even better time, rampaging for 168 yards on nine carries -- an average of 18.7 yards per carry.

Hogan, who had been on the practice squad for the first five games of the season, was the Browns' leading rusher on Sunday. He even channeled his inner Steve Young with a 28-yard touchdown run, the longest by a quarterback in Browns history, but it was evident at a certain point that there were only so many plays he could run.

Even with Kessler under center, the Browns started this game outmanned.

His concussion only tilted the game further in favor of Cincinnati.

The question the Browns must answer goes beyond "When will we win?" to "Who the heck plays quarterback next Sunday against the Jets?"