CLEVELAND (AP)- St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford reinjured the left knee he had surgery on last season and the Rams had four other starters hurt in a 33-14 win over the Cleveland Browns on Saturday night.
Bradford went down after being hit by Browns defensive lineman Armonty Bryant in the first quarter. He grimaced in pain before walking gingerly to the sideline with Rams coach Jeff Fisher watching every delicate step.
Bradford was examined on the bench and then escorted to the locker room for further medical tests. He did not return.
Browns starting quarterback Brian Hoyer threw a touchdown pass and celebrated rookie backup Johnny Manziel had a 7-yard TD run. Manziel was also sacked twice by Rams rookie Michael Sam, who punctuated the first takedown by mimicking Manziel’s “money” sign.
The Rams only said Bradford “hurt” his knee. They’d better hope it’s nothing more serious.
The former No. 1 overall draft pick missed nine games last season after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament and having surgery, and St. Louis was counting on Bradford to bounce back and have a big year.
Third-string St. Louis quarterback Austin Davis threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter. The second was a short strike to wide receiver Chris Givens, who broke Browns rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert’s tackle and went 75 yards to make it 20-0.
Bradford’s injury wasn’t the only one sustained on a rough night for the Rams. The most serious appeared to be to cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who was carted off with a towel draped over his head in the second quarter. Johnson and tackle Michael Brockers were injured on the same play, but Brockers walked off under his own power.
Earlier, defensive tackle Kendall Langford and offensive guard Rodger Saffold sustained ankle injuries.
The Rams have their fingers crossed for good news on Bradford, who has made 49 career starts for St. Louis. Fisher took a cautious approach with the 26-year-old in training camp and delayed his exhibition debut until last week against Green Bay. Bradford played well, completing 9 of 12 passes for 101 yards, and Fisher had hoped to give him more time against the Browns.
But he didn’t get past the Rams’ opening possession. After driving St. Louis to the Cleveland 12, Bradford dropped back and was hit high by Bryant as he threw an incompletion. Bryant didn’t wrap his arms around Bradford, who turned and fell.
The Browns have their own issues at quarterback.
Coach Mike Pettine picked Hoyer this week over Manziel, the super-hyped first-round pick who didn’t do enough in training camp to win the starting job. Manziel did provide some excitement in the second half, bursting from the pocket and diving into the end zone before celebrating his first rushing TD as a pro with his trademark finger-rubbing gesture.
Hoyer finished 10 of 16 for 84 yards with one touchdown.
Manziel went 10 of 15 for 104 yards. In the fourth quarter, he was blindsided by Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player who is fighting to make the Rams’ roster.
Earlier in the week, Pettine said there were no immediate plans to install a package specifically for the more mobile Manziel.
However, Pettine softened his stance in a radio interview on Friday, saying the team “could potentially look at a two-quarterback system down the road.”
Cleveland fans got their first look at renovated FirstEnergy Stadium, which has been tricked out with giant end-zone scoreboards during the first phase of a two-year, $120 million modernization.
Browns Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden sat out with a sore foot. A team spokesman said Haden’s injury was not serious and he was rested as a precaution.