The Cleveland Browns weren't in action in Week 5 due to their bye, but there were plenty of happenings around the league that had impact on them. In the division, the Pittsburgh Steelers managed to knock off the Baltimore Ravens in an ugly contest, closing the latter's lead in the AFC North.
Meanwhile, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson was forced to leave his team's game because of a shoulder injury. This is particularly notable since the Browns and Colts are set to square off in Week 7.
The latest update on the stud rookie is bad news for Indy -- which means good news for Cleveland.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports Richardson suffered a Grade 3 AC joint sprain against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5. This type of injury typically comes with a month or so recovery timeline, which would likely knock him out for the Colts' next four contests, if not more.
Losing Richardson is a massive blow to the Colts offense. The No. 4 overall pick's playmaking has carried right over to the pros, as he's already shown off his dual-threat abilities to begin the 2023 campaign. In his two full starts this season, the rookie's notched at least 200 passing yards and a touchdown in each. He also racked up another 96 yards and 2 scores on the ground in those outings.
A major threat with the ball in his hands like Richardson makes the Colts' offense incredibly dynamic, but his injury changes things. Now backup Gardner Minshew will get the call, and he's simply not on Richardson's level as a playmaker. Minshew's running contributions (4 yards this season) are basically non-existent, removing one area opponents have to be concerned with.
Minshew has been impressive (1-0 record, 533 passing yards, 2 TDs) in relief of Richardson this season after being removed from games due to this shoulder injury as well as a concussion. But he surely benefitted from catching defenses by surprise after they gameplanned for Richardson all week.
With the rookie likely headed to the shelf, the Browns can solely focus on making the backup's life a nightmare. He hasn't faced a pass rush like this yet in 2023, which could severely impact his performance if he starts in Week 7.
Cleveland needs to take advantage of this upcoming opportunity to add another win to its record and remain in the playoff hunt.
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