The feel-good hometown hero story of Brian Hoyer took a crushing turn Thursday night when the quarterback suffered a potentially serious right knee injury in the first quarter of Thursday night's game against Buffalo at FirstEnergy Stadium.

But the never-say-die Browns put on a thrilling performance in Hoyer's absence pulling away with Brandon Weeden at quarterback for a 37-24 victory over the Bills.

Travis Benjamin returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown and had another 57-yarder that set up a field goal. By the time it was over he had set a new Browns single-game record for punt return yardage with 179 breaking Eric Metcalf's record of 166 set Oct. 24 1993 against the Steelers.

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski told NFL Network at halftime that he fears Hoyer might have torn ligaments in the knee.

If that's the case Hoyer could be lost for the season. He's expected to undergo an MRI on Friday.

Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel also suffered a knee injury in the third quarter when he was hit in the knee by Tashaun Gipson and was replaced by fellow rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel.

Weeden who practiced only one full day this week after recovering from his sprained thumb put on a gutsy performance after losing his starting job to Hoyer. He threw a crucial 37-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon in the third quarter and received a huge hug on the sidelines from Chudzinski in the final minutes of the game.

T.J. Ward picked off Tuel with 1:44 remaining and returned the ball 44 yards for a touchdown that produced the final margin. Greg Little and Josh Gordon came up big and Willis McGahee pitched in with some hard running.