A.J. Brown was able to return to playing football after suffering an apparent ankle injury on Sunday, avoiding a potentially damaging loss for the Tennessee Titans.
Brown fell to the turf while running a route in the first quarter of the game against the Cleveland Browns, a play that ultimately resulted in a touchdown pass to teammate Corey Davis. Medical staff tended to Brown on the field after the score before he was helped to the sidelines.
Video footage appeared to show Brown turning his ankle while running his route.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 6, 2020
It was not clear if Brown’s ankle ailment would have any impact going forward, but he was able to come back into the contest after going to the sidelines and having his foot heavily taped by medical staff.
Brown has been enjoying a Pro Bowl-caliber season for Tennessee. Pro Football Focus rated him among the best second-year wide receivers, behind only Terry McLaurin of the Washington Football Team.
Highest-graded 2nd year WRs:
1. Terry McLaurin – 84.3
2. A.J. Brown – 83.8
3. D.K. Metcalf – 83.7
4. Jakobi Meyers – 81.8
5. Deebo Samuel – 79.3 pic.twitter.com/6y2t6LN8ob
— PFF (@PFF) December 3, 2020
He had already made an impact on the contest before going down, catching two passes for 52 yards, including a 40-yard catch that came one play before the team’s first touchdown.
The Titans receiving corps had already been impacted by injury this year, with Adam Humphries returning on Sunday for the first time since suffering a concussion on November 1. As SB Nation’s Music City Miracles noted, his return was seen as a major boost for the offense.
“His return would be a welcomed boost for an offense that’s currently firing on all cylinders once again.” the report noted.
“Humphries was having a very nice season before he went down with that head injury. He had 22 catches, 219 yards and two touchdown catches in the six games he’s played.”
Tennessee was missing other top targets going into the contest against the Browns, with tight ends Anthony Firkser and Jonnu Smith both missing two straight games. That left quarterback Ryan Tannehill relying more heavily on Brown.
But as Pro Football Talk reported, Brown had already been on the injury report going into this week, being limited over the course of the week by a hip ailment. As the outlet reported, he had been hampered by other ailments this year but was still able to excel on the field. Over the course of the last two weeks, he caught eight passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns, also returning an onside kick for a score.
“There have been other weeks this season when Brown did not practice on Thursday before playing on Sunday, but a new injury may mean there’s a different explanation this time. Friday will bring another practice and the team will issue injury designations for the game against Cleveland,” the report noted.
The Titans may need to lean more heavily on passing in the second half, trailing the Browns 38-7 late in the first half after suffering several defensive lapses.
Tennessee came into this week needing a win to keep pace with other top teams in the AFC. They led the AFC South at 8-3 but were looking for a win to hold off the 7-4 Indianapolis Colts.