BBD Staff Writer: Ryan Talbot
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Cleveland Browns defeated the Buffalo Bills to move to 3-2 on the season. Buffalo lost 37-24, but the real story is Buffalo losing EJ Manuel to a right knee injury.
Once Manuel was out of the game, Cleveland’s defense was able to handle the Bills, minus a one yard Fred Jackson touchdown. Jeff Tuel came in and played to the best of his ability, but finished the game 8/20 for 80 yards and one interception. Based upon Tuel’s play, I’d be shocked if the Bills didn’t call the recently released Josh Freeman. In fact, don’t be surprised if Freeman is a Buffalo Bill by the time you wake up tomorrow. That’s only my opinion of course.
Defensively, the Bills played decently. They flustered Brandon Weeden throughout the game, but Weeden didn’t force many passes. The lack of turnovers hurt the Bills as did some big plays from Brandon Weeden and Willis McGahee. Late in the game, Buffalo gave up a 3rd and 18 that allowed the Browns to get into field goal range to extend their lead to six.
The Bills get some extra time off before playing the Cincinnati Bengals on October 13th. The extra time should help the Bills get some key players back into the secondary, and let those who are playing banged up, heal a bit.The season’s not over, but Buffalo needs to have some healthy additions to their lineup next week.
While it’s disappointing that the Bills are 2-3, they’ve competed in every game this season despite a laundry list of injuries. The future looks bright for Buffalo, but the team may not be able to overcome their early season injuries. No one should give up on the season yet, but the Bills have a tough four game stretch coming up with the Bengals, Dolphins, Saints and Chiefs on the horizon.
The Browns win 37-24.
The Bills are going to fall to 2-3 on the season. Buffalo needs to hope E.J. Manuel is ready to go next week. The team should also be contacting Josh Freeman.
Browns 37 – Bills 24
T.J. Ward reads Jeff Tuel’s eyes and he intercepts Jeff Tuel for a touchdown. This pretty much seals the game for the Browns.
Buffalo calls a screen pass at the perfect time and the Bills pick up a first down at the two minute warning.
Buffalo faces a 2nd and 10 on their own 20 following an incomplete pass.
Browns 30 – Bills 24
Billy Cundiff adds a 44 yard field goal to extend the Browns lead to six points.
Buffalo stops the Browns on third down and the clock stops with 2:23 remaining.
The Bills need to stop the Browns on 3rd and 6 with less than three minutes remaining.
There’s less than four minutes remaining in the game and the Browns are going to eat as much clock as possible.
The running theme of Buffalo’s season continues. The team gives up 18 yards on third down. First down Browns.
The Browns are facing a 3rd and 18.
Dareus just planted Willis McGahee on first down. A holding penalty moves the ball back 10 yards and a screen pass to Bobby Rainey also loses 5 yards.
Cleveland is taking over on their own 43 yard line with 7:00 left in the game.
Tuel throws deep on third down and Joe Haden almost intercepts the pass. Buffalo is forced to punt with 7:13 remaining.
Tuel had Woods open on 2nd and 8th but he Tuel throws the ball into the ground.
Chris Hogan picks up 9 yards on first and ten.
The Bills take over on their own seven yard with 8:45 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Searcy makes a great play and breaks up a pass intended for Greg Little. Searcy almost comes up with an interception on the play.
Jerry Hughes picks up his second sack of the night. The Browns face a 3rd and 15.
The Browns move to midfield after Kiko Alonso gets picked up on a blitz.
T.J. Graham is now out of the game per Tim Graham’s twitter account. Graham took a hard shot to the helmet.
Cleveland gets the ball on their own 33 yard line after Benjamin returns a punt 5 yards. Buffalo needs to stop the Browns quickly and get the ball in decent field position.
The Bills will punt the ball on 4th and 1. Shawn Powell needs a big kick here.
T.J. Graham makes a nine yard reception on third and 10 but cannot get up and get the extra yard.
The Browns are playing the run, and rightfully so. Jeff Tuel is 0-4 after a second down incompletion.
Browns 27 – Bills 24
Leodis McKelvin plays Jordan Cameron physically on third down and the Bills force the Browns to a 24 yard field goal.
McGahee tries to take the ball wide, but he doesn’t have much speed in his game anymore.
Weeden’s quarterback sneak gives the Browns a 1st and goal from Buffalo’s two yard line.
The Browns are in field goal range as we start the fourth quarter. Thus far, Jeff Tuel has not shown any reason to believe the Bills can move the ball on Cleveland. A Browns score here would be huge for Cleveland.
Buffalo is loses yards on its drive as Jeff Tuel gets sacked on third down. Buffalo will be punting out of their end zone. Powell’s punt is short and Travis Benjamin returns it to the Bills 32 yard line.
In an injury update, EJ Manuel has been downgraded to doubtful.
Jerry Hughes gets his first sack of the season and forces a fumble. The Browns recover but the Bills force the Browns to punt.
Shawn Powell punts the ball out of bounds on Cleveland’s 37 yard line after Scott Chandler drops a Jeff Tuel pass.
Tuel with an ugly pass, but Robert Woods looked to be held on the play.
EJ Manuel is currently in the locker room. Jeff Tuel is on the field. The Bills will probably run some very conservative offense here.
Bills 24 – Browns 24
Josh Gordon makes an acrobatic catch for a 37 yard touchdown pass from Brandon Weeden. Buffalo didn’t provide any safety help on two long Weeden passes.
A costly facemask penalty by the Browns moves them back 15 yards.
Brandon Weeden and Greg Little connect for 47 yards.
Bills 24 – Browns 17
Fred Jackson runs the ball in from one yard out and the Bills regain the lead with 6:32 remaining in the third quarter. Joe Haden blocks an extra point attempt, but he jumped offsides pretty badly.
Jeff Tuel throws a nice pass to Scott Chandler in the endzone. Chandler’s arm is held by T.J. Ward for pass interference.
Bills face a third and five here.
Manuel got up and walked off under his own power.
Manuel’s shot to his knee was a clean play. After EJ picked up the first down he should have run out of bounds. Jeff Tuel is warming up.
Manuel takes a shot to his knee and he’s down.
The Bills face a 3rd and 8 on Cleveland’s 27 yard line after Manuel is sacked.
Tashard Choice picks up a first down to the left after the Browns send an overload blitz to Manuel’s right.
Buffalo faces a 3rd and 5 on the Browns 35 yard line.
Robert Woods is having a great game. He currently has five receptions for 65 yards.
Buffalo takes over on their own 37 yard line after Leodis McKelvin returns a punt 9 yards.
Buffalo forces a fast three and out to get the ball back. Mario Williams added his second sack of the evening on the series.
Bills 17 – Browns 17
One play after Robert Woods’ 24 yard gain, C.J. Spiller took the ball to the house for a 54 yard gain.
Robert Woods with a gain of 24 yards on second down. Big gain for Buffalo.
Editor’s Halftime Thoughts:
Special teams is often overlooked as the third phase of a football game, but it has made a huge difference in the first half of tonight’s game for both teams.
Early in the game, it was strong special teams play that helped the Bills get out to a 10-0 lead. The Bills stopped Browns kickoff returner Greg Little inside the 12-yard line on each of his first two returns of the game. Safety Jim Leonhard returned a punt 25 yards to set up the Bills’ first offensive possession at the 32-yard line, setting up the Bills to score a touchdown. Their second offensive series stalled at the 35-yard line, but kicker Dan Carpenter came up big by drilling a 52-yard field goal through the upright.
But while special teams play got the Bills out to an early lead, it cost them the lead by halftime. Specifically, the Bills’ punting unit has been horrible. All four of Shawn Powell’s punts have been returned by Travis Benjamin, including a 79-yard touchdown return and a 57-yard return. In total, Benjamin has 155 punt return yards — enough to already break the Browns’ single-game record — in the first half. Powell’s punts have been low, and the Bills’ punt coverage has been slow getting down the field and sloppy with their angles and tackling attempts back up the field.
Benjamin scored one touchdown himself, and his 57-yard return set up the Browns’ first score, a 30-yard Billy Cundiff field goal. It didn’t help matters for the Bills offense when after that Cundiff field goal, Marcus Easley decided to return a kickoff from deep in the end zone and got stopped at the 12-yard line.
Former Bill Tank Carder almost blocks a Shawn Powell punt. The Browns take over on their own 24 yard line.
Buffalo gets shut down on third and three when the team tries to run Fred Jackson.
The Bills insist on running the ball on first down to take the first half to the two minute warning.
Browns 17 – Bills 10
Atrocious special teams play leads to a 79 yard punt return by Travis Benjamin for a touchdown.
Bills go three and out on the series and will punt the ball back to the Browns with 2:45 remaining.
Bills 10 – Browns 10
We’re all tied up at 10 after a Willis McGahee touchdown run.
Searcy gets called for illegal contact on a play where Jordan Cameron pulled him back first. Questionable call.
The Browns face a third and inches on Buffalo’s three yard line. Look out for the play action pass here.
The Browns have the ball on the Buffalo 12 yard line following an 11 yard run by Willis McGahee.
Brandon Weeden has found a nice rhythm, although he’s still throwing some dangerous passes.
Brandon Weeden converts another third down with a pass to Greg Little.
Great read by Nickell Robey to break up a Weeden pass.
The Browns pick up a first down on third and 8 with a pass to Jordan Cameron. The Browns now have the ball in Buffalo territory.
Kiko Alonso is laying the wood tonight.
Buffalo punts the ball back to Cleveland with 11:02 remaining in the second quarter. This time Travis Benjamin was bottled up for a six yard return.
A terrible pass by EJ Manuel on third and four almost leads to a Paul Kruger interception. Dangerous back foot pass by Manuel.
A huge first down conversion as EJ Manuel finds Robert Woods for 15 yards.
C.J. Spiller gets back to back carries and the Bills face a 3rd and 8 deep in their own territory.
Bills 10 – Browns 3
Billy Cundiff hit a 30 yard field goal to get the Browns on the board with 14:24 remaining in the first half. Aaron Williams’ penalty costs the Bills three points.
Aaron Williams has played significantly better this season, but his personal foul was awful. The ball had already gone past the receiver and he clearly had intentions of hitting Bess full force.
Aaron Williams just cost the Bills 15 yards on a really bad helmet to helmet hit. The play would have set the Browns up for a field goal.
Weeden is extremely lucky that he didn’t just throw an interception after getting hit on first down.
The Browns get a huge return from Travis Benjamin. The Browns take over on Buffalo’s 31 yard line after Benjamin’s return.
The Browns force EJ Manuel out of the pocket and he throws the ball away on third down. Buffalo is punting for the first time tonight.
Stevie Johnson out of the game for the second time tonight. Looks to be in a lot of pain.
Buffalo takes over on their own 24 yard line.
Kiko Alonso just sniffed out a run for a loss of five yards. On the next play, Mario Williams sacked Brandon Weeden. The Browns will punt for the third time in the first quarter.
Browns fans give a sarcastic cheer after Bobby Rainey takes a knee in the end zone.
Bills 10 – Browns 0
Dan Carpenter nails a 52 yard field goal to extend Buffalo’s lead. The Bills did a great job of moving the ball on the series and Carpenter did the rest. There’s 5:51 remaining in the first quarter.
Barkevious Mingo just laid out T.J. Graham on third down.
According to Chris Brown of the Buffalo Bills, Stevie Johnson pulled himself out of the game.
The next play is not as kind to the Bills as Manuel ran right into a Rubin sack.
Buffalo converts a 3rd and 6 to get the ball into Browns territory.
A tipped pass off of the hands of Stevie Johnson goes to Scott Chandler for a gain of 20 yards. Just like the Bills drew up.
Brandon Weeden threw two incomplete passes in relief of Brian Hoyer. Buffalo forces its second punt of the evening. The Bills will take over on their own 10 yard line.
Kiko Alonso hit Brian Hoyer helmet to helmet, but it looked as though Hoyer hurt his foot/leg. He’s currently out of the game.
Bills 7 – Browns 0
A little razzle dazzle for the Bills paid big dividends. T.J. Graham threw a nice pass to Stevie Johnson in the end zone that went incomplete due to pass interference. Buffalo got the ball on the Browns 1 yard line and Fred Jackson punched it in on the next play. There’s 13:16 left in the first quarter.
Buffalo takes over on Cleveland’s 32 yard line after a 25 yard punt return from Jim Leonhard.
The Bills had a bit of luck on their side in the first series of the game when Josh Gordon dropped a pass that looked as though it could go for a touchdown.
We’re about 10 minutes away from kickoff! If you don’t get the NFL Network, you missed Michael Irvin compare Brian Hoyer to Troy Aikman tonight. Just a bit of a stretch Mr. Irvin.
Approximately 45 minutes until kickoff. If you haven’t yet, check out our preview of tonight’s game from Eric Samulski.
The Browns’ inactives for tonight are as follows:
DL Billy Winn
RB Fozzy Whittaker
OL Martin Wallace
OL Patrick Lewis
QB Jason Campbell
DE Jabaal Sheard
OLB Quentin Groves
The Bills’ official website has announced tonight’s inactives:
K Dustin Hopkins
CB Stephon Gilmore
S Jairus Byrd
CB Ron Brooks
WR Marquise Goodwin
TE Chris Gragg
Leodis McKelvin and C.J. Spiller are both active. McKelvin will not be playing cornerback tonight. He’ll only be returning punts. For that reason, Aaron Williams will stay as one of Buffalo’s cornerbacks against the Browns.