From the Armchair: Cleveland Browns week 5
On Jim Brown night in Cleveland, the battle of Lake Erie tuned into the battle of attrition and big plays. Buffalo brought the AFC's number one rushing offense into Cleveland to face the AFC's number two rushing defense. Buffalo was able to move the ball on the ground,155 yards and three rushing touchdowns, including a 54-yarder by CJ Spiller. It was the special teams and a turnover that were the difference in the game.
Buffalo jumped out to an early 10-0 lead in the fist quarter thanks to a pass interference call in the end zone, leading to a one yard TD run by Fred Jackson and a 51-yd field goal by Dan Carpenter. Cleveland lost starting quarterback Brian Hoyer on its second possession to a knee injury. In the second quarter Travis Benjamin took over, returning one punt for 59 yards that led to a field goal, and another for a 79 yard TD.
Those scores were sandwiched around a one-yard Willis MaGahee touchdown. That sent Cleveland to the locker room with a 17-10 halftime lead. Buffalo came back in the third quarter with Spiller's 54-yard touchdown run and Jackson scoring on another one yard run after another pass interference call in the end zone. Buffalo also lost it's starting quarterback EJ Manuel in the third quarter. Cleveland quickly tied the score with a 37 yard TD from Weeden to Josh Gordon. The score was tied at the end of the third quarter 24-24 In the fourth quarter Billy Cundiff kicked two field goals to put the Browns up six and TJ Ward returned a pick six to put the game out of reach with 1:44 to go. This brings Cleveland to 3-2 and guarantees a share of first place in the AFC North for at least one more week.
In addition to losing their starting quarterback Cleveland lost defensive lineman Desmond Bryant (shortness of breath)and running back Chris Ogbonnaya (concussion) to injury. Buffalo lost wide receiver Steve Johnson to a leg injury.
After his first two series Brandon Weeden didn't look terrible. He was 13-24 for 197 yards and a touchdown. He did hold onto the ball too long and took five sacks. MaGahee looks like he is getting into game shape. He only averaged 2.8 yds per carry but totaled 72 yds on 26 carried and a touchdown. The receivers too were adequate, not dropping a ton of passes. Gordon led all receivers with 86 yards and a touchdown.
The defense played well enough to win. They gave up 155 yards rushing, 66 to Spiller and 53 to Jackson. The front seven didn't get a ton of pressure but had four sacks. The secondary gave up two big pass interference penalties,but came up with a pick six at cruchtime.
The special teams were the difference in the game. Travis Benjamin had seven punt returns for 179yds, a Cleveland record, and a touchdown. Billy Cundiff made all three of his field goal attempts.
Next up Detroit @ Cleveland 1:00pm Sunday 10/13