No quit in these Browns
|AP Photo/David Duprey|
|Phil Dawson capped a five field-goal outing by hitting a career-long 56-yarder with 1:39 remaining to secure the Browns' 29-27 win over the reeling Bills.|
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Cleveland Browns were not quitters on Monday night, which is how at least two players in their locker room described the team last week.
On Monday night, the Browns showed poise, something they've lacked all season.
On Monday night, Cleveland surprised everyone by playing hard when there wasn't much left to play hard for.
"They didn't quit," said coach Romeo Crennel, who emphasized a word that's been replayed over and over in Cleveland the past week. "They kept going."
Crennel and the Browns looked relieved. Following a week that included internal strife and talk of the head coach being on the hot seat, there were more smiles in Cleveland's locker room following the game than there have been around the team over the past 11 days.
That's also how long it took the Browns to erase the nasty taste of blowing a 13-point lead to the Denver Broncos on Nov. 6. It marked the second straight game Cleveland (4-6) blew a lead of at least 13 points in the second half, all but ending its hopes of making the postseason.
The Browns nearly blew it for a third straight game, but a 47-yard field goal attempt by Buffalo kicker Rian Lindell sailed wide right with 38 seconds left.
|Highlights of the Browns' victory over the Bills.|
"I thought it was time for us to finally get a break," Browns receiver Braylon Edwards said.
Here is what else we learned about the Browns in the victory:
Cleveland could be a dangerous spoiler -- if focused: The Browns improved to 2-0 on "Monday Night Football" after beating a pair of good teams in the Giants (9-1) and Bills (5-5). Cleveland remains the only team to beat the Giants and did so convincingly in a 35-14 thrashing in Week 6.
This proves that the Browns can be a dangerous team on any given week. Although Cleveland often lacks maturity and the focus to finish, it seems to have those qualities during its biggest games.
The foremost goal of the Browns and the coaching staff should be to make sure they keep the same level of focus and intensity every week. Cleveland has six games remaining on its schedule, and four are against teams still in the playoff hunt.
"I hope this is a sign," Crennel said. "So far, our M.O. this year has been you win a tough one and the next week it doesn't go as well. The focus needs to be to try to put as much effort into next week as we did into this week."
Quinn is a gamer: Brady Quinn was great in his first start (against Denver) and lost. Against Buffalo, he was smacked in the mouth and struggled, yet made enough plays to win the game down the stretch.
The Broncos sat back and let Quinn pick them apart. The Bills took the opposite approach, showing Quinn numerous blitzes and pressure packages in his second career start.
The results weren't pretty. Quinn took a lot of hits and finished 14 of 36 for 185 yards with a lowly 55.9 passer rating. However, he remained composed on the road and made two of his biggest completions in the final two minutes for 12 and 16 yards, putting the Browns in position for Phil Dawson's winning 56-yard field goal.
Most importantly, Quinn didn't have a turnover for the second straight game.
"The biggest thing in this league is taking care of the football, and that's what I pride myself on," Quinn said. "If you limit the amount of turnovers, you don't allow the other team to get momentum."
Before the two-minute drill that led to the winning drive, Crennel went up to his second-year quarterback and gave him a brief pep talk.
"I said it was the same situation last week. We needed a score -- we needed at least a field goal," Crennel said. "I think he knows that the quarterbacks that are going to be good in this league, they have to be able to move the team and produce in that situation."
Quinn and the Browns came through when they needed it most against Buffalo.
Now Cleveland has to prove this clutch performance wasn't just a one-game anomaly.