NFL Nation: MNF11 Browns

No quit in these Browns

November, 18, 2008
11/18/08
10:46
AM ET

 
 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.

In the process, the Browns proved they still have fight left in them, upsetting the Buffalo Bills, 29-27, at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

"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.

 
 NFL.com Video
 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.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills are in last place.

The team that jumped out to a 4-0 start and became a fashionable pick to win the AFC continued to tumble Monday night with a wrenching 29-27 loss at home to the Cleveland Browns.

Rian Lindell missed a 47-yard field-goal attempt that would have won it, but the Bills shouldn't have been proud of the effort had they pulled out a victory.

The Bills are 5-5, have lost four straight and five of their past six. They're only two games behind the first-place New York Jets, but with only six games remaining, the hole is substantial.

Wild card? Tiebreakers aren't the Bills' friends. They're already 0-3 against the rest of the AFC East. They've forfeited home-field advantage against the Miami Dolphins, opting to grab the money and move the Dec. 7 game to Toronto, where they'll play in a dome and not the blustery Western New York elements.

 
 NFL.com Video
 Highlights of the Browns' victory over the Bills.

Bills quarterback Trent Edwards was a detriment from the start. He threw three interceptions in the first quarter -- on his first, third and sixth passes of the night.

He finished with 148 yards and a touchdown -- a dump to Marshawn Lynch, who made a brilliant 18-yard run. Edwards also scored from a yard out on a sneak, but his performance will not be met with favorable reviews by Bills fans.

He failed to complete a single pass to top target Lee Evans and connected with a wide receiver only four times all night.

If not for Cleveland's inability to stop a running game that had slowed to a crawl and Buffalo's return units, the game wouldn't have been close.

Lynch finally had a triple-digit game, going for 119 yards.

Rookie Leodis McKelvin brought back a kickoff 98 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown. Roscoe Parrish returned a punt 34 yards inside the final five minutes and with the game on the line.

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Cleveland Browns held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter for the third consecutive game.

This time the Browns held on -- barely.

In what could be a sign that Cleveland will not pack it in for the remainder of the season, Browns kicker Phil Dawson made a career-best 56-yard field goal late to seal a 29-27 victory over the Buffalo Bills. The game marked the first career victory for quarterback Brady Quinn, who led the Browns down the field in the final two minutes for the victory.

Cleveland (4-6) is far behind in the playoff race and likely doesn't have much to play for the rest of the season. But it still could be a dangerous team to play down the stretch.

The Browns outplayed the Bills (5-5), who are in the playoff hunt, for most of the game. Despite another shaky fourth quarter, Cleveland also showed poise in key moments for the first time in a while.

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Bring out the fireworks!

After a defensive battle through three quarters, the final period opened with back-to-back touchdowns on consecutive plays.

The Cleveland Browns scored on Jerome Harrsison's 72-yard run to give the Browns a 23-13 lead early in the fourth. But on the next play, Bills rookie cornerback Leodis McKelvin returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards to cut the margin to 23-20.

The Browns, although briefly, held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter for the third consecutive game. Let's see if Cleveland holds on or continues its disturbing trend of blowing fourth-quarter leads.

Browns-Bills halftime notes

November, 17, 2008
11/17/08
10:11
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. --The Cleveland Browns lead the Buffalo Bills 13-10 at halftime of their "Monday Night Football" clash.

Here are some first-half observations:

  • Cleveland's much-maligned defense is clearly taking exception to all the talk of them struggling and quitting in its last game against the Denver Broncos. The Browns forced three turnovers in the first quarter that Cleveland turned into six points.
  • Browns quarterback Brady Quinn is facing a lot more pressure than he did in his first start, and it is affecting his play. Buffalo is playing a lot of man-to-man defense against Quinn and hitting him in the process. The pressure has forced a lot of high throws as Quinn is 5 for 13 for 74 yards in the first half.
  • The Bills, like many teams this year, had no answer for Browns defensive tackle Shaun Rogers early. He was tripled-teamed twice on two interceptions. The first triple-team he got his hand on the ball and his tip resulted in an interception. Buffalo initially tried running at him. Eventually the Bills got the message and started sealing Rogers off and running away from him for bigger gains.
  • Cleveland receiver Braylon Edwards started the game with yet another drop. But, to his credit, he did respond with three catches afterwards in the first half. Edwards, who leads the NFL in drops this year, has the tendency to let one drop snowball into multiple drops.

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- After a slow start, the Cleveland Browns' offense is starting to get it going against the Buffalo Bills.

Joshua Cribbs ran in the first touchdown of the game to give the Browns a 13-0 lead and silenced Ralph Wilson Stadium. Brady Quinn's connections with receiver Braylon Edwards helped move the Browns down the field.

Quinn started the game slowly, completing just one of his first eight passes. But he eventually got it going by finding his targets on slants and crossing routes down the field. He is currently 5 for 13 for 74 yards.

This is the third consecutive game Cleveland has earned a lead of at least 13 points. It will be interesting to see if the Browns are able to hold on this time around.

[Update: Bills tailback Marshawn Lynch scored on an 18-yard reception to cut Cleveland's lead to 13-7. Cleveland's defense cannot assert its will when given the chance.]

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The benching of Cleveland Browns cornerback Brandon McDonald didn't last long.

It lasted just one play.

Browns head coach Romeo Crennel sat McDonald for the first series as punishment for his poor performance in Cleveland's 34-30 loss to the Denver Broncos. The series lasted one play as Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage.

It appears the benching was more of a gimmick to motivate McDonald than it was to get reserve cornerback Travis Daniels ready to play.

[Update: McDonald intercepted a pass, Trent Edwards' third pick of the first quarter.]

Bills' Edwards struggling early

November, 17, 2008
11/17/08
9:02
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The much-maligned defense of the Cleveland Browns is giving Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards a lot of problems in the first quarter.

Edwards has two picks in his first two possessions. The first was a tipped ball by defensive lineman Shaun Rogers that was caught by linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, and the second was right to Cleveland linebacker Andra Davis in coverage.

The Browns are playing a lot of zone early and Edwards is trying to force throws into coverage. Expect to see more zone from Cleveland if Edwards continues to struggled against it.

Brandon McDonald benched

November, 17, 2008
11/17/08
8:31
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Cleveland Browns coach Romeo Crennel hinted that there would be lineup changes this week, and it turned out to be just one casualty.

Browns starting cornerback Brandon McDonald was benched Monday in favor of reserve Travis Daniels before their game against the Buffalo Bills. McDonald was beat for two four-quarter touchdowns in Cleveland's recent 34-30 loss to the Denver Broncos.

Daniels came to the Cleveland earlier this season in a trade with the Miami Dolphins. This will be his first start for the Browns.

Browns-Bills inactives

November, 17, 2008
11/17/08
8:06
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Here are the inactives for the "Monday Night Football" game between the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills.

Browns

DB Gerard Lawson

DB Hamza Abdullah

FB Lawrence Vickers

LB Beau Bell

OL Scott Young

WR Steve Sanders

TE Martin Rucker

QB Ken Dorsey

Bills

WR Justin Jenkins

RB Xavier Omon

OL Jason Whittle

OL Demetrius Bell

WR Josh Reed

DL Aaron Schobel

DL John McCargo

QB Gibran Hamdan

Where's the snow?

November, 17, 2008
11/17/08
7:51
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- There will be no blizzard in the "Monday Night Football" game between the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns.

In fact, as of 90 minutes before kickoff, there is no precipitation at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

But it is cold in Orchard Park, N.Y. Many players are wearing gloves and long sleeves during warmups to help handle the weather. The forecast called for a couple of inches at some point tonight, so perhaps we will see wintry conditions during the game.

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