Browns Unable to Answer the Bell Against Bills’ Vaunted Defensive Front

The Buffalo Bills defeated the Cleveland Browns by the score of 26-10 as both teams are now at 7-5 on the season.

Jim Leonard vs Bills

The Browns went to the quick passing game and had success early on. They were able to move the football into Bills’ territory but would eventually settle for a field goal with 4:55 remaining in the first quarter to make the score 3-0. The Bills responded with a drive of their own, but Kyle Orton forced a pass into double coverage to Sammy Watkins, which was subsequently picked off by Jim Leonard in the end zone.

With 1:09 remaining in the second quarter, Brian Hoyer and Josh Gordon clearly were not on the same page. Gordon continued running up field while Hoyer anticipated an in-breaking route. The miscommunication resulted in an interception by Da’Norris Searcy. The Bills moved the ball into field goal position but came away with no points as Joe Haden was able to block Dan Carpenter’s field goal attempt.

In the third quarter with the Browns up 3-0, Haden continued blanketing Sammy Watkins as he jammed the rookie wide receiver at the line of scrimmage, which threw off timing and led to a Haden interception. Unfortunately the Browns were unable to move the ball on their following possession.

With 9:12 left in the 3rd quarter, the Browns appeared to have stopped the Bills on third-and-four, but the Bills converted on fourth down on a big play to Robert Woods for 34 yards to put the Bills at the Browns three-yard line. Orton then connected with Chris Hogan for a three-yard touchdown to make the score 7-3.

The Browns got the ball back with 8:04 to go in the second quarter, but Terrance West was tracked down in the backfield and stripped of the football. The ball was picked up by Jerry Hughes and returned for 18 yards for a touchdown. The score put the Bills up 14-3. Their second touchdown of the game came just 10 seconds after their pervious score. Browns’ head coach Mike Pettine clearly was clearly still very upset about the fumble after Terrance West vs Billsthe game.

“The fumble by West really changed the whole flow of the game. Pettine said,” “It would’ve been a one score game and that’s the frustrating thing. You can’t be that loose with the football.

“It’s Inexcusable”

The Browns’ offense continued to falter as they were kept off schedule on their following drive and went three-and-out.

With 13:46 left, in the fourth quarter, Bills’ kicker Dan Carpenter connected on a 49-yard field goal to stretch their lead by the score of 17-3.

On the Browns next possession, Hoyer threw his second interception of the day to Searcy. The Bills were unable to get into the end zone but Carpenter made a 34-yard field goal to make the score 20-3.

Manziel vs Bills

With 12:01 remaining in the fourth quarter, Johnny Manziel entered the game to relieve Hoyer and he would capitalize on his opportunity. Manziel led the Browns on an eight play, 3:14, 80-yard drive. Manziel scrambled for a 10-yard touchdown to make the score 20-10.

The Browns gave up chunks of yardage on the ground as well as through the air which led to another Bills’ field goal to make the score 23-10. The Browns attempted to convert on fourth down in their own territory, and failed. The Bills would tack on another field goal to make the final score 26-10.


-Joe Haden did an outstanding job on rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins who created little separation throughout the game. Haden disrupted timing by jamming Watkins off of the line of scrimmage and, and stayed in Watkins’ hip pocket on vertical routes as well

-The Browns’ run defense was gashed up the middle on occasion, but their Fred Jackson vs Brownsdefensive front held Fred Jackson, Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown to a combined 3.7 yards per rushing attempt.




Areas for Improvement 

-The Browns’ run game has struggled as a whole since Alex Mack’s injury, and Sunday’s game was no different as Isaiah Crowell had just 29 yards on 17 carries. Terrance west had 32 yards on 7 carries, but had difficulty holding on to the football. If the Browns wish to make opposing defenses think twice with run fakes, they will need to have much more success on the ground. If they can’t get the ground game going, they will have to begin throwing the football to set up the run. This team currently does not possess the personnel up front to impose their will on anyone.


-Brian Hoyer did not have his best game by any measure. Hoyer was 18 of 30 for 192 yards, and two interceptions. Hoyer was pulled in favor of Johnny Manziel after his second interception of the game. Hoyer’s benching was premature but it’s going to be difficult for the Browns to explain trotting Hoyer back onto the field after Manziel ostensibly provided a spark for the Browns offense. Browns’ head coach Mike Pettine spoke on the quarterback situation after the game.

 “It’s always a cumulative, body-of-work, so we’ll get through the tape and put it all out there on the table and make a decision that best fits the team.”

Mike Pettine later said the team will make an official decision on whether to start Manziel or Hoyer by Wednesday.

-The offensive line had a rough outing as they were powerless to keep pressure off of Hoyer and unable to generate a surge in the run game. Mario Williams was able to split double teams to rush the passer, and Joe Thomas was called for holding on multiple occasions, as he seemed incapable of handling the speed of Jerry Hughes. The Browns also took another hit to the offensive line as Nick McDonald left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. Joe Thomas gave the Bills defensive line their due after the game.

“They proved they’re the best today. We didn’t run the ball very well on them because we weren’t able to open up holes. They did a good job of stopping us up front. We have to give them a lot of credit.”


What’s Next?

The Browns will face the 8-4 Indianapolis Colts in week 14. The Browns’ secondary will again be tested as the Colts lead the league in passing yardage with 323.1 yards per game.  The Browns will need to find a way to manufacture points if they wish to keep up with one of the league’s best offenses.

The Browns would be better served sticking with Brian Hoyer, but look for them to make the permanent switch to Johnny Manziel in an effort to kickstart their offense. The incentive for starting Manziel is that rushing lanes tend to be wider when mobile quarterbacks are in the game. Manziel could very well be the catalyst for resurgence on offense if given the opportunity as a result of the mobility he provides.

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