The Buffalo Bills made it a little scarier than it had to be, but the Bills got the win they desperately needed Sunday, holding off the Cleveland Browns 24-14.
Buffalo started hot, grabbing a very early 14-0 on touchdown passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick to rookie T.J. Graham and to star RB C.J. Spiller.
Unfortunately, Spiller’s day wouldn’t last much longer. On the next Bills drive, Spiller caught a pass and headed downfield. He was brought down cleanly but landed awkwardly, injuring his left shoulder.
The Bills seemed shaken after the injury, and the Browns crawled back into the game, eventually pulling within three at 17-14 after a touchdown by rookie WR Travis Benjamin.
Buffalo recovered to ice the game late, however. Fitzpatrick led the Bills on an efficient drive in the fourth quarter that culminated in a 9-yard touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson. The Bills defense then picked off two Brandon Weeden passes (Leodis McKelvin and Bryan Scott got the INTs) and that was that.
Looking at the positives and negatives:
- The defense line continued to impress. Kyle Williams was his usual dominant self. Mario Williams got his first sack as a Bill and created pressure all game. Marcell Dareus and Mark Anderson also picked up sacks.
- The run defense was very strong once again. Cleveland RB Trent Richardson was held to just 27 yards on 12 carries. And this is a pretty good Cleveland offensive line. The Bills’ linebackers are playing pretty decently right now. Nick Barnett led the team with eight tackles.
- Stevie Johnson scored a touchdown for the third straight game on a SUPERB route. This man can play. He finished with seven catches with 61 yards.
- Hey, it’s Leodis McKelvin! He is doing a real nice job as a return man, and he even grabbed an INT on defense.
- I’ve been really hard on RB Tashard Choice since he signed with the Bills last year, but I must say he did a good job yesterday, finishing with 91 yards on 20 carries. He’s nowhere near Spiller’s class, but Choice is not dumb. He didn’t dance in the backfield or try to do anything fancy – he cut once and hit the big holes the offensive line was opening up for him.
- Speaking of the offensive line, another good performance there.
- It’s a win. No such thing as a bad win in the NFL.
- The CB situation is still a little shaky. Rookie Stephon Gilmore had some inexcusably bad coverage on Cleveland’s second touchdown. You best believe Tom Brady and the Patriots are coming right at him next week. Aaron Williams also got beat a few times and was lucky Weeden and the Browns couldn’t take advantage.
- Fitzpatrick started very well before trailing off in the second and third quarters. He was good on the last TD drive though.
- Not much else bad to say. Good win.