In Week, 11 ESPN and the Browns turned the tables on the Buffalo Bills in a remake of “Wide Right” that made Scott Norfolk infamous in Western New York. It wasn’t pretty and sure as heck wasn’t efficient, but the Cleveland Browns escaped Buffalo with a 29-27 victory.
Brady Quinn wasn’t as impressive as he was in his starting debut, statistics wise, but in the end, he committed no turnovers and led the Browns on the final scoring drive of the night, which generated Phil Dawson’s career long 56-yard field goal for the victory.
It was the polar opposite for Bills’ quarterback Trent Edwards, whose three interceptions in the Bills’ first four drives handed the Browns an early lead.
The Browns jumped out to a 13-0 lead via a pair of Dawson field goals and a Josh Cribbs rushing touchdown that capped a 96-yard drive. The lead should have been much larger, but the Browns could only manage six points off of Edwards’ three interceptions.
But as it has all year, the Browns' defense couldn’t hold down the Bills for long as the lead quickly diminished. The Bills’ play-calling handcuffed Edwards, due to his rocky start, but he took advantage of Marshawn Lynch as a safety valve and Fred Jackson of out the shotgun.
Add in the Browns' continued poor effort at tackling, and it was 13-10 by the time the first half ended.
The Browns went three and out to start the third quarter, but much-maligned Brandon McDonald forced a Fred Jackson fumble that Ahtyba Rubin recovered at their own 37. Then, an odd thing started to occur, Braylon Edwards started catching the football.
The Browns marched into Bills’ territory but stalled once again and had to settle for Dawson’s third field goal of the night and a 16-10 lead. That made for a paltry nine points off of four Buffalo turnovers, two which occurred in Bills’ territory.
The game got interesting after Buffalo answered with a Rian Lindell field goal to make the score 16-13. After another Braylon Edwards reception, underused tailback Jerome Harrison broke a 72-yard touchdown run for a 23-13 Browns advantage.
It was short-lived, however, when Bills’ kick returned Leodis McKelvin took the ensuing kick-off back 98 yards for a touchdown and cut the Browns’ lead to 23-20.
Harrison once again drove the Browns down the field with a 15-yard run and a 21-yard reception on a beautiful pass by Quinn. The Browns faced a 1st-and-goal on the Bills’ nine but had to settled for Dawson’s fourth field goal of the game and a 26-20 lead.
The Bills and Browns traded punts but thanks to Roscoe Parrish’s 34 yard return the Bills’ were set up in Browns territory. Marshawn Lynch continued to gash the Browns’ defense, this time on the ground, as he rumbled just short of the goal line. Trent Edwards snuck in to with 2:25 remaining for a 27-26 Bills’ lead.
Quinn had a second chance at a fourth quarter comeback as he took over on the Browns’ 33. He hit Edwards for 12 big yards to start the drive. He then found Kellen Winslow for 16 to get down to the Bills’ 39. Three straight incomplete passes led to 4th-and-10 and yet another field goal decision for Browns Head Coach Romeo Crennel.
Send Dawson out for a 56-yard attempt or go for it.
Crennel looked at Dawson and Dawson nodded. He then proceeded to knock his fifth field goal of the game home for a 29-27 Browns lead. There was still 1:39 left on the clock, and Trent Edwards still had a shot at redemption.
A squib kick let the Bills start the drive on their own 44. Edwards took advantage right away, hitting Robert Royal on a 30-yard pass to the Browns’ 34. After a few runs to make the field goal attempt shorter, Lindell lined up for a 47-yard attempt.
The snap and hold were good, but the kick was pushed just a bit...wide right...Browns victory.
The Browns could exhale despite not putting the Bills away early. The nine points off of four turnovers almost came back to bite them. They were only three of 13 on third down all night. Quinn was a pedestrian 14-36 for 185 yards, but in the end, he had the poise and calming effect to lead the team down for the go-ahead score.
It may not have been pretty, but the Browns avoided becoming the first team in NFL history to avoid blowing 13-point leads in three consecutive games. A win is a win, and this team will take it any way they can.