Bills improving despite loss

The Buffalo Bills moved closer to a cohesive team with a decent performance against the Browns, but mistakes again cost them a victory. The Bills (0-3) have yet to win a game under first-year head coach Dick Jauron, but did show some positive signs.

Bills fans welcomed back Takeo Spikes, who played his first game in 11 months since tearing his right Achilles' tendon. The two-time Pro Bowl linebacker played in two series and had one tackle stopping Ruben Droughns for 2 yards on the Browns' first play to a loud and appreciative home crowd. "I was very anxious, very nervous and I felt like a little kid in a candy store who got his first taste of sugar," Spikes said. "I'm glad to be home."

Spike's presence in the first drive wasn't enough to keep Cleveland from marching down the field on their opening drive. The Browns, who were also welcoming back Braylon Edwards from a severe knee injury last season, drove for the game's first score. Edwards was pummeled by cornerback Jabari Greer after his catch in traffic at the Buffalo 2. He jumped up and spun the ball to the ground. Edwards' catch came on the opening drive and set up Frye's 2-yard touchdown throw to tight end Steve Heiden after a play-fake influenced half the Buffalo defense to follow Kellen Winslow Jr. Frye was outstanding on the series, hitting six different receivers on the 68-yard drive. He wiggled a shoulder to avoid a sack and fired a 22-yard throw to Dennis Northcutt. Frye converted two other third downs on the march.

Receiver Peerless Price caught his first pass this preseason, a 56-yard touchdown reception, while quarterback J.P. Losman all but secured the starting job with an efficient outing. Losman's TD throw came on a first-down play from the Bills' 46. Losman took a deep drop back, and Browns linebacker Matt Stewart blitzed untouched into the backfield. Losman made an athletic evasion of Stewart, stepped up into the pocket and launched a pass deep down the left sideline for Price, who had gotten three steps behind cornerback Ralph Brown. Losman had to duck a shot from linebacker Willie McGinest as he let go of the ball but led Price perfectly. He caught the ball at the 10-yard line and ran in for the touchdown with 10 seconds left in the first quarter.

It was Price's only catch, but it capped a tough week in which he was fined for missing practice last Sunday because he misread the team's schedule.

Late in the first half, Losman hit Lee Evans on strikes of 14, 9 and 16 yards to move Buffalo to the Cleveland 7. On the next play, Losman smartly eluded a blitzing McGinest and scrambled into the end zone. However, the play was called back due to a 5-yard illegal formation penalty and the Bills settled for a 32-yard Rian Lindell field goal. Losman finished 15 of 22 for 184 yards and a touchdown. His only blemish was a poorly thrown ball to the right sideline that was intercepted by Ralph Brown in the third quarter. Bills QB Craig Nall led the Bills the rest of the evening.

Nall led the Bills on two long drives in the 4th quarter. With the score tied 10-10, Nall engineered a time consuming, 16 play drive that moved the Bills to the Cleveland 3 yard line. The drive saw two third and longs converted with 16 and 15 yard receptions by Sam Aiken and George Wilson. But the 16th play on third and goal from the three ended with another miscue. Nall's pass intended for former Brown Andre Davis was picked off in the end zone and returned 27 yards killing the threat.

Third string QB Derek Anderson wasted no time moving the Browns 73 yards for the go ahead score. Anderson capped a six play 73 yard drive with a 28 yard TD pass to Josh Cribbs with 3:18 left to put Cleveland ahead 17-10. Josh Cribbs is the nephew of former Buffalo Bill RB Joe Cribbs.

Nall rallied the team with a quick touchdown on the ensuing drive. Finding George Wilson over the middle, the scrappy WR kicked in a second gear and raced 56 yards on the first play. The 79-yard drive concluded with a 4th down 3-yard TD run by Lionel Gates with 2:04 remaining. Nall finished the game 8 of 14 for 126 yards and one interception.

Derek Anderson then finished the game with an 11-play 68 yard drive that set up Jeff Chandler's game winning 35 yard FG with no time left. Anderson overcame two fumbles which he was able to recover.

Game Notes & Quotes

QB Kelly Holcomb did not play.

The Bills were flagged for nine penalties worth 55 yards Rookie cornerback Ashton Youboty was a healthy scratch. He's on bereavement leave due to the death of his mother. Former Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly and former Bills 10-time pro bowl G Ruben Brown were in attendance on the sidelines. Browns Hall of Famer Jim Brown was at the game. He serves as an executive advisor for the team.

George Wilson, who is fighting for one of the wide receiver spots, gave the coaches something to think about. He had two catches for 71 yards, including a 56-yard catch and run that set up the tying touchdown in the two minutes. "A man in my position doesn't get a whole lot of opportunities, so you have to make the most of them when they come to you," said Wilson. "That's my mentality in each and every game - minimize my mistakes and make a play when I get an opportunity."

Strong safety Matt Bowen (leg), fullback Jon Goldberry (ankle), offensive tackle Dylan McFarland (knee) and tight end Ryan Neufeld (foot) were held out of the game because of injuries.. . .

Offensive lineman Ross Tucker, a surprise cut by the Bills last year, made his return as the starting center for the Browns. Tucker is the fourth center the Browns have used this summer (LeCharles Bentley is injured, Bob Hallen retired and Alonzo Ephraim violated the NFL's substance abuse policy).



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