Give this unit credit. After three miserable games in a row of getting dominated at the point of attack, the Bills' front five owned the trenches. Marshawn Lynch was dominant, rushing for 119 yards on 23 carries as Fred Jackson (12 carries, 60 yards) also added a spark. The Bills nearly produced as much rushing yards Monday night (186) as they have in the past three games combined (209). Duke Preston held his ground on mammoth nose guard Shaun Rogers, as guards Derrick Dockery and Brad Butler consistently gave Lynch a glimmer of daylight. While Rogers did amass six tackles, he hardly threw a kink into Buffalo's rushing game.
Yes, Braylon Edwards was Cleveland's best weapon Monday, ringing the Bills up for 104 yards on eight receptions. But it could have been a lot worse. Buffalo's No. 1 cornerback McGee batted away six passes in the loss – often on a 1-on-1 island with Edwards. In one key sequence with five minutes left, McGee punched away 2nd and 3rd down attempts to Edwards in solo coverage. Considering the shellacking Ted Ginn Jr. gave him a few weeks ago in Miami, McGee is certainly getting back to full strength.
Ohhh, this is why the Bills took Leodis McKelvin over Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Buffalo's first-round pick can instantly switch the momentum of a game on his speed alone. After Cleveland's Jerome Harrison scored to put the Browns up 10, McKelvin was lightning in a bottle on the ensuing kickoff. Shook up and shot out. The cornerback jolted upfield – no dancing, no decision – for 98 yards. For good measure, McKelvin also had a 49-yard runback in the first quarter.
Edwards nearly salvaged a nightmare first quarter with a heroic fourth. But the moment Lindell's kick whiffed right, those three quick interceptions magnified tenfold.
Three of Buffalo's first four offensive drives ended in Edwards interceptions. Luckily for Buffalo, the Browns only mustered two field goals from the miscues. But those six points ultimately decided the game. Edwards shouldered the blame after the loss.
"It's frustrating right now," he said. "I don't really have any good answers," he said. "I'm frustrated with myself and the way I performed."
Two of the picks were poor reads by Edwards, while one was tipped by Rogers at the line of scrimmage – a recurring problem for Edwards as of late. Over 10 quarters – including the first stanza against Cleveland – Edwards has tossed eight interceptions, lost two fumbles and given up a safety.
Gulp…let the QB Controversy 6.0 begin?
For the first time in 67 games, Evans was held without a catch. Cleveland completely neutralized Buffalo's deep threat with constant over-the-top shadowing. A gun-shy Edwards rarely took shots 15+ yards downfield, opting for dumpoffs to Lynch for 10 completions. Still, the Browns also did a stellar job of giving Evans continuous attention and making other Bills receivers beat them.
On the Browns only explosive offensive play of the night, Posluszny was manhandled by Cleveland fullback Charles Ali. The hefty 255-pound back turned Posluszny outside toward the left sideline, allowing Jerome Harrison to cut off his butt for 72-yard touchdown run.
After holding Jamal Lewis to only 3.6 yards per carry, this play was an absolute backbreaker.