Browns Squeak by Bills

The Browns finally break through, thanks in no small part to miscues by the struggling Buffalo Bills. Fred Greetham has the wrap-up of the game, as Eric Mangini gets his first win as Browns head coach.

Thank goodness for the Buffalo Bills!

In a battle of struggling teams, the Browns struggled a little less and benefited from a turnover with just over two minutes to play as the Browns eked out a 6-3 win over the Bills.

Billy Cundiff kicked an 18-yard field goal with 23 seconds left to play for the win.

The win was the Browns first of the 2009 season and broke a 10 game losing streak. The last time the Browns won was at Buffalo on Nov. 17 of last season. The Browns are 1-4, while the Bills drop to 1-4.

Jamal Lewis returned after missing two weeks with a hamstring injury and rushed for 117 yards on 31 carries. He was virtually the entire offense as Derek Anderson threw for just 23 yards on a 2-of-17 performance, with an interception.

Punter Dave Zastudil punted nine times, but had three placed inside the five in a game that was dominated by field position.

The first half produced little offense for either team and a 24-yard field goal by Cundiff was the difference in a 3-0 halftime score.

Both teams traded punts for much of the first half with little offense until the Bills moved into Browns territory on their final possession of the first half. Trent Edwards hit Terrell Owens that moved the ball into Browns territory to the 34, but a penalty moved the Bills back to the 39. On fourth-and-six, the Bills elected to go for the first down and Edwards threw incomplete as the first quarter ended.

The Browns took over at the 39 and moved to Bills' territory with runs by Lewis and Jerome Harrison. However, the Browns stalled and punted back to the Bills. Zastudil punted the ball inside the five and Mike Adams was able to down the ball at the one.

After a motion penalty, the Bills did a quarterback sneak to start the drive before a short run by Fred Jackson. On third-and-six from the four, Edwards hit a short pass to Shawn Nelson and Brandon McDonald tackled him at the four.

The Browns took the lead at 3-0 with a 24-yard field goal with 7:23 to play in the first half as Cundiff connected. Cundiff was filling in for Phil Dawson, who missed his third-straight game with a calf injury.

The drive started after a Bills punt into the wind gave the Browns the ball at the Bills' 42 after a short return by Josh Cribbs. However, a holding call on Ray Ventrone pushed the Browns back to their own 46. It looked as though they would be forced to punt again, but an offside penalty on the Bills gave the Browns another chance and Cribbs ran a reverse for 31 yards to the Bills' 15. It was the first third down conversion of the game for either team. However, an incomplete pass at the seven forced the field goal.

After the Browns field goal, the Bills moved into Browns' territory on runs by Edwards and Owens. On third down, Eric Wright interfered with Josh Reed on third down to put the ball inside the Browns' 40. Edwards hit Owens on third down to the 18.

After two penalties, and faced with third-and-16, Kamerion Wimbley came around the right end for a sack to moved the ball back to the 32. Rather than try a long field goal, Edwards threw deep incomplete.

The Browns took over at the 32 but just ran out the clock on the first half with a 3-0 lead.

The Bills tied the game at 3-3 when Rian Lindell kicked a 36-yard field goal on the Bills' opening possession of the second half.

After containing the Bills for over a half, the Bills converted on back-to-back third down conversions , including a 35-yard pass to Marshawn Lynch that moved the Bills to the Browns' 26. They moved inside the red zone before being forced to kick the field goal.  

After the teams traded several possessions, Anderson threw an interception to Jairus Byrd near midfield. However, Edwards returned the favor as Eric Wright picked off a pass intended for Owens inside the Browns' 10

However, another three-and-out gave the ball back to the Bills to start the fourth quarter. The Bills returned the favor and punted back to the Browns, who started at their own 47. The Browns could do nothing with it and Zastudil pushed the Bills back to their one with his second punt of the game to the one with 12:15 to play.

A false start put the Bills within inches of the goal line. Edwards tried to throw deep on first down, but overthrew Lee Evans. After a short throw, the Bills had to punt from their end zone.

The Browns, once again, couldn't take advantage of good field position and punted back to the Bills. Zastudil, for the third time, put the ball inside the five, to the four with 7:13 to play. After an apparent three-and-out, Corey Williams was flagged for roughing the passer and a first down to outside the 20. The Browns were able to force a punt, but not until the Bills moved the ball to the 43.

The Browns punted back to the Bills, but Roscoe Parrish fumbled and Blake Costanzo recovered at the Bills' 16.  After two yards on two runs by Lewis the Browns had the ball on the 14.

Faced with third-and-8, Lewis took a pitch around left end for nine yards and a first down to the five. The Bills used up their timeouts and the Browns ran three straight times with Lewis to the one-yard line with 26 seconds left. Cundiff lined up for a 18 yard field goal to win the game with 23 seconds to play.

Notebook

He's Back: After missing the past two games, RB Jamal Lewis started and the Browns gave him the ball the first four plays and he picked up 20 yards before the Browns passed and had to punt after an incomplete third down play. RB Jerome Harrison came in on the second series and had a nine-yard run on his first carry. Lewis had 14 carries for 50 yards in the first half, while Harrison had eight carries for 21 yards in the game. Lewis had an 18-yard run to open the second half and finished with 31 carries for 117 yards. It was the first time Lewis went over 100 yards since 2007. Harrison had 121 yards last week to give the Browns back-to-back 100-yard rushers.

Dave's the Man: P Dave Zastudil placed three punts inside the five, two to the one in a battle for field position. Zastudil punted nine times with seven inside the 20.

DA's Day: QB Derek Anderson had no completions until 37 seconds were left in the first half, when he hit WR Mohamed Massaquoi for 16 yards. He started with six-straight incomplete passes. Anderson was 1-of-7 for 16 yards in the first half and finished just 2-of-17 for 23 yards, with an interception. Anderson threw a perfect strike to TE Robert Royal, who was open in the seam, but dropped it. Royal, a former Bill, looked as though he would go in for a touchdown , if he'd had held onto the ball. Anderson was intercepted by DB Jairus Byrd late in the third quarter. Anderson had a 4.9 QB rating into the fourth quarter and didn't complete another pass.

Third Down Blues: Neither team had a third down conversion until 9:28 in the second quarter when Josh Cribbs ran a reverse for 31 yards to the Bills' 15. The Browns were 3-of-14 on third down.

Flag Half: The Bills had nine penalties in the first half, while the Browns had two.

Nice Break: KR Josh Cribbs muffed a punt and it was recovered by DB Eric Wright at the Browns' one, however, the Bills were penalized and forced to kick over. The second punt went into the end zone, giving the Browns much better field position.

Shuffle off to Buffalo: The last win for the Browns was last season against the Bills. The Browns carried a 10 game losing streak into the game, which is the second-longest in franchise history.

Sack Men: The Browns sacked QB Trent Edwards on the first series, credited to DL Kenyon Coleman, while LB Kamerion Wimbley had one in the second quarter to take the Bills out of field goal position. He led the Browns at the half with five tackles, while LB Eric Barton had four tackles.

DQ52: After being listed as doubtful all week, LB D'Qwell Jackson played despite a hamstring injury. He led the Browns with nine tackles.

Dawson Out Again: K Phil Dawson missed his third-straight game with a calf injury. K Billy Cundiff hit a 24-yard field goal for the Browns' first score and the game winner from 18 yards out with 23 seconds left.


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