Already dealing with a significant number of injuries, the Bills lost EJ Manuel, Stevie Johnson -- and the game to Cleveland on Thursday, 37-24. Manuel went down with an apparent knee injury in the third quarter and did not return. Johnson left the game with what looked to be a back injury in the opening quarter.
After forcing Cleveland to a three-and-out on its first offensive series, the Bills took over and capitalized almost immediately. The Browns were flagged for pass interference on Buffalo's second offensive play from scrimmage, a fleaflicker followed by a deep throw from TJ Graham to Stevie Johnson. The infraction took place in the end zone, putting the ball on the Browns' 1-yard line. A play later, Fred Jackson bulldozed his way in putting Buffalo ahead 7-0.
Following Dan Carpenter's 52-yard field goal later in the opening quarter, Cleveland responded with a successful 30-yarder by Billy Cundiff. The Browns followed that with a 14-play, 74-yard drive, capped off by a 1-yard TD plunge courtesy of Willis McGahee. Cleveland converted four 3rd downs during the march, including a 19-yard completion to Jordan Cameron. Minutes later, the Browns took the lead for the first time on a 79-yard punt return by Travis Benjamin.
The Bills struck right back early in the 3rd on a 54-yard touchdown run by Spiller. Later in the quarter, Jackson reached the end zone for the second time from a yard out. The scoring drive was set up by another pass interference call in the end zone on the Browns. It was a lead the Bills would enjoy for only about a minute. Weeden connected with Josh Gordon on a 37-yard scoring pass, tying the score 24-24. A pair of Cundiff field goals put the Browns ahead by six with 2:19 to play.
Any thoughts of last-minute heroics from Tuel were squashed after Ward picked off the Buffalo rookie, taking it 44 yards to the end zone. Tuel finished 8 of 20 for 80 yards. Manuel was 11 of 20 for 129 yards before leaving the game. After taking over for Brian Hoyer early in the game, Weeden threw for 197 yards on 13 completions.
The loss drops the Bills to 2-3 with the Bengals coming to Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 13.
BUF - TD - 13:21 - Fred Jackson 1-yard run (Dan Carpenter extra point is good)
Drive: 2 plays, 32 yards, 0:44
BUF - FG - 5:55 - Dan Carpenter 52-yard attempt is good
Drive: 12 plays, 56 yards, 4:14
CLE - FG - 14:28 - Billy Cundiff 30-yard attempt is good
Drive: 7 plays, 19 yards, 2:17
CLE - TD - 3:52 - Willis McGahee 1-yard run (Billy Cundiff extra point is good)
Drive: 14 plays, 74 yards, 7:10
CLE - TD - 2:41 - Travis Benjamin 79-yard punt return (Billy Cundiff extra point is good)
Drive: 1 play, 79 yards, 0:00
BUF - TD - 14:01 - C.J. Spiller 54-yard run (Dan Carpenter extra point is good)
Drive: 3 plays, 80 yards, 1:09
BUF - TD - 6:41 - Fred Jackson 1-yard run (Dan Carpenter extra point is good)
Drive: 11 plays, 54 yards, 5:15
CLE - TD - 5:39 - Josh Gordon 37-yard pass from Brandon Weeden (Billy Cundiff extra point is good)
Drive: 2 plays, 74 yards, 0:57
CLE - FG - 12:34 - Billy Cundiff 24-yard attempt is good
Drive: 10 plays, 26 yards, 4:32
CLE - FG - 2:26 - Billy Cundiff 44-yard attempt is good
Drive: 8 plays, 31 yards, 4:41
CLE - TD - 1:54 - T.J. Ward 44-yard interception return (Billy Cundiff extra point is good)
Drive: 4 plays, 20 yards, 0:35