The Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills were like two heavyweight boxing champions slugging it out for four quarters, but in the end, the Browns landed the haymaker in the final round in the form of an interception return for a touchdown and sealed a 37-24 win over the Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football.
Late in the game, the Bills tried to pass their way to a come-from-behind victory, but Browns safety T.J. Ward stepped in front of a Jeff Tuel pass and returned the interception 44 yards for a touchdown to seal the victory for Cleveland.
Cundiff’s second field goal of the game capped off a 10-play, 26-yard drive that took 4:32 off the clock.
The Browns and Bills were tied at 24-24 after three quarters of play.
After the Bills took a seven-point lead, the Browns wasted little time returning the favor.
Two plays after Buffalo’s go-ahead score, quarterback
Buffalo running back Fred Jackson scored his second one-yard touchdown of the game and put the Bills back in front of the Browns, 24-17, with 6:32 left to play in the third quarter. Jackson again scored after the Browns committed a pass-interference penalty in the end zone.
On third-and-five from the Browns’ eight-yard line, Tuel lofted a pass to tight end Scott Chandler in the left corner of the end zone. Chandler dragged across the middle of the field and initiated contact with Ward, but drew the penalty when he could only get one hand on the pass attempt.
Tuel was in the game because three plays earlier, starting quarterback EJ Manuel ran for 14 yards and a first down but took a hit on his right knee from Browns safety
Buffalo running back C.J. Spiller rushed for a 54-yard touchdown and drew the Bills even with the Browns at the 13:51 mark of the third quarter. Spiller took the handoff up the middle, bounced it through a hole on the left side of the line and outran three Browns to the end zone.
On the strength of two
Benjamin returned Shawn Powell’s 52-yard punt 79 yards for a touchdown and gave the Browns their first lead over the Bills, 17-10, with 2:20 remaining in the first half.
After fielding the punt at the Browns’ 21-yard line, Benjamin ran from the right hash mark to the middle of the field and was able to turn upfield near the Browns’ sideline. After stepping out of one tackle and spinning his way past another, Benjamin got one final block, which sealed the special-teams score.
Cleveland running back
McGahee capped off a 14-play, 74-yard drive that covered 7:10 and had two defensive penalties, one for encroachment and a second for illegal contact. Both of the penalties against Buffalo came in the red zone.
Cundiff converted a 30-yard field goal attempt and drew the Browns to within one score of the Bills, 10-3, with 14:24 to play in the first half.
It was a special teams play that helped set up the Browns’ first score of the game.
After forcing the Bills to punt, Benjamin fielded the 44-yard kick and returned it 57 yards to Buffalo’s 31-yard line.
Following a touchdown in the first five minutes of the game and a 52-yard field goal, the Bills held a 10-0 lead over the Browns after the first quarter of play.
Buffalo kicker Dan Carpenter converted the 52-yard field goal, which extended the Bills’ lead over the Browns to 10-0 with 5:51 left to play in the first quarter. The Buffalo drive travelled 56 yards on 12 plays in 4:15.
Earlier in the quarter, Jackson rushed through a pile of players and scored a one-yard touchdown, which put the Bills in front of the Browns, 7-0, with 13:16 remaining in the first quarter.
Jackson’s touchdown came one play after the Browns were flagged for pass interference in the end zone.
On second-and-eight from Cleveland’s 30-yard line, Manuel tested
The penalty moved the ball to the one-yard line.