Turning Points

4 Turning Points: Browns' early lead slips away after starters go to sidelines

1. After forcing the Bills to a quick 3-and-out to start the game, the Browns quickly corrected the running game woes that plagued them last week. 

Duke Johnson had 22 yards on the ground, and Carlos Hyde had five carries for 41 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown run to cap off the drive. His vicious stiff-arm of Buffalo defensive back Jordan Poyer was the highlight of the drive, and the Browns took an early lead thanks to their ground game. Tyrod Taylor was 1-for-2 on the opening drive, completing a pass to Darren Fells to set up the Hyde touchdown.

All in all, the Browns looked sharp, traveling 70 yards over nine plays for the score. 

2. The Browns first-team defense was stout, to say the least. The unit gave up just 22 yards on 12 plays and forced four straight 3-and-outs. Buffalo didn't gain a first down on the Browns starters.

But when the Browns second defensive unit faced rookie quarterback Josh Allen, those first-team numbers were quickly forgotten. Allen was sacked on back-to-back plays by Derrick Kindred and Carl Nassib. But on Nassib's play, Genard Avery was flagged for illegal hands to the face, giving Buffalo a fresh set of downs. The Bills made the Browns pay.

Allen led the Bills on a march down the field in 15 plays, covering 80 yards over nearly eight minutes. He capped it off with an athletic touchdown pass to Rod Streater, escaping pressure from Nate Orchard to fire a dart. 

Buffalo also scored in the closing moments of the half on a Steven Hauschka field goal, which was set up by a big punt return. Allen and the Bills second-team offense also scored another field goal on their opening possession of the second half, giving the Bills 13 unanswered points.

Cleveland plays Buffalo Friday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

3. Da'Mari Scott's night was made late in the third quarter. He caught a 13-yard pass to begin the Browns drive, then hauled in an 18-yard catch. The latter included an unnecessary roughness penalty on Kelcie McCray, who hit Scott with the crown of his helmet.  

Scott's two catches and 31 yards put the Browns in good position. Then, Nick Chubb toted the ball 17 yards down to the Bills 1-yard line. Mayfield threw a goal-line fade to Derrick Willies for a touchdown but the play was reversed by review, and the Browns still needed a score. Chubb finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown to give the Browns a 17-13 lead. Mayfield's final drive went for nine plays, 65 yards and took just 2:59 off the clock.

4. The Bills wasted no time regaining the lead, marching 75 yards on seven plays, capped off by a Nathan Peterman 35-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nick O'Leary.

After a Browns punt, the Bills threatened again, but rookie kicker Tyler Davis' field goal went wide left. The Browns had another chance to find field-goal range and win the game.

The Drew Stanton-led offense faltered and went 3-and-out, though. Buffalo ran out the clock with running back Keith Ford.

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