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Browns squander too many opportunities, fall to Bills in Detroit

Cleveland suffered from too many self-inflicted mistakes and poor play in the red zone in a loss to Buffalo


DETROIT — The Browns dropped their second straight game, 31-23, on Sunday against the Bills at Ford Field — a game that was relocated to Detroit due to a snowstorm that dropped feet of snow in Buffalo.

The Browns had several chances to pull away with a big lead in the first half but entered halftime down 13-10. With a 7-3 lead, QB Jacoby Brissett threw two accurate passes to Harrison Bryant and Pharaoh Brown on consecutive plays during a drive that moved into the red zone in the second quarter, but both passes were dropped. The Browns had to settle for a field goal.

On the next offensive drive, the Browns were once again on the move at midfield, but Brissett mishandled a snap from Hjalte Froholdt, who replaced Ethan Pocic at center after he departed with a knee injury. The Bills recovered the fumble and kicked a field goal on the next drive.

The Bills took the lead with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs with 18 seconds left in the half. The pass to Diggs was his first target of the game, and the Bills never gave up their lead.

Not much improved for the Browns in the second half, as Buffalo capitalized on a turnover-on-downs on Cleveland's first drive of the half with another touchdown to go up 22-10. The Browns drove down the field far enough for a 34-yard field goal attempt by Cade York on the next drive, but the kick was blocked — a play that highlighted the plethora of errors that cost the Browns in key moments.

The Browns scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to draw within one possession — Cooper caught his second touchdown of the game, and Donovan Peoples-Jones caught his first touchdown of the season — but the Bills got the ball back with 17 seconds left and ended the game on kneel downs.

Moment that mattered most: After the Browns turned the ball over on fourth down on their first drive of the third quarter, Buffalo marched into the red zone and found a touchdown with a 5-yard run from RB Devin Singletary. The score put the Bills up 22-10, a deficit that wasn't too large but felt difficult to overcome after the Browns went nearly 50 minutes without their next touchdown.

Player of the game: Brissett. The loss certainly wasn't his fault as he went 28-for-41 with 324 yards and three touchdowns. Brissett played a mostly clean game and gave the Browns plenty of chances to score, but the Browns squandered too many of them.

Stat of the game: 1. The Browns entered the red zone three times but scored a touchdown on just one of the chances. The other two drives resulted in a field goal — after the two dropped passes from Bryant and Brown — and a blocked field goal.

The game was decided when: With 2 minutes left, Bills kicker Tyler Bass hit his sixth field goal of the game from 38 yards to extend the Bills' lead to 15 points, which eliminated the chance of a Browns comeback if they couldn't recover an onside kick. They attempted one after Peoples-Jones' touchdown with 17 seconds left but didn't recover.

What's next?: The Browns will be back at home for the first time since October when they host the Buccaneers next Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium for Week 12. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

Check out photos of the Browns against the Bills in Detroit in Week 11

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