Originally written September 23, 2012 on Waiting For Next Year:
The Cleveland Browns just weren’t good enough today. The defense wasn’t great, but they consistently gave the Browns’ offense a chance to win. The Browns’ offense showed some flashes but either shot themselves in the foot or had some calls work against them. There is no giant goat for this one. This was just a team loss all the way around, from the get go. It was made even worse considering the Bills played the majority of the game without their burgeoning star running back, C.J. Spiller who was injured by Usama Young after a gain. You won’t win many games in the NFL when spotting your opponent a two touchdown lead and that’s just what the Browns did. The Browns gave up two touchdowns in the first quarter. The Browns’ defense got torched on the first drive. The Browns gave the Bills great field position on the second drive via a Reggie Hodges punt that appeared to out-kick the coverage. That Bills scoring drive was four plays and 49 yards. Meanwhile the Browns had nothing but three and outs in between. The refs made some bad calls, but it didn’t feel like either team was more ripped off. In fact, it occurs to me that I am not really complaining about the officials any more or less than I did a year ago. They certainly slow the game down more, but ultimately I’m just not sure they’re that much worse than any other humans officiating a fast, violent game. Still, all said and done, the Browns were trailing 17-14 to start the fourth quarter. Trent Richardson had a TD run in the second quarter and the Browns mustered an impressive drive of 80 yards on 13 plays. It was capped by Travis Benjamin faking his corner out of his shoes and breaking wide open in the end zone, on third and 10, no less. Browns 14- Bills 17. The Bills went three and out thanks to the Browns defense, but the offense couldn’t capitalize to start the fourth quarter. It was one of those times where you could feel the Browns could see the chess board in front of them, but just couldn’t capitalize on the momentum. Sure enough, the Bills go for 68 yards and a TD to go up 10. The Browns and Bills might have well just hit the fast forward button from there. Punts and interceptions and basically awful football as the Browns failed to do anything but look like a young team incapable of coming back but trying so hard they played even worse. You can probably pick apart the game from that point on, but it was pretty much already in the books. A frustrating game to say the least. Another winnable one for the Browns. There were some somewhat bright moments, but on the whole, the team was just too disjointed to build and capitalize on any momentum. The game flow is predictable and in this case with the Browns that is a bad thing. They need to break the cycle and find a way to play with confidence. And would it be too much to ask that they strike first at some point and not spot the other team points? (AP Photo / Tony Dejak)
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