NOTE: Tune in Monday Oct. 7 at 6 PM Eastern for a recap of the week 5 games by Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports, Tony Williams Giants beat writer for Metro New York paper and yours truly. Hear it live on or the archives on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
Little’s return did not give Hoyer any favors. 1st at their 8.
Gordon drops the ball WIDE open. Perfect pass despite having Williams in his face. Lauvao wiffed on Williams. That would have been a TD.
Bad start 3 and out on their 10.
Great field position for the Bills after a great return of 26
PI on Haden against Johnson. 1st and Goal at the 1. Both guys were holding the other.
TD by Jackson.
BF 7 CL 0 13:16 left 1st
Second stupid return by Little. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?
Little fumbled the ball but the Bills did not challenge
Nice out by Bess. Perfect throw.
Great pass to Bess in the middle of the field.
Hoyer is down after a run for a 1st. If he is out there goes the season.
Weeden in and back to form. pass 10 yards over the head of the receiver
A short run and another Weeden airmail to nobody and the Browns kick
On the 1st down pass not any pressure by the D.
Nice pass by Manuel over the middle. Got tipped by the intended WR and caught by the TE Chandler
Nice 5 yard run by Choice.
Skrine on Johnson prevents the catch
Manuel reads the blitz and is complete to Johnson for the 1st
Rubin with the sack loss of 9
Two missed tackles on Graham by Haden and Skrine.
Mingo with a huge hit on Graham forcing him to drop the 3rd down pass.
52 yard FG GOOD
BF 10 CL 0
With Weeden at QB 10 points are as good as 100.
Little benched on KO returns Rainey takes the TB
The O line is still rotten. Weeden does complete a throw to Gordon
Lauvao pulls and runs right by LB Alanzo that tackled McGahee for a 5 yard loss.
The O line breaks down and Weeden is sacked. Both Thomas and Greco went to the DT on a T E game and Williams gets the sack with no one on him.
Skrine with great coverage on Woods breaks up the pass. Good pressure on Manuel.
Great blocking gives Jackson 10 yards. Gipson missed the tackle.
Choice for 6 yards Haden on the tackle. The O line is getting blocks on the second level.
Mingo chases down Manuel and forces the hurried throw
GREAT return by Benjamin 58 yards on the return
Cousins gives up a hit on Weeden because he was holding it too long.
Williams helmet to helmet on a pass to Bess. 1st down 12.5 Weeden is confused.
On that play Weeden hung Bess out to dry by throwing late and high.
Weeden is sacked. Loss of 4 because he was confused by the play and coverage.
Weeden ran into the sack with his total lack of vision.
Sweep by Rainey is not blocked at all and he gets just 1 yard
3 yard pass to Cameron on 4th and 13.
30 yard FGA GOOD
BF 10 CL 3
Robertson gets Spiller for no gain.
Hughes with a good play to get Spiller for 2 yards
Manuel on a crossing pattern to Woods for the 1st. Zone did not break down fast enough to prevent the completion.
Mingo gets Jackson for no gain. Nice play by the rookie
Kruger knocks down the pass and forces the punt. He dropped into the zone for the block.
Ogbonnaya drops the ball and is hurt on a 3 yard pass.
The O line can’t get any push on a run by McGahee for 2 yards. He is not dancing he is looking for a hole.
Nice throw by Weeden and the O line picked up the blitz. 1st
Weeden late on the throw to the sideline and Roby almost picks it.
Weeden on time with a slant to Little for the 1st
Good throw by Weeden to Gordon to the 23. Ball took a LONG time getting there
Good run by McGahee for 11. Blocks by Mack and Greco.
TO Cleveland Weeden can’t get the guys lined up correctly.
McGahee with good vision gets to the 6.
Browns blow another TO because the personnel didn’t get in quickly enough
McGahee gets the first with Grey at FB
Cameron gets pulled down by Searcy 1st goal at the 1
McGahee blown up by DT Williams
He is nailed for a yard loss by Alonso
McGahee with good vision sees a crack and gets the ball in for the TD off right tackle
BF 10 CL 10 3:52 left 2nd Q
The Bills run at Mingo but not much there.
D Bryant and Kruger get to Manuel and the 3rd down pass is INC
Benjamin with a 79 yard TD return. Great vision and speed.
CL 17 BF 10 2:20 left
Manuel zone read off Mingo but the run nets only a couple.
Personal Foul on RB Jackson takes the ball back to the 16.
Browns tackling on the runs by Jackson not crisp
Jackson gets tackled for loss by Taylor and Jackson
Browns almost block the punt.
CL 17 BF 10 HALF TIME
Rubin stuffs Spiller for just a yard
Woods gets away from Haden and gets to the 46 Good throw by Manuel under pressure
Spiller takes it 54 yards for the TD. Ward came inside and Spiller went outside with the TD
CL 17 BF 17
Lauvao gets pushed down by the D line and McGahee gets a 3 yard loss.
Olay block by LG Greco lets Williams run right by him for the sack.
Browns 3 and out with a loss of 10 yards on the possession.
BF 46 YL 11:47
Manuel to Woods with soft coverage by Skrine 1ST down
Bills O line getting a push against the Browns
Skrine with a great pass breakup on Woods
Choice runs vs. a blitz by the Browns for the 1st at the 29
The Bills OGs are getting to the second level against the Browns.
Skrine with a great tackle on Manuel on 2nd and 7
Manuel runs and is hurt on his right knee. 1st down by the run
Ward called for PI 1st goal on the 1
TD by Jackson Browns lose contain again.
BF 24 CL 17
Nice throw by Weeden but it was late. Little was wide open early then DB caught up at the ball got there. Protection was good.
Fade is inc. Weeden has never been able to make that throw. Greco with a 15 yard penalty to the 37 Face mask.
Another late but accurate throw by Weeden to Gordon but he double caught it in the endzone for the score. Good read by Weeden.
CL 24 BF 24 5:35 3rd Q
Hughes and Kitchens get the tackle on Spiller for 1
Bad throw by Tuel INC
TE Chandler drops a perfect pass by Tuel. 3 and out by BF when Tuel could not stand up against the blitz.
Weeden misses a wide open Little did not see him
Thomas with a false start. May have been a late snap by Mack.
Weeden has no pocket feel and gets the ball stripped by Hughes. Thomas recovers after he let Hughes get to the QB.
Three and out for Browns.
Ward nails Spiller for no gain.
Flee flicker to Woods is almost picked but Woods knocks it out of Gipson’s hands
Armonty Bryant gets the sack on 3rd and long. Mingo got an assist by forcing Tuel off his spot.
Bad punt and 69 yard return by Benjamin puts the Browns at the Bill’s 31
Des Bryant DE is taken the Cleveland Clinic
Gordon drops a bubble screen pass 2nd and 6
Great run by McGahee with good block by Greco to the BF 12
END of the 3rd quarter
Another great run by McGahee Lauvao with the block to spring him to the 2
Weeden on a QB sneak for the 1st at the 1
Run to the left side nailed at the 2
McGahee nailed at the 6
Fade to Cameron bad throw by Weeden. Fron the 1 why not a QB sneak for the TD?
FG from the 6 just inside the left upright.
CL 27 BF 24 12:31 left
Robertson and Jackson get RB Jackson for no gain at the 19
Tuel completes a bad pass to 11 but Haden and Jackson keep it from getting to the 1st
The ball hit the ground but the Browns don’t challenge.
11:15 left Browns on their 33
Greco stuffed but McGahee gets 4
Weeden to Cameron for 13 Barnage blocked the blitz but could have been called for a hold.
Hughes gets Weeden because he held it forever. He is still staring down the WR.
3-15 Ball behind Bess and nearly got picked. Weeden was late again.
Punt rolls to the BF 7
Pass by Tuel gets his first down
Haden was step for step with Woods and knocks the ball away at the Browns 45
Nice return by Benjamin of 12 yards get the ball out to the 43. The Browns just missed the block.
Holding on Mack 1st and 20 6:50 left
Lawson gets Rainey for a loss of 5 on the screen pass
Late play call but Weeden gets it off to Rainey for 7
3-18 Great pass Weeden to Gordon for 18.5 and the 1st
Little drags McKelvin for 5 more yards and a 15 yard gain.
Lauvao misses everyone on a pull block but McGahee gets 2
Weeden can’t make up his mind where to go with the ball and has to throw it away to avoid the sack.
Any time Weeden feels pressure he tends to panic.
44 y FGA GOOD drive took 4:41 off the clock
CL30 BF 24 2:19 left
Tuel pass caught but Hogan was out of bounds.
Screen pass good to the 32.
Short pass to Hogan.
Tuel’s pass is jumped by Ward and pick 44 yards for the TD.
The Browns were playing zone and Tuel stared down his receiver.
CL 37 BF 24 1:44 left
Taylor chases the receiver 12 yards for the tackle
A Bryant forces a throw away by Tuel
FINAL Cleveland 37 Buffalo 24
Offense: QB Brandon Weeden did well considering he was coming off injury and the short week. The most important statistic was 0 picks. It is too bad that QB Brian Hoyer was hurt. The biggest impact of the injury is that the team will not see enough of his play to tell if he could be a long term solution. In my opinion he was not the long term answer. The team will draft a QB in the early rounds. Will Hoyer start next year until the rookie is ready? Quite possibly and the hope will be that Hoyer or Weeden can keep the team competitive until the new guy is ready.
Yes, Weeden is still staring down the receivers and panicking under pressure. But IF he continues to play like he did against the Bills Weeden will be OK. For the Browns to have any chance to win Weeden cannot give the ball away.
The running game began to show some spark. RB Willis McGahee runs hard and he looks more comfortable in the offense than he did last week. RB Bobby Rainey has potential and I liked undrafted rookie Fozzy Whittaker as well. He is raw as sushi but has speed and toughness.
It was great to see WR Greg Little catch the ball with his hands. He has way too much physical ability to allow his career to be ruined by bad hands. Even WR Davone Bess drops the occasional ball as we saw this week. WR Josh Gordon and TE Jordan Cameron did OK in this game but neither had their usual spectacular catch we have seen with Hoyer at QB. Hoyer has more touch than Weeden will ever get.
The O line got RG Shawn Lauvao back but he is at best a quality reserve. He was pushed around a lot by the Bills D line. LG John Greco is not much better. He was fooled over and over on the T E game and allowed pressure and sacks on the QB. He seems to be a better run blocker than pass protector. Neither guard anchors well against a bull rush. Both also struggle to read the blitz or games by the D line. RT Mitchell Schwartz has some nice blocks but is not a starting quality OT. Next the serious OG issue, he looks better than he is.
Defense: Other than the 54 yard TD run by RB C.J. Spiller, the Browns did a great job of keeping the Bills offense under control. On that play SS T. J. Ward blitzed and FS Tashaun Gipson did not go to the middle of the field like he should. The Browns D held the Bills to 5 third down conversions in 17 attempts. When E. J. Manuel went out with an injury, the Bills were no longer a threat to score. Undrafted rookie QB Jeff Tuel is not an NFL quality QB. He completed only 8 of 20 throws for 80 yards. The Browns D looked good but this was not much of a test.
Special Teams: PR Travis Benjamin was electric with two great returns including the 79 yard TD run. We have not seen anything like that in a long time. Spencer Lanning did a great job punting and Billy Cundiff was 3 for 3 including his 44 yard field goal and did well in kickoffs.
Coaching: The second half of the game was better for Weeden because of the adjustments made by the staff at half time. They put back the long balls with which Weeden was much more comfortable. In previous seasons we have seen coaching staffs that were either unable or unwilling to make half time adjustments. It was great to see the staff realize that the playbook had to change when Hoyer went down.
The Bottom line: Perhaps the biggest question now is what kind of QB should the Browns bring in be the 3rd guy? Here is an out of the box suggestion: Sign former Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson. He is on the Raiders developmental squad but going into the 2012 college season was expected to be a first round pick. I scouted him and felt that he was much better than any of the top QBs. He suffered from the change of coaches just prior to the 2012 season and a very poor line and receiver corps. He has an above average arm and almost single handedly kept the team in contention.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on The Bill Smith Radio Show.
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Browns/Bills Live Game Notes by Bill Smith