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Defense gets big plays down line, shuts down Richardson

CLEVELAND – At his locker stall after the game, Buffalo Bills linebacker Nick Barnett was stumped.

The question: Which of the Bills' defensive linemen had the best game Sunday?

"Wooo," Barnett said with a wide smile after the Bills beat the Cleveland Browns, 24-14. "That's a hard one to answer.

"I think all of them were playing fast and running around. They were causing havoc and making plays. That's the way we envision that line playing."

Each of Buffalo's starting defensive linemen got in on the sack attack, and they were phenomenal against the run, holding dangerous Cleveland running back Trent Richardson to 27 yards on 12 carries.

Cleveland had 33 rushing yards as a team and managed only four rushing first downs.

Richardson did have a 6-yard touchdown run, his longest gain of the afternoon. Buffalo bottled him up, and when Barnett over pursued in the backfield, Richardson bounced outside.

"I told the coaches and I told the D-line, ‘We have to hit him before he hits us' because he's the type of running back who gets after it," Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus said of his Alabama teammate. "He hits [defensive backs]. He hits linebackers. He hits D-linemen. We've got to hit him and swarm the ball."

The Bills swarmed rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, too.

Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, the Bills' big-ticket free-agent defensive ends, notched their first sacks. Anderson's came on a third-down from the Bills' 49-yard line in the fourth quarter and forced a punt.

"Across the board, they had to pick their poison," Williams said of the Browns. "At the end of the day we played off one another and made it happen."

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams had a sack in the first quarter. Dareus shared one with Mario Williams in the fourth quarter, and Weeden threw an interception to Leodis McKelvin on the next play to cement the victory.

"Wish we could do it every week," Kyle Williams said. "We had guys that stepped up in big parts of the game. Everybody along the front made some plays. We did a great job in the run game, so we're pretty happy with how things went today.

"That's what we have the guys to do. Everybody can make plays at any point in the game. When you've got guys all along the front who, when they get one-on-one [blocking], they have the chance to win and can win."


The Bills were bogged down by penalties. They were flagged 10 times for 75 yards and gave up two first downs by penalty.

The Bills were called for five penalties in the second quarter, including two on the Browns' first touchdown drive (an illegal-contact call on Aaron Williams negated a third-down Jairus Byrd interception) and two on the Bills' final full series before halftime (offensive pass interference on Donald Jones and holding on Stevie Johnson).


The Bills no longer are perfect in the red zone. They entered Sunday the NFL's last perfect team when inside an opponent's 20-yard line.

They scored a touchdown on their first trip against the Browns, but then quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick fumbled — the ball slipped out of his hands when he was trying to throw — and the Bills lost possession at the Browns' 20-yard line.

Rian Lindell, who had been the NFL's only place-kicker without a field-goal attempt, finally tried one. He made a 37-yarder early in the third quarter to give the Bills a 17-7 lead.

The Bills also took a knee three times after Bryan Scott gave them possession at the 1 at the end of the game.


There are only a handful of truly scary kick returners in the NFL who would make a team consider keeping a kickoff specialist such as the Bills did with John Potter. Joshua Cribbs is one of those.

In the blustery Cleveland weather, Potter managed only two touchbacks on five tries. Cribbs brought out some deep kickoffs and averaged 28.3 yards on his three attempts. Cribbs' longest return was 34 yards.


Buffalo safety Delano Howell, the lone undrafted rookie to make the roster, made his NFL debut after being a healthy scratch the first two games.

The Bills deactivated quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, running back Fred Jackson, receiver Ruvell Martin, center Colin Brown, tackle Sam Young, defensive end Kyle Moore and linebacker Kirk Morrison.

Jackson has a sprained knee and is hoping to play next week against the New England Patriots. Martin missed practice time with an ankle injury.