CLEVELAND – Here are my hot reads from the Buffalo Bills' 19-16 loss against the Cleveland Browns Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Bills didn't have enough offense. Again.
They left their fortunes on the unreliable foot of Stephen Hauschka, who missed 34- and 53-yard field goal attempts, the second of which would have tied the game with 22 seconds left. It was wide left and short.
The Bills defense kept them in this game for as long as it could before finally crumbling at the end when the Browns went 82 yards in 10 plays, ending with a 7-yard Baker Mayfield touchdown pass to Rashard Higgins.
It looked as if Josh Allen would have another fourth-quarter comeback on a bizarre scoring drive. Allen, whose ball security has been a major issue this season, had the ball knocked out of his hands on a third-and-10 run from the Browns' 11. Guard Jon Feliciano recovered at the 1. That gave the Bills a first down, and after Frank Gore was stopped just shy of the goal line, Allen scored on the next play.
Allen finished with a career-high 266 passing yards. His previous high was 254 in Week 1 this season.
There were other oddities as the Bills fell to 6-3. The defense made two impressive goal-line stands, the first of which seemed to last an eternity. It also scored on a safety. For much of the game, the desperate Browns, now 3-6, performed with the same sloppiness and lack of discipline that has turned their season of considerable hope to considerable disappointment.
The game also had what initially was ruled a 30-yard Jerry Hughes return of a Mayfield fumble for a touchdown with 3:49 left. After a replay review, the play was ruled an incomplete pass.
The Browns proceeded to Mayfield's winning TD throw with 1:48 left in the fourth quarter.
- Blitzing on first-and-10 from the Browns' 8, Tremaine Edmunds drove Mayfield into the end zone for a sack for a safety that tied the game at 9-9 early in the third quarter.
- The Bills' defense staging one of the all-time impressive goal-line stands by keeping the Browns out of the end zone despite Cleveland having seven snaps from the Buffalo 1 and one from the Buffalo 2 early in the first quarter.
- The Bills' D staging another impressive goal-line stand late in the first half. The Browns had four snaps from the Buffalo 3 or closer, and while going for it on 4th-and-3 from the 3, they drew a false-start penalty. That forced them to settle for a 27-yard field goal to give the Browns a 9-7 lead.
- Bills receiver Robert Foster caught his first pass of the season, for 20 yards, to the Browns' 12 early in the second quarter. That set up Allen's 10-yard touchdown run up the middle. Earlier in the drive, Allen had a 12-yard carry on another designed QB run to give the Bills a 7-6 lead.
- On third-and-13 from the Browns' 43, Allen completed a 16-yard pass to Brown, and hit him again for 11 yards to the Cleveland 16. The Bills couldn't get any closer, and Stephen Hauschka was wide left on a 34-yard field goal attempt.
- On fourth-and-4 from the Browns' 39, Allen threw a pass behind an open John Brown, forcing the Bills to turn the ball over on downs.
- On another fourth-and-4, from the Cleveland 36 with three seconds left in the third quarter, Allen had another bad throw that was late over the middle and off-target to an open Brown.
- On fourth-and-2 from the Bills' 41, Mayfield completed a 16-yard swing pass to tight end Demetrius Harris. Even with the help of two pass-interference penalties on the Bills, the Browns failed to get into the end zone on eight snaps from the Buffalo 1 or 2.
- Hauschka's 34-yard field goal try that sailed wide left.
Setting the table
The Bills are on the road again next Sunday when they face the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.