Theme: A shaky start for the Buffalo Bills could have been worse. Thanks to a goal-line stand, the Bills trailed by only 6-0 after the quarter.
No pound: The Cleveland Browns took eight snaps from the 1- or 2-yard lines in the Dawg Pound end of the stadium and could not score. Star Lotulelei had the big penetration on the fourth-and-goal stop that turned the ball over.
Matchup watch: As expected, Tre’Davious White followed Odell Beckham Jr. around the field. White played an outside coverage position. If Beckham was inside in a slot position, White stayed outside and a slot corner was across from Beckham.
Good script: The Browns’ opening-drive TD was just their second first-quarter TD of the season.
Lineup Watch: The big injury entering the game was to Browns defensive end Olivier Vernon, who has averaged eight sacks a year the past six years. He was replaced by 2018 third-round pick Chad Thomas, who was making his first career start.
Undisciplined: Jarvis Landry was flagged for taunting after his TD catch. The 15-yard penalty forced a 48-yard extra-point attempt, and Austin Seibert missed it wide left. It cost the Browns a point.
Theme: Bills waste a scoring chance.
Easy FG miss: The Bills should have held a 10-9 lead at the half. They drove 58 yards in the final two minutes to the Browns’ 16. But Stephen Hauschka missed a 34-yard field-goal try wide left with 17 seconds left in the half. Hauschka had made 69 straight from 30 to 39 yards dating to 2011.
TD run: The Bills took a brief, 7-6 lead on Josh Allen’s fifth TD run of the season, a 10-yarder.
Welcome to 2019: Robert Foster made a 20-yard catch on a deep over route on the Bills’ TD drive. It was his first grab of the season.
Second guess: Myles Garrett hit Josh Allen with 2 minutes left and forced an apparent fumble. It was ruled Allen’s arm was coming forward. It was a questionable call by the referee.
Key penalty: The Browns were flagged for a false start at the Buffalo 3, forcing a field goal. Cleveland entered the game leading the NFL in penalties (9.37 a game). The Bills were tied for ninth in penalties per game (7.6).
Halftime: The Ohio State University marching band played at halftime. It was great.
Theme: Bills offense remained AWOL.
Key play: The Bills tied the game, 9-9, on a sack for a safety by Tremaine Edmunds. He took down Baker Mayfield, who was dropping back to pass on first down from his own 8.
Good rookie: Austin Seibert, a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft out of Oklahoma, went to 16 of 16 on field-goal tries by making two kicks, a 27-yarder in the second quarter and a 47-yarder in the third. He set the Football Bowl Subdivision record for points with 499 during his college career.
Zebra report: The officials missed a facemask by the Browns on Josh Allen on a third-down sack early in the quarter. However, the Browns got a roughing the passer penalty two drives later after Allen threw a deep incompletion for Isaiah McKenzie. Cleveland’s Larry Ogunjobi bumped Allen after the throw. It’s usually a foul call. Still, the Bills were fortunate.
Second guess: The Browns wasted a timeout with 3 seconds left in the quarter and the Bills lined up for a fourth-and-4 play. The Bills were going to let the clock run out. No need to take a timeout. Cleveland stopped the Bills anyway.
Theme: The Bills didn’t deserve to win.
Key play: Baker Mayfield’s 7-yard TD pass to Rashard Higgins won it for the Browns.
Bubble bursts: The Bills have outscored foes, 71-38, in the fourth quarter, but they could not get points on their final drive, after Hauschka missed a 53-yard field-goal try.
Matchup watch: Jarvis Landry was a handful for Levi Wallace when he lined up on the outside against the Bills’ second-year cornerback. Landry, the former Dolphin, had nine catches total, six against Wallace, including a touchdown.
No takeaways: It was the second Bills game in a row with no turnovers and only the 18th such game in Bills history. Josh Allen now has gone 17 straight quarters and 130 attempts without throwing an interception (since the third quarter of the Titans game). But the Bills could not get a pickoff of Mayfield, who leads the NFL in interceptions.
Below average scoring: The Bills held the Browns to their season average of 19 points, which ranked 25th in the NFL entering the game. The Bills were averaging 19.8 ppg but fell 3.8 short of that total.
Series: The Browns are 13-9 vs. the Bills.