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Lindell’s Last Second Miss Dooms Bills in 29-27 Loss

Before the 2009 NFL season started both the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns were trendy picks to make the playoffs. Fast forward to the present day and one could argue that the loser of Monday night’s game, while not technically eliminated from the playoffs, would be in a huge hole that might be impossible to climb out of. After a horrible start to the season the Browns have shown some signs of improvement, while the Bills are on the brink of falling apart after a 4-0 start.

It is all of these factors that made the game this evening in frosty Buffalo so important.

The game started off very poorly for Trent Edwards, as he gave the Browns 3 early holiday gifts in the form of three interceptions. Fortunately for Edwards the Bills defense was able to stop Brady Quinn from making too much of an impact, as the Browns only came away with six points on two field goals. The 3rd interception that Edwards through was deep in his own territory after the Bills made the odd decision to go with an empty backfield on 3rd and 1 even though Edwards was already struggling.

In the 2nd quarter the Bills defense finally seemed to be feeling the affects of being on the field for the majority of the 1st quarter, as Brady Quinn easily drove the Browns down the field with the drive concluding in a 2-yard TD run by Joshua Cribbs. The Bills rebounded in the following drive as they finally were able to run the ball with some authority. After two long runs by Fred Jackson on draws Marshawn Lynch took a short pass from Trent Edwards and turned it into an 18-yard TD reception. On their next drive the Bills again moved the ball well, but stalled in the red zone and had to settle for a FG going into halftime.

In the 3rd quarter the Bills turnover problems continued as Fred Jackson fumbled the ball as he was fighting for additional yards. Once again the Browns did not take advantage, as they only came away with a Phil Dawson field goal. The Bills moved the ball well again on the ground on their next drive but again stalled and had to settle for a field goal.

Going into the 4th quarter the Browns had the first big play of the game as Jerome Harrison broke out for a 72yard TD run to give the Browns a 10-point lead, 23-13. The Bills immediately answered on the ensuing kickoff as Leodis McKelvin had a 98-yard return for a touchdown to bring the Bills back within a field goal.

On the next drive the Browns benefited from a kickoff that went out of bounds and from a questionable penalty on Kawika Mitchell in which he knocked a player that was still in bounds into the Bills bench. While the Browns moved the ball well they once again settled for a field goal to bring their lead back to 6 points.

After an exchange of punts the Bills took advantage of good field position and once again ran the ball well to drive down the field. The highlight of the drive was a 28 yard run by
Lynch and was capped off by a 1 yard Trent Edwards QB sneak. The Browns immediately drove down the field to set up a 56 yard field goal attempt for Phil Dawson and he hit the game winner straight and true. The Bills did drive down to get in field goal position, but the kick was wide right and the Browns managed to sneak out of Buffalo with the 29-27 win.

In the end the story was not the QB’s, as Trent Edwards couldn’t make up for a terrible 1st quarter and Brady Quinn was just average. As one would expect in cold weather the running backs were critical, and on both sides they were up for the task. For the Browns Jerome Harrison had 80 yards with the long TD and Jamaal Lewis had 65 yards on 18 carries. For the Bills Marshawn Lynch finally broke out with 119 yards on 23 carries while Fred Jackson chipped in with 60 yards on 12 carries. In addition Lynch had 58 receiving yards with along with the TD reception.

In the end the Browns left with the victory, and while their playoff hopes remain dim they can at least take satisfaction that the Bills hopes are now dim as well. And the Bills go home weary of Monday night games as once again they have suffered a bitter loss in an extremely close game, and even worse their confidence is shaken and their young QB seems to have lost his confidence. And the point that matters most is both teams seem likely to be watching the playoffs on TV this season.



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