It was not always pretty. Very few style points were earned. In fact, after practicing as a team just once this week—between an illness that kept several players off of the field on Wednesday, to needing to cancel practice on Friday due to weather—the Bills very much looked like they hadn’t played football together in a while. The offense was out of sync, not securing a first down until mid-way through the second quarter. The defense struggled with penalties, defending contested throws, and 3rd & Long situations in allowing Cleveland to build a quick 10-3 lead that, frankly, could have been larger.
Late in the second half, however, things started to break Buffalo’s way. Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett fumbled a snap, linebacker Matt Milano recovered, and Tyler Bass kicked the second of his six field goals to cut the lead to 10-6. Then, after a Browns punt, Josh Allen engineered a quality two-minute drive and capped it off with a short touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs, giving the Bills a 13-10 lead at halftime.
From there, the Bills leaned on their running game, riding Devin Singletary and James Cook—with a handful of timely throws from Allen—to build a 28-10 lead by the mid-way point of the fourth quarter. It still wasn’t perfect; six Bills drives ended in Bass field goals on this day, which is never ideal. And Buffalo’s late-game defense, and its pass defense in general, left a lot to be desired as the team attempted to ice away the victory. But against a reeling opponent, and after several weeks’ worth of discouraging (to put it kindly) issues in the second half, the Bills outscored Cleveland 18-13 after the break, and came away victorious.
Singletary and Cook stole the show offensively, combining for 29 carries, 172 yards, and Singletary’s third-quarter touchdown. Defensively, the Bills were a bit sloppy, but Milano was a star, recovering the aforementioned fumble in addition to accruing 11 tackles (seven solo), three tackles for a loss, a sack, and a quarterback hit. He spearheaded an outstanding showing by Buffalo’s much-maligned run defense, which held Browns star running back Nick Chubb to just 19 yards on 14 carries.
We’ll have much more on this game coming up, but for now, this is an excellent opportunity for you to sound off in the comments section below about what you liked, and what you didn’t, as the Bills re-discovered their winning ways today.