When I heard of the impending snow storm in Cleveland, I figured it would help the Bills and that would be enough to get them the win. I was half right, it did help them, it helped them avoid getting blown out. It didn't help them enough to gain an upset victory as the Browns handed the Bills their first shutout loss in nearly four years by a score of 8-0. The Browns ran there game plan better than the Bills as they pretty much controlled the game throughout. The few inches of blinding snow that fell throughout the game kept the high powered offense from pulling away early.
Trent Edwards got a brief initiation to snow games last week against Miami but it was nothing like what transpired in Cleveland and Edwards wasn't up to the task. He played in a bonafide snowstorm for the first time in his life and has never played in weather this cold. He tried to wear gloves for the first time and it showed in his inaccuracy. The Browns couldn't do much better but they did make some plays, enough plays on this day to get the win but you could tell this high powered offense could have had a big day if the weather conditions were a bit more favorable.
The Browns got two clutch field goals from Phil Dawson from 35 and 49 yards out sandwiched around a safety to score all eight points in the first half. The safety occurred on a high snap that went over Brian Moorman's head and into the end zone in the 2nd quarter. The Bills seemed scared to try a field goal from about 38 yards out in the 2nd quarter while the Browns appeared to have more faith in their kicker on this day.
The Bills still had two chances in the fourth quarter. First they took over at their own 41 yard line after a seven yard punt but they squandered that chance. Michael Gaines dropped a pass that could have went a long way maybe even for a score. They then showed no confidence in the passing game by running the ball on third and 8 and then punted.
Moorman did his job as the punt was downed at the 2 but the Bills defense gave way as the Browns just started grinding the ball out on the ground. For the Bills to win they had to win the running battle but they didn't as Jamal Lewis rumbled for 163 big yards and actually wore down the Bills front four during a very cold game.
The defense was game as they gave the offense one more chance after allowing three first downs. The Bills offense had their best drive of the game in the two minute drill as they moved the ball from from their own 30 to the Browns 10 but the game ended when a 4th and 5 screen pass to Fred Jackson gained no yards.
It was a well played game as there were no turnovers which is a shock considering the weather conditions. The Bills were eliminated from the playoffs but showed the heart and character by never giving up and battled to the end. I expect them to play hard in the final two games as they try to build something for next year since this improbable run has come to an end. I said all along I'd like to just see some meaningful football in December from the Bills and we had three weeks of it. Next year no more excuses as they need to be a playoff team. They might as well get a jump start on next season the next two weeks by laying some more building blocks for future success.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Browns: