This one turned out a little better than the Indians Home Opener. The Browns battled the elements and battered the Buffalo Bills on their way to a 8-0 victory. The win puts the Browns at 9-5, tied with the Steelers who lost to Jacksonville 29-22, atop the AFC North. The victory eliminates the Bills, Broncos and Texans from playoff contention. The Titans did not cooperate, beating the Chiefs, but the Browns still control their own destiny and a win at Cincinnati next week puts the Browns in the playoffs.
The Browns were aggressive from the first snap, balancing the passing game with the rushing attack, something the Bills were unable to do all day. Braylon Edwards and Joe Jurevicius made some clutch, and in Edwards' case amazing, catches to keep the Bills defense honest as the Browns rode Jamal Lewis to the 8-0 victory. Lewis rumbled for 163 yards, many of them rough, punishing runs that zapped the life out of Buffalo.
The special teams also shined bright with Dave Zastudil and the punt coverage team, minus one 7 yard punt and a Buffalo fake punt, kept the Bills pinned back in their own end for the majority of the game. The Browns also benefited from a safety after the Buffalo long snapper snapped it over punter Brian Moorman's head. Moorman kicked the ball out of the endzone and into the stands for 2 points. But not enough can be said for the job done by Phil Dawson. Two incredible field goals in horrendous conditions. One a 35 yard slice job that he aimed right and let the wind blow back through the uprights and an amazing 49 yard line-drive bomb that barely got 10 feet in the air but made it over the crossbar and hit the centrifuge to give the Browns the 8-0 lead and ultimately, the victory.
The snow provided the perfect opportunity for the much maligned defense a chance to pitch a shutout. Andre Davis reeked havoc in the Bills backfield all day and the Browns sold out to stop the duo of Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. It was obvious from the start that the Bills did not want anything to do with the passing game. The Browns D still gave up their fair share of yards but each and every time they needed to hold and that's what matters. They gave up 0 points and even it a blizzard, that's tough to do.
So it's off to Cincinnati with the playoffs on the line. Who would of thunk it??? Nine wins. Who would have thunk it??? A division title still a remote possibility. Who would of thunk it???
Only one place... BELIEVELAND!