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Game day blog: Browns vs. Bills (Week 3)

By Nate Ulrich Published: September 23, 2012

Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson flexes after scoring on a pass reception in the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Cincinnati. Photo: Tom Uhlman / AP

Final score: Bills 24, Browns 14 (game story; game in review; Jason Lloyd's column; notebook; Jim Brown returns to Cleveland; box score)

Game action

End 4Q: Bills 24, Browns 14 - The Bills opened the fourth quarter with a 9-play, 68-yard drive capped by Fitzpatrick’s touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson, who put a double-move on Dimitri Patterson and found some open space with nine minutes remaining. The Browns’ next drive stalled and Weeden was then intercepted twice—the first by Leodis McKelvin with 4:21 left and the second by Bryan Scott inside of two minutes—to seal the game.

End 3Q: Bills 17, Browns 14 - The Browns drew closer on Weeden’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin, who found some space with a nice post-corner route late in the quarter to make it 17-14. After starting the game 0-6 on third downs, the Browns converted three in a row on a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Rien Lindell hit a 37-yard FG earlier in the quarter. Receiver Mohamed Massaquoi left the game with a hamstring injury and is questionable to return.

End 2Q: Bills 14, Browns 7 - Already down by 14 and with the Bills driving, the Browns caught a break when Fitzpatrick lost his grip of the ball as he was trying to throw on third down and had it squirt away from him. The play was originally called a forward pass but was reversed following a challenge by Pat Shurmur and recovered by Juqua Parker on the 20-yard line. Trent Richardson later made it 14-7 with a 6-yard touchdown run with 2:12 left in the half. Richardson was stuffed up the middle but found room to his left and waltzed in. He hasn’t had much room to run and has only 10 yards rushing on eight carries. Weeden is 9-15 with 110 yards through the first half.

End 1Q: Bills 14, Browns 0: After winning the coin toss, not much went well for the Browns in the first quarter. Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick carved the Browns secondary in the Bills’ first two drives for two easy touchdowns. Fitzpatrick found receiver T.J. Graham open in the end zone from nine yards out and then running back C.J. Spiller took a well-designed screen pass 32 yards to make it 14-0 10 minutes into the game. With just over two minutes remaining in the quarter, Spiller took a shovel pass (that was called back due to a holding penalty) and was tackled by Usama Young. Spiller landed on his shoulder, was helped off the field and then was carted into the locker room with a shoulder injury.

Pregame notes

Inactives: Browns -- QB Thaddeus Lewis, WR Jordan Norwood, FS Eric Hagg, RB Brandon Jackson, LB James-Michael Johnson, OL Ryan Miller and TE Alex Smith. Bills -- QB Tarvaris Jackson, RB Fred Jackson, DE Kyle Moore, OLB Kirk Morrison, RT Sam Young, C Colin Brown and WR Ruvell Martin.

Lineup changesBrowns -- Usama Young started at free safety in place of Hagg. Bills: C.J. Spiller started at running back in place of Jackson.

Top storylines by Jason Lloyd: 1. Jim Brown is expected to make his grand return to Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sunday, the next step in repairing a fractured relationship with the organization that dates back to Mike Holmgren’s arrival as team president. It will be the hall of famer’s first close look at rookie running back Trent Richardson, who Brown called “ordinary” after the team selected him in April’s draft. Another performance like Richardson’s 109-yard, two-touchdown effort last week might change Brown’s mind. 2. For anyone still holding out hope that the Browns can make a playoff run, this week could be the deciding factor. No NFL team that began 0-3 has made the playoffs since this week’s opponent, the Buffalo Bills, did it in 1998. 3. Joe Haden is still out, but Sheldon Brown is expected to give a much-needed boost to the secondary after essentially missing last week with a shoulder stinger. The Browns need all the help they can get. Without Haden, the secondary was gashed for 318 passing yards and three touchdowns last week. 4. Will the real Browns’ offense identify itself? After a dismal showing in the opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, the offense produced 439 yards and 27 points last week behind big performances by Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden. Can they do it again? 5. Browns-Bills connections: Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron spent parts of four seasons as the Bills’ head coach, compiling a 24-33 record before he was fired midway through the 2009 season. … Bills special teams coach Bruce DeHaven held the same position on Holmgren’s coaching staff with the Seattle Seahawks for two seasons. … Browns running back Richardson and Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus played together for two seasons at Alabama. … Browns linebacker Tank Carder was a fifth-round pick of the Bills last April, but was released near the end of training camp.

Preview stories via Ohio.com: 1. Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden is aiming to maintain his momentum. 2. Matchup of the week – Bills running back C.J. Spiller vs. the Browns’ defense. 3. Keys to the game. 4. Numbers to watch. 5. Injury report. 6. Quote of the week. 7. Predictions.

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