By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Tony Grossi’s Take on Browns’ 37-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills
Offense: It was a bit ugly at times, Brandon Weeden was able to get the ball to Greg Little and Josh Gordon for some big gains. Weeden was rusty after missing two games and not getting in much practice time with the receivers during a short work week. The unsung hero might have been running back Willis McGahee, who had to carry the entire running game after Chris Ogbonnaya suffered a concussion in the first half. McGahee carried 26 times for 72 yards and one TD. Bottom line: The season is back in Weeden’s hands.
Defense: Joe Haden’s pass interference penalty in the end zone set up the Bills’ first touchdown. There was also a big breakdown when C.J. Spiller ran 54 yards for a touchdown. Coordinator Ray Horton had said they would hit EJ Manuel if he ran, and safety Tashaun Gipson’s clean shot to Manuel’s knee after a 14-yard run was a key to the comeback win. Replacement Jeff Tuel had no chance. T.J. Ward’s interception return for a touchdown was icing on the cake. Bottom line: Nastiness prevailed.
Special teams: Travis Benjamin’s 57-yard punt return turned the juice back on after a deflating start and the Hoyer injury. Then his 79-yard return for a touchdown electrified the night. He finished with a franchise-record 179 yards on seven returns (25.6 average). Billy Cundiff was three for three on field goals and Spencer Lanning had a net average of 40.3 on six punts. Bottom line: They put the buzz back into the night.
Coaching: Somehow they kept the team together after injuries to Hoyer, Ogbonnaya and defensive end Desmond Bryant (shortness of breath). Because Weeden pulled out the win, Rob Chudzinski’s decision to make Weeden active – despite a two-week layoff and little practice time -- over Jason Campbell proved the right call. Bottom line: 3-2 and in first place.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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