Browns drop 9th straightPublished 12:56am Monday, September 24, 2012
CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson looked into the stands and saw thousands of jubilant faces.
As the fans celebrated, Jackson’s skin crawled.
Cleveland’s stadium looked like it belonged in Buffalo.
“I’ve been here for a long time and I’ve never experienced that,” Jackson said after the Browns were beaten 24-14 by the Bills on Sunday. “It’s frustrating and embarrassing. It’s a shame we weren’t able to put out a better effort than we did.”
In the final minutes, players on Buffalo’s bench led thousands of Bills fans in celebration. By then, disgusted Browns fans had headed home following the team’s ninth straight loss. The only partying was being done by the New Yorkers, who hung around and shared hugs and high-fives with some Bills who greeted them before leaving the field.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdown passes and the better-than-advertised Bills (2-1) overcame the loss of running back C.J. Spiller to a shoulder injury to beat the Browns and snap an eight-game road losing streak.
Fitzpatrick, doing just enough to keep Buffalo’s offense moving, finished 22 of 35 for 208 yards as the Bills turned to their passing game after Spiller, who has been filling in for Fred Jackson, went down in the first quarter with an injury that will likely sideline him a few weeks.
The Bills won outside Buffalo for the first time since the 2011 opener at Kansas City.
“We got the monkey off our back,” Fitzpatrick said. “We always felt confident. This is a new year, a new team, but it was a good team win on the road. These are the most satisfying wins.”
For the Browns (0-3), the losing continues.
Cleveland hasn’t won since beating Jacksonville on Nov. 20, and one of the league’s youngest teams was not able to build off a solid performance last week in Cincinnati.
“We just didn’t get it done,” said coach Pat Shurmur, who dropped to 4-15 in two seasons. “There are no magical answers, other than we just didn’t get it done.”
It’s the same old story for Cleveland, which won’t have much time to reflect on the loss. The Browns visit Baltimore on Thursday night.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” said rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, who is convinced the Browns can weather the storm. “This locker room has got a lot of level-headed, good, solid guys and we’re going to stick together. That’s what you’ve got to do. None of us want to lose. We’ve got to continue to fight.”
Before he went out, Spiller, who came in leading the league with 292 rushing yards, scored on a 32-yard screen pass from Fitzpatrick, who also threw a 9-yard TD to T.J. Graham in the first quarter and hooked up with Stevie Johnson from 9 in the fourth to close the scoring.
Bills coach Chan Gailey does not expect Spiller to be back for next week’s home game against New England — and possibly longer.
“I don’t believe it’s long, long-term,” Gailey said. “If he missed a week that’s long for me. He’s going to be out for sure this week and then we’ll see.”
Spiller will undergo further testing Monday. He was not available for interviews.
When Spiller got hurt, the Bills appeared to be in trouble.
But Fitzpatrick made big throws when he needed to and third-string running back Tashard Choice gained 91 yards. Fitzpatrick has eight TD passes, and he has not thrown an interception since tossing three picks in the Bills’ season-opening loss to the Jets.
“We knew we had to put our foot on the gas again and when we did, the offensive line was revved up and ready to go,” he said. “It was a heck of a job by Tashard. He got some really tough yards for us.”
The Browns were again plagued by costly penalties, dropped passes and an inability to stop the run.
Weeden went 27 of 43 for 237 yards and a TD pass to fellow rookie Travis Benjamin. However, he was intercepted twice in the final 4:21 as he tried to rally the Browns.
Buffalo’s defense limited Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson to just 27 yards on 12 carries. After rushing for 109 yards last week in Cincinnati, Richardson’s longest gain was a 6-yard TD in the second quarter.
“We wanted to stop Richardson,” Gailey said. “We talked about it and made a big deal about it. We did not want to let him get out. We wanted them to throw the football. It worked kind of like we thought it would.”
Richardson was late to his postgame interview because he met with Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown. Before the draft, Brown had called Richardson “ordinary” but has been impressed with the rookie’s strong start.
“A lot of people took the message the wrong way, but it was always a motivational thing,” Richardson said.
NOTES: Browns WR Mohamed Massaquoi injured his hamstring in the second half and did not return. … Browns KR Josh Cribbs (9,178) passed Michael Bates (9,110) for sixth place on the NFL’s career list for kickoff return yards. … K Phil Dawson tied Hall of Fame guard Gene Hickerson for fourth place on the team’s list for games played with 202. Only Clay Matthews (232), Lou Groza (216) and Doug Dieken (203) have played in more.
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Buffalo 14 0 3 7 — 24
Cleveland 0 7 7 0 — 14
Buf—Graham 9 pass from Fitzpatrick (Lindell kick), 9:04.
Buf—Spiller 32 pass from Fitzpatrick (Lindell kick), 5:06.
Cle—Richardson 6 run (Dawson kick), 2:12.
Buf—FG Lindell 37, 10:38.
Cle—Benjamin 22 pass from Weeden (Dawson kick), 2:27.
Buf—St.Johnson 9 pass from Fitzpatrick (Lindell kick), 9:08.
First downs 19 17
Total Net Yards 344 240
Rushes-yards 34-138 13-33
Passing 206 207
Punt Returns 2-53 3-43
Kickoff Returns 1-34 3-85
Interceptions Ret. 2-41 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 22-35-0 27-43-2
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-2 4-30
Punts 6-42.0 8-42.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-Yards 10-75 6-57
Time of Possession 32:56 27:04
RUSHING—Buffalo, Choice 20-91, Spiller 4-16, J.White 2-15, Fitzpatrick 6-10, B.Smith 2-6. Cleveland, Richardson 12-27, Ogbonnaya 1-6.
PASSING—Buffalo, Fitzpatrick 22-35-0-208. Cleveland, Weeden 27-43-2-237.
RECEIVING—Buffalo, St.Johnson 7-61, Jones 5-42, Graham 3-24, Spiller 2-42, Chandler 2-22, Choice 2-8, McIntyre 1-9. Cleveland, Richardson 6-24, Cameron 5-45, Watson 4-15, Gordon 3-40, Ogbonnaya 3-14, Benjamin 2-44, Little 2-17, Cribbs 1-24, Massaquoi 1-14.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.