Dawson kicks Cleveland past Buffalo, 29-27

Published 3:12 am Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Turns out the Cleveland Browns aren’t quitters after all. And they have Phil Dawson to thank for this wild win.

Dawson capped a five field-goal outing by hitting a career-long 56-yarder with 1:39 remaining to secure the Browns’ 29-27 win over the reeling Buffalo Bills on Monday night. Cleveland snapped a two-game skid and avoided wasting a 13-point lead for a third straight time.

The Bills (5-5) had a chance to win with a clutch kick of their own, but Rian Lindell missed a 47-yard attempt with 38 seconds left.

Email newsletter signup

It was a morale-boosting win for the Browns (4-6), who appeared on the verge of completely unraveling after running back Jamal Lewis accused his teammates of quitting during a 34-30 loss to Denver on Nov. 6.

“We got tired of what happened the previous two weeks, getting a lead and losing it in the fourth quarter,” receiver Braylon Edwards said. “As a team, we rallied. We came together when we were supposed to and made the plays necessary to win.”

Buffalo has lost four straight and five of six, looking nothing like the team that got off to a 4-0 start. Trent Edwards endured another sloppy performance, tossing three interceptions in Buffalo’s first four possessions.

Edwards’ 1-yard sneak gave the Bills a 27-26 lead with 2:35 left in the fourth, but Cleveland responded with a six-play, 28-yard drive that stalled on the Bills 39 when Braylon Edwards couldn’t hold on to Brady Quinn’s pass at the right sideline.

Without hesitation, Browns coach Romeo Crennel sent out Dawson, who calmly got off an easy kick that started toward the right goal post, before curling in to split the uprights.

“On the spur of the moment, you’ve got to be confident. So as soon as we threw the incomplete pass on third down, I was ready to go,” Dawson said. “I gave Romeo a nod, and he had the confidence to send me out there.”

Quinn earned his first victory in his second career start. The 2007 first-round pick went 14-of-36 for 185 yards. Backup running back Jerome Harrison scored on an electric 72-yard run on the first play of the fourth to put the Browns up 23-13, and Braylon Edwards finished with eight catches for 104 yards.

Cleveland’s defense also stepped up, limiting the Bills to 334 yards. That’s a significant improvement after it surrendered 564 yards in the loss to Denver î and 993 in its previous two games combined.

Cornerback Brandon McDonald keyed the resurgent D, picking off an Edwards pass and forcing a fumble after he was burned on Eddie Royal’s 93-yard touchdown that sparked the Broncos’ comeback.

McDonald took advantage of a struggling Edwards, who finished 16-of-26 for 148 yards and a touchdown. At one point, Edwards had as many completions as interceptions.

The miscues î two poor reads and a pass tipped by defensive tackle Shaun Rogers at the line of scrimmage î were an extension of the troubles Edwards has had in his previous three games. Over a 10-quarter span, including the first quarter against Cleveland, Edwards has thrown eight interceptions, lost two fumbles and given up a safety.

“It’s frustrating right now. I don’t really have any good answers,” he said. “I’m frustrated with myself and the way I performed.”

At least the Bills rushing attack found its groove. Marshawn Lynch had 119 yards on the ground, which is more than the 90 yards Buffalo managed in its previous two games. For Lynch, it was his first 100-yard game of the season, and he also had 58 yards receiving, including an 18-yard TD catch.

Leodis McKelvin also scored on a 98-yard kickoff return for Buffalo, that came immediately after Harrison’s touchdown run. Josh Cribbs had a 2-yard TD run for Cleveland.

Cleveland 6 7 3 13 — 29

Buffalo 0 10 3 14 — 27

First Quarter

Cle—FG Dawson 40, 9:29.

Cle—FG Dawson 33, 2:28.

Second Quarter

Cle—Cribbs 2 run (Dawson kick), 9:52.

Buf—Lynch 18 pass from Edwards (Lindell kick), 6:20.

Buf—FG Lindell 26, :00.

Third Quarter

Cle—FG Dawson 43, 6:27.

Buf—FG Lindell 31, :22.

Fourth Quarter

Cle—Harrison 72 run (Dawson kick), 14:47.

Buf—McKelvin 98 kickoff return (Lindell kick), 14:33.

Cle—FG Dawson 22, 11:32.

Buf—T.Edwards 1 run (Lindell kick), 2:25.

Cle—FG Dawson 56, 1:39.



Cle Buf

First downs 18 19

Total Net Yards 337 33

Rushes-yards 27-161 38-186

Passing 176 148

Punt Returns 0-0 2-34

Kickoff Returns 3-63 7-246

Interceptions Ret. 3-9 0-0

Comp-Att-Int 14-36-0 16-26-3

Sacked-Yards Lost 1-9 0-0

Punts 5-46.0 3-36.0

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1

Penalties-Yards 2-15 3-30

Time of Possession 26:48 33:12



RUSHING—Cleveland, Harrison 3-80, Lewis 18-65, Quinn 4-18, Cribbs 1-2, Stallworth 1-(minus 4). Buffalo, Lynch 23-119, F.Jackson 12-60, T.Edwards 3-7.

PASSING—Cleveland, Quinn 14-36-0-185. Buffalo, T.Edwards 16-26-3-148.

RECEIVING—Cleveland, B.Edwards 8-104, Winslow 3-40, Harrison 1-21, Ali 1-12, Steptoe 1-8. Buffalo, Lynch 10-58, St.Johnson 3-41, Royal 1-22, Parrish 1-21, Fine 1-6.

MISSED FIELD GOAL—Buffalo, Lindell 47 (WR).