|Date of game: 9/23/2012
Recap: Cleveland vs. Buffalo
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for three touchdowns and the Buffalo Bills defeated the Cleveland Browns, 24-14, to earn their first road victory since Week 1 of last season.
Fitzpatrick threw for 208 yards on 22-of-35 efficiency, connecting seven times with Stevie Johnson, whose touchdown catch in the fourth quarter accounted for the game's final margin. T.J. Graham and C.J. Spiller also caught touchdown passes to help the Bills (2-1) end their eight-game road skid.
After strong performances last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson regressed on Sunday. Weeden threw for a touchdown late in the third, but his two interceptions in the fourth quarter doomed the Browns, who fell to 0-3 for the fifth time in the last seven seasons.
The Bills effectively contained Richardson, who ran for a score, but only managed 27 yards on 12 carries. He also caught six passes for 24 yards.
"That was one of the things that we made a big deal about," said Bills head coach Chan Gailey. "Not letting him out of there, controlling him, and it worked kind of like we thought it would."
Ryan Lindell's 37-yard field goal to open the second half gave Buffalo a 10- point lead, but Weeden brought Cleveland within three near the end of the third. The rookie quarterback completed 8-of-12 passes to lead a 13-play, 80- yard march, which concluded with a 22-yard pass to Travis Benjamin in the end zone.
But Fitzpatrick answered for Buffalo two drives later, completing 4-of-5 through the air before hitting Johnson for a 9-yard touchdown.
Cleveland punted on its next possession and Weeden threw interceptions on the following two drives to seal the victory for Buffalo.
"One, you have to give them a little bit of credit" said Weeden regarding the Bills' defense. "They made tackles at the line of scrimmage and were doing a good job against the run game."
In the first quarter, Buffalo started near midfield after forcing Cleveland to go three-and-out on its first possession. Fitzpatrick put them inside the Browns' 20 after completing passes to Donald Jones and Johnson before hitting Graham on a 9-yard slant route for a score.
Spiller, who took a screen pass 32 yards for a touchdown on the Bills' second possession, was injured the following drive. After falling on his shoulder at the end of a 25-yard catch, which was negated by a holding penalty, Spiller went to the locker room and did not return. Tashard Choice replaced him and ran for 91 yards on 20 carries.
The Browns punted on each of their first four possessions, but rallied for a score on their fifth after Weeden's interception to Jarius Byrd was erased by an illegal contact penalty on Aaron Williams. Weeden threw a strike to Mohamed Massaquoi for 14 yards before handing off to Richardson, who scampered 6-yards into the end zone to make it a one-score game at halftime.Game Notes
Mario Williams recorded his first two sacks after signing a six-year, $100
million deal with Buffalo this past offseason ... Fitzpatrick is the only
starting quarterback who still has not been sacked in 2012.