Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns 10/3/13 NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes
Final Score: Cleveland Browns 37, Buffalo Bills 24
October 3, 2013
This Week 5 edition of “Thursday Night Football” didn’t look like much when the schedules first came out. Both the Bills and Browns showed some major improvement over the first part of the season, however, and it became a surprisingly intriguing matchup. Each team was 2-2 coming in: Buffalo was coming off a surprise win over the defending champion Ravens, and the Browns had knocked off the Bengals in Week 4. It really was anyone’s game to win.
Let’s take a look at the numbers and storylines in this one, so we can see how it all went down. Afterward, we’ll take a glance forward to Week 6 and see what’s on tap for each team as the season continues.
What Happened: We expected this one to be a good game, and it was. In addition to all the injury drama (which we’ll get to in a second), there was all sorts of back-and-forth scoring from both sides. The Browns took a 17-10 lead into halftime, then promptly lost it in the third, but were able to outscore the Bills 13-0 in the fourth quarter for a high-energy 37-24 victory that puts them in sole possession of the No. 1 spot in the AFC North, with the other three teams yet to play on Sunday.
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Injuries: We’ll talk about the injury situation right off the bat, as it played such an important role in this game. Both sides suffered high-profile injuries that will potentially affect their seasons. Browns starting QB Brian Hoyer injured his knee on a scramble during the first quarter, forcing former starter Brandon Weeden to finish up the game.
The Bills’ starting rookie QB E.J. Manuel also injured his knee on a run during the third; fellow rookie Jeff Tuel had to finish things out for him.
In addition to that, the Bills' Stevie Johnson (back) and the Browns' Desmond Bryant (shortness of breath) were also removed from the game.
Hoyer’s initial diagnosis was a sprained knee. He’ll get an MRI and we’ll see if there’s any ligament damage there. For Manuel, he’s in the same boat: sprained knee; possible MRI forthcoming. We’ll keep you posted on their conditions.
The Stars: Even with the injuries, both the offenses were humming in this one. The Browns’ Weeden, who entered the game early on, posted a decent 13-for-24 line with a touchdown pass to the electric Josh Gordon, who tallied 86 yards. Greg Little also chipped in with 71 of his own.
On defense, the Browns came up big when they needed to. T.J. Ward sealed the game with a 44-yard pick-six with just 1:44 remaining.
The running game was working for both teams. Cleveland’s Willis McGahee had his biggest game as a Brown, posting 72 yards and a score. The Bills’ C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson combined for 119 yards and three touchdowns, providing a much-needed one-two punch.
The Goats: It’s hard to pin the blame on anyone here, considering the extenuating circumstances. We’ll call out Tuel for his costly interception in the waning moments, and also his 8-for-20 passing line, but it was an understandably difficult situation. The Bills couldn't do anything offensively after Manuel left.
Also--and this could also be a result of the abrupt QB change--breakout TE Jordan Cameron was all but ineffective for most of the game. He posted just three grabs for 36 yards (and a fumble) in an underutilized effort.
Outlook: Looking ahead to Week 6, we could see a couple of very different teams taking the field. For the Browns, their defense will get an extensive workout with the visiting Lions. The Bills, meanwhile, will host the Cincinnati Bengals.
Both games are at 1:00 ET on Sunday, October 13.
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