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Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns Game Day Preview

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2009
RALPH WILSON STADIUM
ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK
1:00 PM EDT

TELEVISION

CBS / CBS HD
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Don Criqui
COLOR ANALYST: Randy Cross

DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket:
Channel 712 / Channel 712-1 (HD)

RADIO

Bills Radio Network
PLAY-BY-PLAY: John Murphy
COLOR ANALYST: Mark Kelso
SIDELINE REPORTER: Paul Peck

Cleveland Browns Radio Network
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Jim Donovan
COLOR ANALYST: Doug Dieken
SIDELINE REPORTER: Andre Knott

Sirius Sunday Drive: Channel 130 (Buffalo feed) / Channel 147 (Cleveland feed)
Sirius NFL on XM: Channel 109

HISTORY

REGULAR-SEASON SERIES RECORD: Browns 9, Bills 5. Cleveland is 4-2 at Rich/Ralph Wilson Stadium.

PLAYOFF RECORD: Browns 1, Bills 0. Thanks, Ronnie Harmon ...

LAST MEETING: November 17, 2008 – Browns 29, Bills 27
Two Bills Drive preview

Olean Times Herald coverage:
Monday Night Meltdown
Notebook: McKelvin’s kick return among few bright spots
POLLOCK: Losses taking their toll on Bills’ Edwards

The Bills continued to cement their status as “Not Ready For Prime Time Players” with their ninth consecutive loss under the lights. (Of course, another game was added to that streak last month.) How long has it been since their last primetime win? Check the name of the quarterback:

Primetime games since 2000:

DateScoreBills Starting QB
Sunday, Sept. 3, 2000 Bills 16, Titans 13 Rob Johnson
Monday, Dec. 11, 2000 Colts 44, Bills 20 Rob Johnson
Saturday, Dec. 23, 2000 Bills 42, Seahawks 23 Doug Flutie
Thursday, Oct. 18, 2001 Bills 13, Jaguars 10 Rob Johnson
Sunday, Dec. 2, 2001 49ers 35, Bills 0 Alex Van Pelt
Sunday, Sept. 21, 2003 Dolphins 17, Bills 7 Drew Bledsoe
Sunday, Oct. 26, 2003 Chiefs 38, Bills 5 Drew Bledsoe
Sunday, Nov. 14, 2004 Patriots 29, Bills 6 Drew Bledsoe
Sunday, Oct. 30, 2005 Patriots 21, Bills 16 Kelly Holcomb
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2005 Broncos 28, Bills 17 Kelly Holcomb
Sunday, Sept. 21, 2007 Cowboys 25, Bills 24 Trent Edwards
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2007 Patriots 56, Bills 10 J.P. Losman
Monday, Nov. 17, 2008 Browns 29, Bills 27 Trent Edwards
Monday, Sept. 14, 2009 Patriots 25, Bills 24 Trent Edwards

Come-from-ahead heartbreakers, blowouts, they’re all in there. Early on, this game looked like it would end up in the latter category: Trent Edwards started the game with an interception on the Bills’ first offensive play and added two more before the end of the first quarter, then spent most of the rest of the night trying to regain his confidence with dumpoffs to Marshawn Lynch, who ended the night with 10 receptions while Lee Evans was shut out for the first time in 68 games. Fortunately for Buffalo, the 3-6 Browns were unable to muster more than six points from Edwards’ early Christmas presents, and Rian Lindell’s 26-yard field goal at the gun sent them into the locker room trailing just 13-10.

The teams swapped three-pointers in the third quarter, before Browns running back Jerome Harrison stunned both the defense and the Ralph Wilson Stadium crowd with a 72-yard sprint to the end zone that appeared to salt the win away for Cleveland. Not even close. Leodis McKelvin took the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for the second touchdown in 27 seconds, and the Bills were back in the game. Following Phil Dawson’s fourth field goal and a pair of punts, the Bills offense took the field trailing 26-20 with just over five minutes left. Lynch broke free for a long run down to the 1, Edwards capped off the drive with a sneak on the next play, and remarkably, the Bills took their first lead of the game with 2:35 remaining.

However, that merely set the stage for Dawson’s heroics. The Browns quickly moved to the Bills 39, but three straight Brady Quinn incompletions brought the veteran kicker on for his fifth attempt of the night. Some Bills fans began to celebrate, thinking that the 56-yarder was outside his range. No such luck, and the Browns retook the lead.

The Bills still had a shot, though. Cleveland decided to kick away from McKelvin, but Fred Jackson alertly snared Dawson’s pop-up and returned it to the 44, and with 1:33 and a timeout left, there was plenty of time to move into range to give Lindell a shot at winning it. Edwards started the drive by rifling a 22-yard strike to Robert Royal, setting up a first down at the Browns 34.

And then, someone on the Bills sideline decided they’d gone far enough, that even with the below-freezing temperatures and the nine-mph headwind, they were content with letting Lindell try one from long range. Three consecutive Lynch dives into the middle of the line netted five yards, the 47-yarder sailed wide, and two Quinn kneeldowns ended the game.

(Aside: I won’t repeat the words I used in Section 237 that night, as soon as I saw Lynch take the handoff on first down. But you can safely assume that it was a profane variation of, “You’re kidding me,” followed by, “Hope you make this, Rian.”)

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09/07 @ Chicago Bears 1:00 pm
09/14 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
09/21 San Diego Chargers 1:00 pm
09/28 @ Houston Texans 1:00 pm
10/05 @ Detroit Lions 1:00 pm
10/12 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
10/19 Minnesota Vikings 1:00 pm
10/26 @ New York Jets 1:00 pm
11/09 Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
11/13 @ Miami Dolphins 8:25 pm
11/23 New York Jets 1:00 pm
11/30 Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm
12/07 @ Denver Broncos 4:05 pm
12/14 Green Bay Packers 1:00 pm
12/21 @ Oakland Raiders 4:25 pm
12/28 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm

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