DETROIT — Just like several games this year, the Browns got off to a surprisingly hot start Sunday against the high-powered Buffalo Bills.
Unfortunately, just like they've also done in several games this year, things precipitously began to fall apart.
The Browns ended Week 11 with a 31-23 loss, with the Bills scoring 25 straight points before Cleveland got a couple of touchdowns in garbage time. The two teams were forced to play at Ford Field in Detroit due to a massive snow storm in Western New York.
In a virtual replay of last week's matchup with the Miami Dolphins, the Browns took the ball down the field on the opening drive and secured a 25-yard TD catch from Amari Cooper. The No. 1 wideout finished the day with eight receptions for 113 yards and two scores, although all but two of those grabs came in the first half.
Cleveland led 10-3 in the second quarter, but their field goal came after tight ends Harrison Bryant and Pharaoh Brown dropped wide-open passes in the end zone. A fumble on an exchange from quarterback Jacoby Brissett and center Hjalte Froholdt (playing for an injured Ethan Pocic) also led to three for Buffalo (7-3), keeping the game close when the Browns were dominating at the time.
The defense had held the Bills to only 56 yards of offense prior to the final drive before halftime, when Josh Allen led his group on a 78-yard march that culminated in a 5-yard Stefon Diggs touchdown catch (with no one around him) and a 13-10 halftime lead. From there, Buffalo found its grove, with Allen completing 14 of his last 17 passes and the running game combining for 171 yards and a score from Devin Singletary. Tyler Bass also made six field goals, including one from 56 yards away.
Brissett was solid again in his second-to-last start before Deshaun Watson takes over, finishing with 324 yards and three TDs along with a 116.3 passer rating. Shockingly, the running game was nonexistent, with Nick Chubb in particular mustering only 19 yards on 14 carries. Cleveland actually had an outside chance to tie it late, but Cade York's onside kick attempt fell just away from Ronnie Harrison's grasp.
At 3-7, The Browns are now off to their worst 10-game start since 2017 (when they finished 0-16) and will now need a virtual miracle to have any shot at the NFL playoffs. They'll return to FirstEnergy Stadium next Sunday to host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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