On one of the most frightful weather days in NFL history, all the Cleveland Browns needed was Phil Dawson’s foot, as well as a little help from Mother Nature to take a huge step towards the NFL Playoffs. With a driving snowstorm stopping both teams, the Browns beat the Buffalo Bills 8-0, and with it are now tied for the top spot in the AFC North with the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 9-5 record. They have won their last six home games, and it looks as if they will play the Steelers in the first round, and now there is a legit shot that game would be in Cleveland.
Dawson kicked two field goals in the driving snow, the first of which went 35 yards, and the second, an amazing 49 yards that gave the Browns the 8-0 lead that held up. “Kicking is a funny thing,” Dawson said. “At this time last year I couldn’t buy a break, and for whatever reason, I’m now getting all the breaks. I’m not necessarily doing anything different. The ball is just bouncing the right way.”
The only other points came when Bills punter Brian Moorman was unable to handle a snap, and even with time to spare felt kicking the ball out of the end zone was the Bills’ best bet, therefore taking a safety that made it 5-0 Cleveland in the second quarter.
Neither team did much at all in the air, as the ground game was the best and safest way to move the football. The Browns Jamal Lewis went for 163 yards on 33 carries, helping the Browns run off some precious clock in the second half. The Bills countered with Marshawn Lynch, who growing up in Oakland said it looked like the North Pole. Lynch went for 82 yards on 21 carries. The Browns were able to pound out 304 tough yards of offense, while the Bills ended the day with 232 yards.
Derek Anderson did have a better day throwing then counterpart Trent Edwards for the Bills. Anderson went 9-of-24 for 137 yards and suffered one sack. Edwards was not very good till late in the game as the Bills drove for what would have been a possible tying score. Edwards went 13-for-33 for 124 yards. He did not throw a pick nor was he sacked, but with the weather being as bad as it was, it made it impossible to get the ball down the field.
“When you’re a kid, you dream of playing in a game like this,” said Browns wide receiver Joe Jurevicius, who grew up just east of Cleveland. “Today was the Turkey Bowl or the Christmas Bowl in the backyard when you’re wiping snow out of your eyes. This is why I came home — not for the elements — but to play in big games like this.”
The loss for the Bills means that the hopes for the postseason for 2007 is all but over. They sit at 7-7, and will come home to take on the New York Giants next week. The Browns will again look take another big step towards the AFC North title or at least a playoff birth. They will take on the Bengals in Cincinnati next Sunday.
Click below to hear postgame Bills Locker room from Marshawn Lynch