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Browns’ misery ends



Published: Mon, October 12, 2009 @ 12:01 a.m.

Punter Dave Zastudil excelled in Cleveland’s ugly 6-3 win over Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — In a game that could only be considered an instant classic on Comedy Central, leave it to punter Dave Zastudil to help secure the Cleveland Browns’ first victory of the season.

Just don’t tell the Browns that their 6-3 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday was in any way ugly.

“The way it turned out, I thought it was beautiful,” coach Eric Mangini said of his first win with Cleveland. “It’s great. It’s fantastic. I couldn’t be happier.”

Zastudil landed seven of nine punts inside the Bills 20. That included his last one, a difficult-to-pick-up roller that Roscoe Parrish muffed, allowing the Browns to take over at the Buffalo 16.

Seven plays later — and after Jamal Lewis was stopped inches from the goal line on third-and-goal from the 3 — backup kicker Billy Cundiff hit an 18-yard field goal with 23 seconds remaining.

In a fitting conclusion to an error-filled game in which Browns quarterback Derek Anderson was 2 for 17 for 23 yards, Zastudil acknowledged he didn’t strike the decisive punt cleanly.

“I mis-hit it just a little bit,” Zastudil said. “But looking back, it was the best punt of the night because they fumbled it.”

Cleveland (1-4) snapped a 10-game losing streak, one short of matching the franchise worst, the same week the team traded star receiver Braylon Edwards to the New York Jets. The Browns’ last win was 29-27, also at the Bills, on Nov. 17, 2008.

It’s impossible to know whether Edwards could have helped in a game that lived down to its billing as a Misery Loves Company Bowl.

Buffalo (1-4) has now lost 12 of 15, including consecutive games to winless teams following a 38-10 defeat at Miami. Its offense continues to look anemic and coach Dick Jauron’s back on the hot seat.

“I don’t know — that’s not a question to ask me,” Jauron said of his job status.

Bills owner Ralph Wilson was in attendance, but did not address reporters after the game. General manager Russ Brandon declined to comment on Jauron.

“Obviously, this is a low point for the organization and the fan base,” Brandon said. “This is not where we expected to be right now.”

Receiver Lee Evans shook his head when asked if he believes Jauron will be fired.

“I hope not,” Evans said. “That’s not going to solve anything.”

Penalties cost the Bills. They were flagged 13 times for 75 yards — including a whopping nine false-start violations.

Linebacker Marcus Buggs was penalized for jumping the snap to sack Anderson on a third-and-7. On the next play, Joshua Cribbs had a 31-yard gain to set up Cundiff’s 24-yard field goal that opened the scoring.

Parrish had a tough day, too. Aside from his fumble, he made the wrong decision in fielding a punt at his own 42 on the final play of the third quarter. With his path blocked up the right sideline, Parrish instead reversed course and wound up losing 15 yards.

Rian Lindell provided the Bills’ only scoring, tying the game at 3 with a 36-yard field goal early in the third quarter.

Trent Edwards finished 16 of 31 for 152 yards and an interception, his fifth in three games. For an offense that features Evans and Terrell Owens, Edwards has not thrown for more than 200 yards in each of his past three outings.

The Browns’ passing attack was even worse. Anderson had an interception and registered a 15.1 passer rating in his second straight start. The Browns managed nine first downs and 193 yards of offense. They were led by Lewis, who had 117 yards rushing on 31 carries in his first game back after missing two with a hamstring injury.

“A win’s a win,” said Anderson, noting that the swirling winds inside the stadium didn’t help. “I knew it was going to be a grind. You could tell. It was hard to throw.”

The Browns couldn’t take advantage of a Bills defense that was already without four starters due to injuries and lost two middle linebackers during the game. Starter Kawika Mitchell was carted off in the second quarter with a right knee injury. Buggs took over and was carted off after hurting his left leg in the third.

Zastudil played a key role in bottling up the Bills offense. He had two punts downed at the Buffalo 1 and another at the 4.

“Special teams, we really came through for this football team,” Cribbs said. “The defense held their side, and Jamal Lewis took care of the rest.”

The Browns’ two completions are the fewest for a winning team since the Bengals did it in a 31-21 win over Denver on Oct. 22, 2000. Corey Dillon had 278 of the Bengals’ 407 yards rushing. Akili Smith went 2 of 9 for 34 yards and Scott Mitchell missed all five attempts.


Comments

1timOthy(802 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

After 53 years I think I'll be switching teams ! Which kills me. The kickers did an excellent job along with special teams. The defense look who they were playing. 23 yards what a joke. Are these guys Pros ? Cincy would you like another fan ! I'm ready for the change !

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2VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

In defense of the Browns, their 4 losses have been against teams that have only lost 3 games total.

In critique of the Browns, their offense is bad. Real Bad. It shows absolutely no coordination. The Browns offense looks as if they have never played together as a team and players continue to make the same mistakes, despite changing the players.

The entire team, including the coaches should be embarassed with this win. The only reason they won is because Buffalo's offense was horrible.

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3irishfan91(97 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Steelers will win easily over Browns. Steelers will be in playoffs. Browns will continue to lose and will be lucky to win 3 this year. A win is a win in the NFL--even the Browns' win, but they will be few and far between.

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4Jon(27 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

PenguinBird also responds to EVERY Traficant article with the same comment 'Traficant = LOSER". It's getting annoying. PenguinBird is more annoying then Traficant and the Browns at this point and that's saying something!

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5Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

They made up for not being able to tackle with not being able to block either. The offense is offensive, their defense even more so. If I can borrow from Coach Mora, "Who the hell do we think we are out there?" Or try this. "I bet the fans were vomiting in the stands".

I have never seen a team quite as bad as this, aside from the Lions.

A 15 passing rating plain stinks. Mangini really needs to work on this team, and though I know it is his first year here, you should be able to produce SOMETHING. That was a terrible win, and even though it was a "win", it still was horrendous.

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6pit_bull_marley(291 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

I am happy with this coach. Dont care about the media bashing him. Happy he is dumping wanna be Diva chicks from this team. Young, educated, talent for low cost that will develope. Depth , depth, depth through young players. Not rebuilding a team through false fronts. Mix in the vets in every area of the team to smooth the transition. Cap money will be available for a change. Our team already looked like chit before him. Keeping loud mouthed Divas wasnt getting it done. Takes no chit...good. Hardnosed, blue color types...He turned over NYs roster in three years...nice damn looking team isnt it? and they are young arent they? A busted up noodle arm got Mangini fired. Media hated him...fans turned on him d/t late collapse...of a noodle arm!...Ill wait...Ive waited forever anyways...GO BROWNS

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7pit_bull_marley(291 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

But the O coord...ouch...but we are just comming around...improvements noted...Spec teams..A+...Defense..B+(NFL team..3 points)...Offense...C--...run game did well though...GO BROWNS

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8pit_bull_marley(291 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Alex...The defense gave up 3 points to an NFL team without having a QB throwing the balll...AT ALL! How can you call that bad?

Mike...Hang in there...our time is comming, sooner than some think

Penguin...Get back in class boy

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9pit_bull_marley(291 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Rothlassaulter...Bring it Sunday...Penguin needs you

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