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RUNNING GAME



A Given the circumstances, you can justify an A+ in this category. But that's the grade the Bills received here last week, and they weren't quite that good. The Bills weren't as electric without C.J. Spiller. The offensive line still gave Tashard Choice - third on the depth chart when the season began - enough room to rush for 91 yards on 20 carries.







PASSING GAME



B+ For the second straight week, Ryan Fitzpatrick provided no-frills efficiency. He completed 22 of his 35 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 107.8 passer rating. The offensive line didn't allow a sack - but Fitzpatrick did when he fumbled in the second quarter.







RUN DEFENSE



A The Bills virtually shut down running back Trent Richardson. He rushed 12 times for 27 yards, although linebacker Nick Barnett over pursued in the backfield, allowing Richardson to hit the edge for a 6-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The Browns had only four rushing first downs and 33 rushing yards as a team.







PASS DEFENSE



A- The Bills were helped out by some drops, but their pass defense was often superb. Each of their four starting defensive linemen increased his sack total, with Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus splitting the last one. The Bills added two more tackles for losses on receptions and tallied seven passes defensed, including two interceptions.







SPECIAL TEAMS



C+ Buffalo's kicking game could've been better in Cleveland's wet and windy weather. Brian Moorman, trying to punt away from Joshua Cribbs, had some poorly angled attempts. He bombed a 66-yard attempt, but his net average was 34.8 yards. Kickoff specialist John Potter had two touchbacks on his five attempts. Leodis McKelvin had a couple of nice returns.







COACHING



A- Bills coach Chan Gailey continued to hit all the right notes despite big injuries. The next-man-up philosophy has worked on offense, where Choice stepped in for Spiller and rookie receiver T.J. Graham scored his first NFL touchdown after being a healthy scratch in Week One. The defensive game plan was to make the Browns one-dimensional, and they certainly accomplished that objective.







RUNNING GAME



D+ The Browns didn't have any answers for the Bills' suffocating run defense. Richardson ran hard, but the Bills didn't make many mistakes in taking on blockers and filling in gaps. But if the Browns are going to be a grind-it-out offense, their O-linemen need to help Richardson and impose their will on opponents. The opposite happened on Cleveland's soggy home field.







PASSING GAME



C- Brandon Weeden showed notable poise for a rookie - albeit an almost 29-year-old rookie. He was harassed all afternoon but hung tough. He was 27 of 43 for 237 yards and a touchdown with two fourth-quarter interceptions. I'd give the Browns a better grade here if their receivers didn't have so many drops. Browns wide receivers combined for only nine catches, with nobody grabbing more than three.







RUN DEFENSE



D+ The Browns' best chance to win was the moment a golf cart pulled up to the Bills' sideline and hauled Spiller away. But the Bills still controlled the game on the ground with Choice and Johnny White. The Browns allowed 4.1 yards a carry, but if you remove Fitzpatrick scrambles and kneeldowns and two Wildcat plays, then the Bills' per-carry average would be 4.7 yards.







PASS DEFENSE



C- The Browns didn't let Fitzpatrick light up the sky, but they didn't do much to thwart him either. The Browns recorded that fluky team sack on Fitzpatrick's fumble and only one quarterback hit. The Browns were credited with five passes defensed, but three of them belonged to defensive linemen on tipped balls.







SPECIAL TEAMS



C Cribbs was Cleveland's most dangerous player. Most return men wouldn't take the ball out of the end zone when it has been kicked 7 or 8 yards deep, but Cribbs knows he's good enough to take chances. He averaged 28.3 yards in three kick returns and 14.3 yards on three punt returns. The Browns' kicking game deserved a shrug and their coverage was mediocre.







COACHING



D+ Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress did nothing creative. Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron did nothing dynamic. They came out flat, got into a 14-point hole and never recovered. Their run game went nowhere. The defense didn't get after Fitzpatrick and couldn't stop a third-string running back.



email: tgraham@buffnews.com