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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dawson boots Browns to win over reeling Bills

Phil Dawson booted five field goals including a career-long 56-yarder late in the fourth quarter to clinch a 29-27 victory for the Cleveland Browns over the reeling Buffalo Bills on Monday.

With 38 seconds left, Buffalo kicker Rian Lindell had a chance to send the bone-chilled capacity crowd of 71,645 home happy but watched in agony as his 47-yard attempt sailed just wide of the uprights.

After opening the season with four consecutive wins, the Bills had looked ready to challenge for top spot in the AFC East but after four straight defeats have plunged to the bottom of the division with a 5-5 record.

Cleveland quarterback Brady Quinn, making just his second career start, registered his first win to keep the Browns's slim playoff hopes alive as they improved to 4-6.

"It doesn't feel like a freefall, at least not to me," Bills coach Dick Jauron told reporters. "It's not where we want to be, we'd like to be 10-0, we'd like to have no losses.

"But the 5-5 record will keep us in it and we'll just keep playing as hard as we can."

After a chilly afternoon of tailgate partying in the parking lot, Bills fans filled Ralph Wilson Stadium in high spirits but the buzz was replaced by boos when Trent Edwards's first pass landed in the hands of Browns linebacker Kamerion Wimbley.

TOUCHDOWN DRIVE

Cleveland was unable to take advantage of the turnover but would convert two other first-quarter Edwards interceptions into 40 and 33-yard Dawson field goals and a 6-0 lead.

Quinn was only slightly more effective in the opening quarter, completing just one-of-eight pass attempts but found his rhythm in the second and engineered a 96-yard touchdown drive capped by a two-yard run from Joshua Cribbs.

Buffalo also improved in the second quarter, Marshawn Lynch hauling in a pass from Edwards and scampering 18-yards for a touchdown, followed by a 26-yard Lindell field goal that trimmed the Browns's advantage to 13-10 heading into the intermission.

The Bills continued to hurt themselves with turnovers in the third quarter, however, a fumble resulting in another Dawson 43-yard field goal.

Buffalo would cancel that out with 31-yard effort of their own only to see the Browns regain control when Jerome Harrison opened a wild fourth quarter by racing 72-yards for a touchdown that opened a 23-13 lead.

Bills fans were back on their feet a minute later when rookie Leodis McKelvin returned the kickoff 98-yards for a touchdown.

After another Dawson field goal, Edwards would cap a 48-yard drive by diving over from the one to give the Bills their first lead of the game at 27-26.

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