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Browns-Bills Preview

Posted Dec 11, 2010

A pair of last-second victories have appeared to boost the spirits of the Cleveland Browns, who were on the wrong end of a number of close games during their slow start.

Their next opponent knows what it's like to endure those kinds of defeats.

Cleveland will attempt to earn a season-high third straight win by sending the Buffalo Bills to their third consecutive defeat Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The Browns were 1-5 in games decided by seven points or fewer during their 3-7 start, but they've won the past two by a combined four points.

Cleveland got a break in the first of those wins Nov. 28 when Carolina's field goal attempt grazed off the left upright on the final play.

After that 24-23 victory, the Browns (5-7) created their own luck in last week's 13-10 win at Miami when safety Mike Adams' interception in the final minute helped set up Phil Dawson's 23-yard field goal as time expired.

"It's about time for us to win some games like that," Adams said. "Two years ago, or even last year, you can remember us losing a game like that. Fortunately, this year, it's turning our way. So a win is a win."

The Bills would probably love to get any kind of win after seeming to regress over the past two weeks.

Buffalo endured three consecutive three-point defeats at the end of its 0-8 start but rebounded for wins over Detroit and Cincinnati last month. The Bills then suffered their third overtime loss this season to Pittsburgh on Nov. 28 before falling 38-14 last week in Minnesota.

Buffalo (2-10) committed a season-high five turnovers and three personal foul penalties against the Vikings. The Bills also lost center Geoff Hangartner and right guard Kraig Urbik to knee injuries.

Starting right guard Eric Wood is expected to return after missing two games because of an ankle injury and take over for Hangartner. Ed Wang and Cordaro Howard are slated to split time at right guard in place of Urbik.

"It's no fun to try to create continuity in a situation where there is none," coach Chan Gailey said. "You can't do it in a short period of time. We're just going to have to work and do the best we can to patch a group together that can go play."

Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy will likely miss a third straight game with an ankle injury, giving Jake Delhomme another start. The veteran could get some help from running back Peyton Hillis, who is 38 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season.

Hillis will face a Buffalo defense that's giving up a league-worst 170.9 yards per game on the ground and has allowed at least 200 in each of the past two defeats.

Delhomme has completed 69.6 percent of his passes for 462 yards in McCoy's absence. He didn't throw an interception for the first time this season last week after having two passes picked off in three consecutive games.

Delhomme also had a touchdown to tight end Benjamin Watson, who had a career-high 10 receptions while reaching 100 yards for the first time with Cleveland.

Delhomme threw for 325 yards last season against Buffalo but also three interceptions in a 20-9 loss for the Panthers.

Buffalo's Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn't faced the Browns since going 1-1 in two starts for Cincinnati in 2008. He had 211 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in those games, including a career-low 55 yards as a starter in a 14-0 win at Cleveland.

The Bills couldn't get past Cleveland for the third time in as many seasons in 2009, falling 6-3 at home as former Brown Billy Cundiff kicked an 18-yard field goal with 23 seconds left.

The previous season, Dawson converted a 56-yarder with 1:39 to lift the Browns to a 29-27 road victory.

Cleveland has won 10 of 15 all-time meetings, going 5-2 in Buffalo.