NEW YORK // 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. With 38 seconds left, the Buffalo kicker Rian Lindell had a chance to send the crowd home happy but watched in agony as his 47-yard attempt sailed just wide.
After opening the season with four wins, the Bills had looked 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. The Browns quarterback Brady Quinn, making just his second career start, registered his first win to keep Cleveland's play-off hopes alive as they improved to 4-6. "It doesn't feel like a freefall," the Bills coach Dick Jauron said. "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."
The game started badly for the Bills when Trent Edwards's first pass was picked off by the Browns linebacker Kamerion Wimbley. Cleveland could not take advantage of the turnover but did convert two other first-quarter interceptions into 40 and 33-yard Dawson field goals and a 6-0 lead. Quinn 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 taking a pass from Edwards and scampering 18-yards for a touchdown, followed by a 26-yard Lindell field goal. But a fumble by the Bills in the third quarter resulted in another Dawson field goal. Buffalo cancelled that out with 31-yard effort of their own but the Browns regained control when Jerome Harrison opened the fourth quarter by racing 72-yards for a touchdown.
The Bills fans were back on their feet a minute later when Leodis McKelvin returned the kick off 98 yards for a touchdown. After another Dawson field goal, Edwards capped a 48-yard drive by diving over from the one to give the Bills their first lead of the game at 27-26. However, the Browns would not be denied and Dawson hit his game-winner. * Reuters