Norwalk Reflector: Bills edge Browns in second preseason game

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Bills edge Browns in second preseason game

By MARY KAY CABOT • Aug 18, 2018 at 12:46 AM

CLEVELAND — Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield both generated touchdown drives against the Bills, and the Browns located their missing running game, but it wasn't enough Friday night.

The Bills, behind 13 points produced by No. 7 overall pick Josh Allen, beat the Browns 19-17 in the second preseason game to even both teams' records at 1-1.

Corey Coleman's homecoming was uneventful. He hugged and high-fives some of his former teammates before the game, but caught only one pass for seven yards.

Taylor's first game against his former team was also underwhelming. In four drives, he completed only four of seven attempts for 22 yards and a 62.8 rating, but did engineer a TD drive on a run-heavy first possession.

Mayfield, playing six drives, produced 10 points, but it could've been more if not for some untimely penalties.

It was a night for the Browns' defense and to establish their running game. The first-team defense rendered the Bills starters, including A.J. McCarron, ineffective, forcing three-and-outs on all four possessions.

The Browns also located the running game that was missing last week against the Giants. Carlos Hyde rushed for 64 yards on nine carries and a TD, and Chubb ran 11 times for 53 yards and a TD. Last week against the Giants, the Browns averaged 1.5 yards. Friday night they rushed for 164 yards and averaged 5.1.

Baker Mayfield's night

Mayfield replaced Taylor in the second quarter and generated 10 points on his six drives. He completed seven of 13 attempts for 75 yards without an interception or TD. He earned a 71.0 rating.

Mayfield was originally credited with a 1-yard TD pass to receiver Derrick Willies on his last drive, but on replay Willies was ruled out of bounds on the right side of the end zone. Nick Chubb saved the drive by running in from the 1 on the next play to give the Browns a 17-13 lead with 12:33 left.

Mayfield threw two nice completions over the middle to Da'mari Scott on the final possession, for 13 and 19 yards. A 15-yard helmet penalty on the latter moved the Browns to the 18 and then Chubb bolted 17 yards to the 1.

The lead was short-lived when Nathan Peterman threw a 35-yard TD pass to tight end Nick O'Leary — the grandson of PGA great Jack Nicklaus — a little more than three minutes later on a busted third-string defensive coverage to make it 19-17.

Mayfield went three- or four-and-out on his first three drives, not counting taking a knee at the end of the first half.

On his fifth possession, Mayfield drove the Browns to the 3, but tight end Devon Cajuste committed offensive pass interference — one of three called on the Browns in the game — to move them back to the 13. The Browns eventually settled for a Ross Martin 31-yard field goal that narrowed the gap to 13-10.

Taylor vs. his former team

Taylor, who admitted being motivated by the trade that sent him from Buffalo to the Browns in March, engineered a nine-play, 70-yard TD drive to put the Browns up 7-0 with 9:10 left in the first quarter.

Taylor didn't have to do much on what was almost an all-run possession, with the Browns gaining 63 yards on the ground. Taylor completed only one pass, a 7-yarder to tight end Darren Fells. Hyde, who ran five times for 41 yards on the drive, high-stepped in from four yards for the score.

Taylor was driving again on his fourth and final possession and had the Browns in field goal range, but Rashard Higgins was flagged for interference to stall the drive. Jarvis Landry had done the same thing a few plays earlier.

Allen's game

Allen, whom the Browns considered drafting No. 1, put points on the board on all three of his drives to build a 13-7 lead in the third quarter. He entered the game when starter A.J. McCarron sustained a shoulder injury that the Buffalo News said is a broken collarbone.

Allen three a TD pass on his first drive and then produced two field goal drives.

Allen's first possession went for 15 plays and 80 yards. With 3:55 left in the half against mostly second-teamers (linebackers Jamie Collins and Mychal Kendricks were on the field), Allen stepped up to avoid Nate Orchard and fired a 2-yard TD to Rod Streeter in the back of the end zone.

Allen got help on the drive from Browns defensive lineman Carl Nassib, who grabbed the rookie's facemask and spun him down on third-and-long. Instead of a punt, it was an automatic first down.

On Allen's second possession just before halftime, he drove to the Browns' 15, including a six-yard scramble on third and 1. But his pass to tight end Logan Thomas at the right side of the end zone sailed high. The Bills settled for a 33-yard field for 10-7 halftime edge.

Allen completed nine of 13 attempts for 60 yards with a TD, earning a 104.6 rating. He also ran three times for 18 yards.

Nowhere to Hyde

Hyde offered evidence that he could be a force this season.

On the Browns opening drive, he rushed five times for 41 yards, opening with runs of 8 and 26 yards, and Duke Johnson pitched in with an 18-yard blast before slipping at the Bills' 15.

In the second quarter, Hyde plowed up the middle for 19 yards to the Buffalo 29, but the drive fizzled on the interference calls against Landry and Higgins. By halftime, Hyde was done, and he left with 64 yards on nine carries for a 7.1-yard average.

Stout D

The Browns' first-team defense dominated the Bills, forcing three-and-outs on all four drives. Briean Boddy-Calhoun was particularly active, with a pass broken up and several stops early. Larry Ogunjobi sacked McCarron for a 7-yard loss to blow up the second drive.

Up next

The Browns host the Eagles Thursday night at 8 p.m. The game will be nationally-televised on FOX.

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