Blogging the National Football League, Blogging the NFL
The Cleveland Browns weathered the storm. The Buffalo Bills did not. It was really that simple as the Browns moved one step closer to a Wild Card playoff berth and kept their AFC North Division title hopes alive with an ugly 8-0 win over the Bills in almost constant blizzard conditions this afternoon at Cleveland Stadium.
I would like to say that the snow storm prevented these teams from doing what they would normally do, thus affecting an “honest outcome” in this game. And to an extent, that is true. But the fact is both teams had to play in the poor conditions and the team that handled the adversity better won.
It was a mess out there. CBS’ field level camera shots throughout the game gave a better indication of just how awful it was. Blowing, oftentimes heavy snow made visibility and footing extremely unpredictable. But it was a surprisingly well-played game considering the elements. There were no turnovers and each team only committed two penalties each. And all things considered, it was very evenly played except for the rushing yardage. I said each team’s running game would be vital under these conditions and that turned out to be true. I also said Jamal Lewis could get 35 carries today. Close. In reality, Jamal Lewis had 33 carries for 163 yards. And that really was the difference as Cleveland controlled the clock in the second half and held off a late Buffalo rally to get the win.
This is a crushing blow to the Bills’ playoff hopes. Now at 7-7, they have been eliminated from any chance of a postseason spot. With Pittsburgh losing to Jacksonville, though, the Browns are now looking at the possibility of something more than a Wild Card spot.