DETROIT (AP) Josh Allen threw a go-ahead, 5-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs late in the first half as Buffalo defeated the Cleveland Browns 31-23 on Sunday after the NFL moved the Bills’ home game to Detroit due to several feet of snow in western New York.
The Bills (7-3) avoided a third consecutive halftime lead by scoring on all five of their possessions in the second half and protecting the ball better.
Cleveland (3-7) rallied within eight points and caused an outside kick in the final seconds that Bills receiver Gabe Davis was unable to grab and running back Taiwan Jones hit out of bounds.
Many supporters from both fanbases were in attendance, chanting “Let’s Go Buffalo!” and barking like dogs.
Buffalo lost its raw home field-court advantage, but the team did their best to publicize some of the sights and sounds in Highmark Stadium, such as a blaring train horn and calls for Bills Mafia to get loud at key moments.
Buffalo, returning to Detroit to play the Lions on Thanksgiving, got off to a slow start after a week disrupted by a winter storm.
Allen found a rhythm on an 11-play, 78-yard drive that lasted just 1 minute 40 seconds and ended with Allen’s first pass to Diggs.
The Bills scored a touchdown in the second half for the first time in four games on Devin Singletary’s 5-yard run. They also stopped Jacoby Brissett’s sneak on fourth-and-1 from the Buffalo 27 and blocked a third-quarter field goal as they built a 22–10 lead.
The Browns missed many opportunities to prevent their playoff hopes from fading completely with quarterback Deshaun Watson nearing the end of his 11-game NFL suspension.
Brissett had dropped passes through tight ends Harrison Bryant and Pharaoh Brown on consecutive pitches that cost Cleveland a touchdown and forced it to settle for a 10–3 lead early in the second quarter.
Brissett finished 28 of 41 for 324 yards—two shy of his career high—and three season-high touchdowns. He threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper on the opening drive, a 7-yard touchdown scoring pass to Cooper with 4:11 left that pulled the Browns within 12 points, and a 2-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Peoples Jones in the final minute.
The Bills got a much-needed break when Brissett made a snap in midfield midway through the second quarter. At the time, Buffalo had no first and was outscored for 181 yards to 12 and trailing 10–3.
Allen was 18 of 27 for 197 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers. He threw six of his NFL-high 10 interceptions over the previous three games and fumbled a snap in the end zone during last week’s collapse against Minnesota.
Bills ran back Singletary and James Cook, each 86 yards, putting pressure on Allen to play through the air.
Browns: Starting C Ethan Pocic (knee) retired early in the game and was replaced by Hjalte Froholdt.
Bills: DE AJ Epenesa (ankle) was injured during the match.
Browns: Host Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Bills: Return to Ford Field to play the Lions on Thanksgiving.
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