ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – The bumbling Cleveland Browns are two losses short from becoming the NFL’s second team to go 0-16 in one season.
LeSean McCoy had a season-best 153 yards rushing and scored twice, and the Buffalo Bills kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 33-13 win on Sunday.
The Browns dropped to 0-14, matching the second-worst start to a season set by the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 1980 New Orleans Saints. The 2008 Detroit Lions , meanwhile, are the NFL’s only team to go without a win in a 16-game season.
Cleveland has also lost 17 straight dating to last year, moving into a tie with the St. Louis Rams (2008-09) and Houston Oilers (1982-83) for the league’s sixth-longest skid. The Browns have now gone a calendar year since their last win, a 24-10 victory over San Francisco on Dec. 13, 2015.
The Browns have been so bad they haven’t had a lead in 17-plus quarters, dating to a 7-6 edge in the third quarter of a 28-7 loss at Baltimore on Nov. 10.
One consolation for the Bills was they at least backed up defensive tackle Marcell Dareus guaranteeing Buffalo wouldn’t be the first team to lose to Cleveland this season.
The game was played before a sparse crowd, befitting of two teams having little on the line and two franchises enduring lengthy stretches of futility.
The Browns have enjoyed just one winning season since last making the playoffs in 2002.
Despite the win, the Bills (7-7) are in jeopardy of extending the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 17 seasons. Buffalo doesn’t control its own playoff future and could be eliminated from contention if Denver defeats New England later in the afternoon.
Coach Rex Ryan’s job security also remains in question beyond this season, his second in Buffalo. He’s taking heat for a defense that continues to play inconsistently.
Last week, the Bills surrendered a franchise-worst 236 yards rushing to Le’Veon Bell in a 27-20 loss to Pittsburgh. The week before that, Buffalo squandered a 24-9 third-quarter lead in a 38-24 loss at Oakland.
McCoy broke the game open by scoring on 3- and 8-yard runs on consecutive possessions spanning the third and fourth quarters. His first came immediately after the Browns cut Buffalo’s lead to 17-10 when Robert Griffin III scored on an 18-yard run on Cleveland’s opening drive of the second half.
Mike Gillislee also scored on a 3-yard run to help Buffalo set a franchise record of scoring 27 TDs rushing this season. That’s one more than the mark set in 1975.
Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor went 17 of 24 for 174 yards and a 19-yard touchdown pass to Charles Clay.
Griffin finished 17 of 28 for 196 yards and was sacked five times.
BAD START: The Browns’ opening drive went nowhere. Cleveland netted minus-yards on offense, including an offensive holding penalty against Jonathan Cooper. Griffin couldn’t even complete an easy pass over the middle by throwing behind a wide-open Duke Johnson Jr. on third down.
If that wasn’t enough, Britton Colquitt’s punt hit teammate Briean Boddy-Calhoun in the back. Boddy-Calhoun then ran into Brandon Tate, even though the Bills returner had signaled a fair catch, leading to a 15-yard penalty against the Browns rookie.
SCRAMBLING: Griffin scored on a nifty 18-yard run in which he was flushed from the pocket, outraced linebacker Jerry Hughes and had enough momentum to dive across the goal line after being hit by linebacker Preston Brown.
Taylor responded by showing off his scrambling abilities on the next drive. Avoiding a sack, he raced along the right sideline and tip-toed his way for a 28-yard gain to set up McCoy’s 3-yard touchdown run.
BIG HIT: Griffin showed he can take a big hit in making just his second start since missing 11 games with a broken bone in his left shoulder. In the third quarter, Griffin scrambled out of trouble and completed a 28-yard pass to Gary Barnidge. Griffin was bowled over by linebacker Zach Brown just as he released the ball.
Griffin got up and continued playing, while Brown was flagged 15 yards for roughing the passer.
Browns: Host San Diego on Saturday.
Bills: Host Miami on Saturday.
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