Buffalo took the third-quarter kickoff and stalled near midfield, and the Bills’ first punt of the day gave the Browns the ball at the Cleveland 22 with three-and-a-half minutes gone in the quarter.
Buffalo got the ball back quickly, starting this time from their 17, and began moving the ball once again. By this stage of the game Buffalo had nearly twice as much time of possession as the Browns did — sooner or later that will wear a defense down and allow a big play on offense.
The Bills’ drive continued. and again, the defense stiffened near midfield, and once again Buffalo was forced to punt, pinning the Browns deep in their end of the field at the nine-yard line.
Run…run…incomplete pass…three-and-out and a punt? Not so fast — a Bills penalty gave the Browns a new set of downs. Peyton Hillis fumbled on a second down play, but it was recovered by Cleveland — Hillis’s second ball on the ground of the day. Undeterred, Hillis got a first down on the next play as the Browns’ fortunate drive continued.
The quarter ended with the Browns with the ball at their 26.