Instant analysis: Bills conquer Browns in ‘Battle of Lake Erie’ after slow start

The Buffalo Bills overcame a slow start in their home-away-from-home and defeated the Cleveland Browns 31-23 in Week 11 action.

Buffalo (7-3) overcame a chaotic week and a sluggish start to dominate the Browns (3-7). The Browns moved down the field will little resistance on the opening drive of the game, culminating a nine-play drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper.

The Bills for their part, only mustered a field goal and two punts over their first three drives.

However, a self-enforced error by the Browns seemed to be a turning point in the game. Cleveland QB Jacoby Brisset fumbled a snap . Matt Milano recovered the fumble, flipping field position for the Bills. The fortuitous bounce gave the Bills life, as Buffalo would outscore the Browns 28-6.

Buffalo’s offense settled in, and the Bills would go on to score on their final eight possessions of the game.

The Bills found a greater sense of balance on offense, taking advantage of a struggling Cleveland run defense. Buffalo would rush for 172 yards on the game. Devin Singletary rushed 18 times for 86 yards, while James Cook stepped up with 11 rushes for 86 yards. Singletary also scored on the ground.

Josh Allen settled in and was much more accurate with his passes than in previous weeks. Allen did not force balls as he had done in previous weeks. Allen found Dawson Knox in space all game, as the tight end led the way with seven receptions for 70 receiving yards. Gabe Davis added five receptions for 68 yards.

Another nice feature of this game was that Allen did not have to put the entire game on his shoulders. Allen’s efficient day ended 18-of-27 for 197 passing yards and one touchdown reception.

Buffalo’s defense limited the stellar Cleveland ground game. It helped that the Bills lead forced the Browns to throw the ball more so. When Cleveland did run the ball, were unable to have great success. Nick Chubb ran 14 times for 19 yards. Kareem Hunt found a little space on his five carries, totaling 32 yards.

The banged-up Buffalo secondary struggled a bit, as Amari Cooper was a menace with eight catches for 113 passing yards. Cleveland’s secondary receivers also won battles, as Donovan Peoples-Jones and Harrison Bryant had solid afternoons.

Buffalo’s defense had several players step up in the face of the multiple injuries. Tyrel Dodson led the way with 13 tackles in place of Tremaine Edmunds. Matt Milano was everywhere on the field, registering 12 tackles, three tackles for loss, and one sack. Ed Oliver was also a problem in the interior of the line, registering five tackles, three of which were tackles for loss.

Buffalo’s special teams unit was perfect on the day. Tyler Bass hit all six of his field goal attempts. Hyheim Hines was solid in the return game, averaging 25.3 yards per kick return while averaging 18.5 yards on punt returns. Sam Martin punted twice in the first half, averaging 49.5 yards per punt.

Overall, it was a solid afternoon for Buffalo. The Bills seemed to make a concentrated effort to eradicate errors, both mental and physical, in this game. The short week of preparation showed early in the game, but Buffalo returned to their early-season dominance and left this game with little doubt as the fourth quarter concluded.

Buffalo moves to the top of the AFC East again, tied with Miami at 7-3. Buffalo returns to Ford Field to play Detroit in some classic NFL Thanksgiving action.

Story originally appeared on Bills Wire