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NFL Playoffs League - FFL: Week 1 | NFL: Week 15

Browns hold off Bills 19-16 to end 4-game slide

Sun Nov 10 4:41pm ET
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer

Players: Steven Hauschka, Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Kareem Hunt, Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Austin Seibert, Josh Allen, Antonio Callaway

Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward (21) and teammates celebrate after they defeated the Buffalo Bills in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield celebrates after the Browns defeated the Buffalo Bills 19-16 in an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns tight end Demetrius Harris (88) congratulates wide receiver Rashard Higgins (81) after Higgins scored a 7-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, top, is tackled by Buffalo Bills cornerback Taron Johnson during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens, left, talks with quarterback Baker Mayfield during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (57) breaks up a pass intended for Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) rushes against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) scores a 10-yard touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens watches the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) cannot hold onto pass under pressure from Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


CLEVELAND (AP) Baker Mayfield threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Rashard Higgins with 1:44 left as the Cleveland Browns snapped a four-game losing streak - and took some pressure off first-year coach Freddie Kitchens - with a 19-16 win on Sunday over the Buffalo Bills.

The Browns (3-6) rallied for a win that kept their season from completely collapsing.

Cleveland survived more problems in the red zone, but sealed the much-needed win when Buffalo kicker Stephen Hauschka's 53-yard field-goal attempt was short with 22 seconds left. Earlier, Hauschka missed a 34-yarder.

Quarterback Josh Allen had two touchdown runs for the Bills (6-3), who were off to their best start since 1993.

Mayfield finally delivered a clutch drive after Allen's 1-yard sneak put the Bills ahead 16-12.

On second-and-goal, he threaded his TD pass to an open Higgins, who had been suspiciously missing from Cleveland's game plan this season after being one of Mayfield's favorite targets last season. It was Higgins' only catch.

Mayfield had his second straight solid game, completing 26 of 38 passes for 238 yards and two TDs. He didn't throw an interception for the second week in a row.

However, Cleveland struggled again to complete drives as the Bills stopped them on 12 plays inside the 3-yard line, holding Cleveland to three points.

Browns running back Kareem Hunt made his debut for Cleveland and picked up 74 combined yards. The 24-year-old was eligible after completing an eight-game NFL suspension for two violent acts, including shoving and kicking a woman while he played for Kansas City.

Nick Chubb rushed for 116 yards on 20 carries for the Browns, and Jarvis Landry had nine catches for 97 yards and made a crucial catch on Cleveland's game-winning drive.

The Bills' defense tied it 9-9 early in the third as linebacker Tremaine Edmunds sacked Mayfield in the end zone for a safety. The Browns were in an empty backfield and didn't account for blocking Edmunds, who came in untouched off the left side and quickly wrapped up Mayfield.

Buffalo's defense stopped the Browns on eight straight plays at the 1 - the equivalent of two goal-line stands - in the first quarter. The Bills stuffed Chubb on five carries, and Buffalo overcame a pair of pass interference calls in the end zone while keeping the Browns out of the end zone and off the scoreboard.

Allen's 10-yard quarterback draw - his fifth rushing TD this season - gave the Bills a 7-6 lead in the second quarter.

The Browns again got deep in Buffalo territory but were denied on three plays from the 3-yard-line. Kitchens decide to go for it on fourth down, but then changed his mind when right tackle Chris Hubbard was called for a false start.

The penalty pushed Cleveland back and the Browns settled for Austin Seibert's 27-yard field goal to go up 9-7.

Mayfield delivered a back-shoulder strike to Landry for his first TD, completing an effortless, efficient game-opening 75-yard drive for the Browns, who finally had all their offensive pieces with Hunt back.

Landry, though, was called for taunting cornerback Levi Wallace after the score and Austin Seibert missed a 48-yard PAT.

CALLAWAY BENCHED

The Browns sat No. 3 wide receiver Antonio Callaway, who had played in all four games since returning from a four-game drug suspension to start the season. Callaway had a big drop in his first game back and hasn't been as consistent as the Browns had hoped.

Callaway's absence cleared the way for Higgins, who made his one catch count.

UP NEXT

Bills: At Miami on Sunday.

Browns: Host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday.

Player Notes
Matt Breida Dec 12 5:20pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida ran well in his return from injury in Week 14 (9.0 YPC) but played just 12 snaps. With Raheem Mostert taking charge of the backfield, Breida and Tevin Coleman will battle for touches, rendering both risky flex options. Averaging a healthy 5.2 yards per tote this year, Breida has outplayed Coleman, giving him the slight edge in change-of-pace duties against a beatable Falcons rush defense. However, Breida has been a nonfactor in the red zone and his uncertain opportunity share makes him a relatively low-ceiling play.

From RotoBaller

David Njoku Dec 12 5:00pm ET

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (knee) was a full participant in practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. Njoku returned in Week 14 from Injured Reserve and posted just one catch for four yards in the win over the Bengals. The 23-year-old has plenty of upside, but fantasy owners will be worried that he'll have his snaps limited for the second straight game. The Cardinals Defense is the worst team at defending the position, though, so Njoku will have boom-or-bust appeal as a TE2 this Sunday.

From RotoBaller

George Kittle Dec 12 5:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle cemented his status as a gridiron beast in Week 14 by securing the Niners victory with a highlight-reel catch-and rumble. Hell return to his premium TE1 status in Week 15 against the Atlanta Falcons. Despite missing two games with a broken ankle, Kittle has heated up in the second half, amassing 292 yards and three touchdowns since Week 10. The Niners draw a cushy matchup against a Falcons Defense ranked 26th in pass DVOA, setting up Kittle favorably for an encore performance. In a critical fantasy weekend, Kittle managers should feel confident having the All-Pro on their roster.

From RotoBaller

Nelson Agholor Dec 12 4:53pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles WR Nelson Agholor (knee), DE Derek Barnett (ankle) and OT Lane Johnson (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 12. RB Jordan Howard (shoulder) and CB Jalen Mills (elbow) were limited. LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (concussion) practiced in full.

From TheHuddle

Adam Humphries Dec 12 4:53pm ET

Tennessee Titans WR Adam Humphries (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 12.

Fantasy Spin: It appears like Humphries will miss another game because of the injury, so he should be avoided in all fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Kendrick Bourne Dec 12 4:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne has emerged lately as a red zone threat. The third-year pro has collected five spikes in his last six games, operating as the teams primary third receiver. With Marquise Goodwin (foot, knee) on injured reserve, Bournes 50 percent snap share should remain steady in Week 15 against the Atlanta Falcons, even with sophomore disappointment Dante Pettis (knee) back in the mix. While his touchdown prowess is tough to ignore, Bourne hasnt eclipsed four catches or 45 yards during his scoring run, rendering him a volatile WR5.

From RotoBaller

JuJu Smith-Schuster Dec 12 4:50pm ET

Updating a previous report, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee), who was limited in practice on Thursday, is still expected to play in Week 15 against the Bills on Sunday night, barring any future setbacks. Smith-Schuster practiced in full on Wednesday, so the limited practice was initially seen as a troubling setback. He's been out since Nov. 14, though, and is more of a weak WR4 choice for fantasy owners with Devlin Hodges throwing him passes in an extremely tough matchup. Avoiding all Pittsburgh pass-catchers is probably the best strategy in the fantasy playoffs. James Washington's upside takes the biggest hit with Smith-Schuster expected back.

From RotoBaller

Jurrell Casey Dec 12 4:43pm ET

Tennessee Titans LB Daren Bates (shoulder), RB Derrick Henry (hamstring), WR Adam Humphries (ankle) and CB Adoree' Jackson (foot) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 12. DT Jurrell Casey (knee) was limited. C Ben Jones (thumb), CB LeShaun Sims (ankle) and S Kenny Vaccaro (concussion) practiced in full.

From TheHuddle

Jameis Winston Dec 12 4:43pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (hamstring) and OT Donovan Smith (ankle, knee) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 12. LB Anthony Nelson (hamstring), LB Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) and QB Jameis Winston (thumb, knee) were limited. OG Alex Cappa (elbow), OT Demar Dotson (non-injury), WR Scott Miller (hamstring) and DL Beau Allen (ankle) practiced in full.

From TheHuddle

T Y Hilton Dec 12 4:43pm ET

Updating a previous report, Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) was officially limited during practice Thursday, Dec. 12.

Fantasy Spin: Hilton appears to have a chance to play in Week 15 but will be a risky option since the Colts play on Monday Night Football. Fantasy players should monitor the situation over the next few days to have a better idea of Hilton's status.

From TheHuddle

Derrick Henry Dec 12 4:43pm ET

Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 12.

Fantasy Spin: Henry is optimistic about his availability for Week 15, but fantasy players will need to keep an eye on the situation. He is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues if he is active for the game.

From TheHuddle

Scott Miller Dec 12 4:40pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Scott Miller (hamstring) got in a full practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. He looks to be on track to return for Week 15 in a mouthwatering matchup against the Lions. There is increased opportunity to produce as well with Mike Evans shut down for the rest of the year. Miller has only 10 catches on the year for 151 yards and no touchdowns, so he'd still be a lottery ticket for desperate fantasy owners in redraft leagues. Behind Chris Godwin, it will be Miller, Breshad Perriman and Justin Watson fighting for targets from quarterback Jameis Winston.

From RotoBaller

Matthew Stafford Dec 12 4:33pm ET

Detroit Lions OG Joe Dahl (back, knee), LB Jarrad Davis (ankle, knee), DT Damon Harrison (calf, knee, shoulder, rest), DT A'Shawn Robinson (shoulder), RB Bo Scarbrough (ribs), QB Matthew Stafford (hip, back) and OT Ricky Wagner (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 12. DE Austin Bryant (hip), LB Christian Jones (shoulder) and P Sam Martin (abdomen) were limited. CBs Jamal Agnew (ankle) and CB Rashaan Melvin (ribs) practiced in full.

From TheHuddle

Ryan Fitzpatrick Dec 12 4:33pm ET

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (shoulder) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 12.

Fantasy Spin: Fitzpatrick was held without a touchdown pass last week but did post five touchdowns in the previous two games. He should have a favorable matchup this week but may only be a starting option in two-quarterback leagues.

From TheHuddle

Allen Hurns Dec 12 4:33pm ET

Miami Dolphins WR Allen Hurns (ankle, knee) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 12.

Fantasy Spin: Hurns appears to be on track to play in the Week 15 game and could serve as the top receiver if DeVante Parker is ruled out. He has a chance to be at least a flex option in deeper leagues if he plays.

From TheHuddle

Adrian Peterson Dec 12 4:33pm ET

Washington Redskins CB Quinton Dunbar (hamstring), LB Ryan Kerrigan (calf), OT Donald Penn (knee, back), WR Trey Quinn (concussion), RB Adrian Peterson (toe) and CB Josh Norman (illness) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 12. LB Ryan Anderson (shoulder), CB Fabian Moreau (hamstring), WR Paul Richardson (hamstring) and OG Brandon Scherff (elbow, shoulder) were limited. OT Morgan Moses (toe), QB Dwayne Haskins (ankle) and LB Cole Holcomb (thumb) practiced in full.

From TheHuddle

Bo Scarbrough Dec 12 4:30pm ET

Detroit Lions running back Bo Scarbrough (ribs) was downgraded to out of practice on Thursday after getting in a limited session on Wednesday. It puts Scarbrough in danger of missing Week 15 against the Buccaneers, especially if he misses another practice on Friday. Even if Scarbrough plays, he'll be more of a low-upside RB3/flex in a tough matchup with a surprisingly good Buccaneers run defense this year. Rookie Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic would split the workload in the backfield if Scarbrough is inactive this Sunday. Detroit's offense under third-string quarterback David Blough is limping to the finish line.

From RotoBaller

Bo Scarbrough Dec 12 4:23pm ET

Detroit Lions RB Bo Scarbrough (ribs) did not take part in practice Thursday, Dec. 12.

Fantasy Spin: Scarbrough has been a steady if not unspectacular fantasy option since taking over the lead job in Week 11. If he cannot go in Week 15 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Lions would likely split work between Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic. If he misses more than one week, Kerryon Johnson (knee) could return from IR and take back the starting job in Week 16.

From TheHuddle

Adam Humphries Dec 12 4:20pm ET

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Adam Humphries (ankle) remained out of practice for the second straight day on Thursday. Humphries looks destined to miss his second straight game unless he can get in at least a limited practice on Friday. In this run-first offense, Humphries hasn't been fantasy relevant all year. Rookie A.J. Brown is your best bet as an upside WR2 in Week 15 against the Texans suspect secondary, while Corey Davis should remain the No. 2 option. Even if Humphries plays, you should leave him to the waiver wire in redraft leagues.

From RotoBaller

Devonta Freeman Dec 12 4:20pm ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (knee) returned to a limited practice on Thursday after being held out on Wednesday. The Falcons were likely just managing his repetitions on Wednesday. Expect Freeman to be taken off the injury report on Friday and to play in Week 15 against the 49ers. He had one of his best games of the season last Sunday against the Panthers and scored his first rushing touchdown of the year. That's all well and good, but you should fully expect a letdown in Week 15 against one of the best all-around defenses in the league on the road. Freeman is a low-end RB2 for the second round of the fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller