ORCHARD?PARK?- It wasn't as bad as last year's 6-3 sorry excuse for a National Football League game which the Cleveland Browns won at Ralph Wilson Stadium, but it was darn close as far as entertainment value is concerned.
"That was, to me, one of those good old fashion slug fests, where both teams are duking it out for 60 minutes on the field," Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey said.
The Buffalo Bills' make-shift offensive line did just enough to make the running game effective.
Usual guard Eric Wood moved to center to replace injured Geoff Hangartner, giving Cordaro Howard the start at right guard.
Anyone hoping to see Fred Jackson or C.J. Spiller break off big runs was sorely disappointed. Though Jackson rushed for 112 yards, they were 112 very tough yards as he worked for every inch. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry.
"They did a great job opening up holes for me, considering it was a little bit of a shuffle up there," Jackson said.
Even the coaching decisions made you scratch your head.
With 7:58 left in the fourth quarter and the Bills ahead, 10-6, the Bills had 4th and goal at the 1-yard line. Had the Bills gone for it and scored, it would have been a two-possession game. Had they missed it, Cleveland would have to drive 99 yards to score something that would seem impossible the way their offense struggled in the second half. Instead, the Bills kicked the field goal and took a seven-point lead. It did not come back to haunt the Bills, but if it had, just imagine the criticism Gailey would have taken.
Afterwards, Gailey tried to defend his reasoning for kicking the field goal.
"You can't let a fluke play beat you," he continued. "Somebody falls down and (their) guy goes 70 (yards). You try not to let fluke play beat you in that situation. Guys have fought so hard. Our defense had been playing good. If you go for it and make it, everyone is happy. But if you don't make it and (they get) that one fluke play, you're behind."
For Cleveland, quarterback Jake Delhomme was anything but entertaining. However, he did surpass Derek Anderson's performance from last season when he was 2-for-17 passing. Delhomme was 12-for-20 with 86 yards passing, including an ugly interception late in the game to help seal the victory for the Bills.
Cleveland's Peyton Hillis was a bright spot in some sorts as he rushed for 108 yards to surpass the 1,000-yard mark. However, his accomplishment was overshadowed by his three fumbles.
"The key thing is protecting the football," Browns coach Eric Mangini said. "He wasn't able to and he put it on the ground. It's self-inflicted wounds, which when you come out and the short side, it's a big part of why."
Not to mention there were seven fumbles in total.
It was even tough to look into the stands and see more than 20,000 empty seats.
Even a Bills victory is painful to watch this year.
Notes: Before the game, the Fredonia Hillbillies were recognized on the field for advancing to the State Final Four. During halftime, Fredonia's Shane Smith was honored for being selected to the All Western New York high school football defensive team as a linebacker.