CLEVELAND — Brandon Weeden, the deposed starting quarterback, threw a touchdown pass and safety T.J. Ward returned an interception 44 yards for a clinching touchdown as the Browns beat the Bills 37-24 Thursday.
Cleveland has won three in a row since an 0-2 start and the trade of starting running back Trent Richardson, and it leads the AFC North by a half-game. It's the Browns' best record after five games since 3-2 in 2001.
"We don't care about history," receiver Josh Gordon said. "This is a new year, and this is a new team."
With the Browns down 24-17 in the third quarter, Weeden found Gordon down the sideline, and Gordon made a juggling catch for 37-yard touchdown.
It was Weeden's first touchdown since Week 1. He missed two games with a sprained thumb. He returned after Brian Hoyer, 2-0 as the starter, hurt his right knee in the first quarter. Hoyer was sliding after scrambling when he was hit from the side by linebacker Kiko Alonso. His status had not been determined.
At 24-24 late in the third, the Browns took over at the Bills' 32-yard line after a short punt out of the end zone. Weeden, 13-of-24 for 197 yards, led a 10-play, 26-yard drive capped by Billy Cundiff's 24-yard field goal 2:29 into the fourth.
"You can only control what you can control," Weeden said. "I'm just sticking my neck on the line for this team. I prepared like I was starting, but it was tough with zero reps the last two weeks. I was a little rusty to start."
Buffalo lost its quarterback, rookie EJ Manuel, with 8:02 left in the third. Scrambling, the ex-Florida State star tried to gain extra yards by not going out of bounds but took a helmet to his right knee from safety Gibson Tashaun. His status had not been determined.
Jeff Tuel, an undrafted rookie, replaced Manuel. Two plays later, pass interference in the end zone gave the Bills the ball at the 1. A Fred Jackson run gave Buffalo a 24-17 lead. But the Bills recorded only four first downs from there (two after the Ward interception), and Tuel finished 8-of-20 for 80 yards.
Colts: Safety and special teams standout Joe Lefeged was waived. He was arrested in June after police said they found a pistol in the car in which he was riding. Team officials weren't available for comment.
Falcons: Left tackle Sam Baker (knee) and linebacker Akeem Dent (ankle) will sit out Monday.
Giants: Guard David Diehl will start after missing the first four games due to preseason surgery on his right thumb.
Jets: Defensive linemen Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples were fined $15,785 and $7,875, respectively, for hits that left Titans quarterback Jake Locker with a sprained right hip and knee.
Packers: Linebacker Clay Matthews, who hurt a hamstring Sept. 22 against the Bengals, returned to practice and expects to play Sunday.
Panthers: Defensive end Greg Hardy missed his second straight practice with an undisclosed illness. Coach Ron Rivera said he expects Hardy will return today and play Sunday.
Patriots: Receiver Austin Collie, who has had three concussions since November 2010, signed. He spent 2009-12 with the Colts and was released by the 49ers during this year's camp. Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork went on season-ending injured reserve with a torn right Achilles sustained Sunday against the Falcons.
Raiders: Starting center Stefen Wisniewski missed his second straight practice with a sprained right knee.