CLEVELAND - When Travis Benjamin gets loose, you better watch out.
“We’ve never really seen a guy that moves that fast that’s that little,” wide receiver Josh Gordon said about his teammate.
Benjamin showed his trademark speed in the second quarter when he fielded a punt, broke to the left sideline and then made guys miss all the way to the end zone for a 79-yard touchdown return.
"I knew once I got the ball that we had great special teams blocks and they were going to get the crease," Benjamin said.
The return before that, Benjamin came close to breaking one, streaking down the sideline again but stopped by Bills punter Shawn Powell.
"The first time I let him push me out of bounds, so I came back to the sidelines and I said I can’t let the punter tackle me again," Benjamin told the media in the locker room after the game. "The second time when I came back to him I just cut back inside and I knew he missed the tackle."
So how does his head coach describe Benjamin?
“Fabulous. He’s a real weapon back there and he showed it tonight,” Rob Chudzinski said. “He’s an electrifying player.”
Tight end Jordan Cameron went a step further, calling him the “fastest man alive.”
“It’s tough to stop him,” Cameron said. “I don’t know why they keep punting to him.”
That’s just what the Bills did, giving Benjamin the opportunity to put himself in the Browns record book. His 179 punt return yards eclipsed Eric Metcalf’s record 166-yard performance on Oct. 24, 1993 in Pittsburgh.
A season ago, Benjamin took another record from Metcalf, longest Browns punt return touchdown, when he went 93 yards to the house against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Benjamin’s returns, made possible by the defense continually getting the Bills’ offense off the field, set the Browns up for success.
“He’s a position builder for our offense and a pivotal guy for this team right now,” Gordon said.
There wasn’t far to go when Benjamin gave the offense starting field position at the Buffalo 31 in the first quarter and Buffalo 32 in the third. Weeden and the offense gained just 19 and 26 yards on those two drives but got three points from both.
Add his return touchdown and Benjamin played a very big hand in 13 of the Browns’ points Thursday night.
Their margin of victory over the Bills? 13 points.
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