Patriots stay perfect after wet win over Browns, eye Ravens next
The New England Patriots outlasted the Cleveland Browns by a final score of 27-13 on a cold, wet, rainy day at Gillette Stadium.
All week long, the New England Patriots attempted to downplay the impact that the weather might have on their game against the Cleveland Browns.
As it turns out, maybe more people should have listened to them.
Tom Brady – who has spent his entire career playing for a team that regularly hosts games in inclement weather during the fall and winter months – looked absolutely unfazed by the steady rainfall that covered the field in Foxborough for most of the game on Sunday. He ended up throwing for 259 yards and two touchdowns without a pick in the conditions, finishing with a quarterback rating of 96.9.
In beating the Browns by a final margin of 27-13, the Patriots gave Bill Belichick his 300th career win as a head coach (including postseason victories).
Belichick praised the effort put out by his team during his postgame presser, according to CLNS Media’s Alex Barth. While the Browns had essentially two weeks to prepare for this game because of their bye in Week 7, the Patriots had just five days after playing the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.
Based off what happened in the first quarter alone, it would have seemed to most viewers like the Browns were the ones on the short week, and the Pats were the ones with the extra time off to prepare. Cleveland turned the ball over to New England on three straight successive snaps – twice on fumbles by Nick Chubb and once on an interception thrown by Baker Mayfield.
New England was able to capitalize off the takeaways and cash in for 14 points, which ended up ultimately being the difference in this contest.
The turnovers wasted what otherwise would have been strong stat-lines for several Browns skill position players. Chubb turned his 20 carries into 131 yards rushing, averaging 6.6 yards per tote… easily the most yardage this Pats run D has allowed on the season. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry combined for 117 yards receiving and made some tough catches down the stretch. Mayfield completed almost 65% of his passes and showed plenty of zip on some impressive downfield throws.
And yet none of it was enough to help Cleveland overcome its horrendous start.
The Patriots defense didn’t look quite as immortal and unbreakable today as they had so far this season, but they still held a talented Browns squad to just 10 total points. For good measure, they also scored another defensive touchdown on a Dont’a Hightower 26-yard scoop-and-score.
For New England, the star of the day offensively was undoubtedly Julian Edelman.
Questionable to play this week while still recovering from a chest injury suffered over a month ago, he led all Pats pass-catchers with eight receptions for 78 yards on 11 targets. He was also responsible for New England’s only offensive touchdowns: a pair of red zone catches from Brady (eight yards and 14 yards), the former in the first quarter and the latter in the third.
Newly-acquired receiver Mohamed Sanu had a modest debut for the defending champs, catching two balls for 23 yards on five targets. Sanu was traded from the Atlanta Falcons to the Patriots on Tuesday of this week for a second-round draft pick.
The Browns, now 2-5 on the year, head into a significantly easier stretch of their schedule. Even with the loss, they should contend for a playoff spot in the relatively wide-open AFC postseason picture.
The Patriots, undefeated at 8-0, have one more team on their schedule before their bye week… and that team’s a doozy. The Ravens – who lead the AFC North with a 5-2 record – await the Pats in Baltimore on Sunday Night Football one week from today.
Baltimore is idle this week on their bye, meaning the Patriots will soon have to beat a team on two weeks’ worth of rest and preparation for the second straight instance this season… and this time, they’ll have to do it on the road in a hostile environment.