Stats and Observations
Defense Comes Up Big .. Again
The Patriots offense played well, but not nearly as well as they did in the first four games of the season. Except for Sammy Morris. The castoff backup picked up 102 yards on 21 carries (4.85 average).
Despite Dan Dierdorf's assertion that the game was far from over in the third quarter, the outcome was never really in doubt after Seau's first interception. The Patriots defense was dominant as usual.
The Patriots forced four turnovers (3 interceptions, 1 fumble) and scored 21 points, including Randall Gay's 15-yard fumble return for touchdown in the final minute of the game.
Brady appeared "pedestrian" compared to the first four games of the season. He finished 22 of 38, completing just 57.9 percent of his passes, for 265 yards. But he continued his streak of 3-plus touchdowns per game to open a season, tying Steve Young's record of 5. With 16 touchdowns through five games, Brady is on pace to throw 54.4 touchdowns this season.
Despite an "off" day, Brady still had a passer rating of 105.7
The Browns shut down Randy Moss to the extend New England shut down Chad Johnson last week. Moss had just 3 receptions for 46 yards. Unlike Cincinnati, three other players had more receptions.
Ben Watson had 6 catches for 107 yards and 2 touchdowns. Donté Stallworth and Wes Welker each had 4 receptions. Stallworth gained 65 yards and scored a touchdown, and Welker had 19 yards. Brady connected with eight different receivers, looking more like the Brady of the last six seasons, finding the open receiver, no matter how far through the progressions he has to go through.
Eugene Wilson led the team with 6 solo tackles. Adalius Thomas and Vince Wilfork each had 5 solo tackles and an assist. Wilfork also had a sack.
Tedy Bruschi led in total tackles with 7 (4 solo) and 2 sacks. That puts him over 30 career sacks. Ellis Hobbs and Junior Seau added 4 solo tackles and 2 assists apiece, and Seau had 2 interceptions.
Stephen Gostkowski connected on two chip-shot field goals -- 20 yards and 25 yards.
Punter Chris Hanson punted six times after punting just five through the first four games. He averaged a sub-par 30.7 yards per punt, several floating out of bounds, apparently unintentionally.
After a poor third quarter, New England regained the edge in time of possession, 32:27 to 27:33.
New England had 23 first downs, and Cleveland was right with them at 22.
New England ran the ball 32 times and threw it 38. Twelves first downs came by passing, 10 by rushing, 1 by penalty. Cleveland ran the ball just 21 times and threw it 43 times. The Browns gained 14 first downs through the air, just 7 passing and 1 by penalty.
Both offenses were terrible attempting to convert third downs. Cleveland was just 3 of 11 (27 percent), and New England was worse -- 2 of 12 (16 percent).