The New England Patriots took a 23-7 lead out of the half and expanded it to 30-7 with a touchdown to TE Martellus Bennett on the opening drive, before spending the rest of the game just wearing down the clock.
The Browns scored a touchdown at the start of the 4th quarter and failed to convert the 2-point conversion to close the lead to 30-13. The Patriots were playing fairly soft zone coverage and the Browns picked up 55 yards on two passing plays.
The Patriots responded with a 6-minute drive that resulted in a field goal and a 33-13 lead, which was the final score.
Other than that, there wasn’t much to write about.
QB Tom Brady was outstanding, throwing for 406 yards and 3 touchdowns with a 70.0% completion rate for a passer rating of 127.7. He’s picked up where he left off last year and was eventually benched for Jimmy Garoppolo halfway through the 4th quarter.
TE Martellus Bennett picked up 67 yards and 3 touchdowns. TE Rob Gronkowski added 109 receiving yards as his training wheels came off. WR Chris Hogan posted 114 receiving yards. WR Julian Edelman only picked up 35 yards on 10 targets as he dropped a handful of catchable balls.
The Patriots problems in week 4 seem to be a thing of the past. The offense was explosive and productive. The defense limited Terrelle Pryor to 51 yards and held the Browns #1 ranked running backs to 23 yards on 17 carries.
It was a big day for the Patriots youngsters.
LB Elandon Roberts jumped over Jonathan Freeny in the depth chart and allowed LB Dont’a Hightower to enjoy some much-needed rest for much of the game. Sophomore DT MAlcom Brown had two sacks, while rookie DT Woodrow Hamilton looked great in his snaps in place of fellow rookie Vincent Valentine (back injury).
CB Cyrus Jones was ejected from the game after throwing a punch at a Browns receiver that dove at his legs away from the play. CB Jonathan Jones was asked to be the 3rd corner for the Patriots since Justin Coleman and Eric Rowe were inactive. Neither Jones played particularly well as they allowed the Browns two touchdown passes, although Jonathan had a nice break-up late in the fourth.
The young offensive line of rookie OG Joe Thuney, sophomores C David Andrews and RG Shaq Mason, and third-year RT Cameron Fleming did a fantastic job protecting the quarterback and opening up rushing lanes, alongside veteran LT Nate Solder.
Third-year RB James White earned 89 yards on 9 touches.
What more could you ask for?
The Patriots move on to 4-1 and will host the Bengals in week 6. We’re on to Cincinnati.