Ladies and gentleman, the New England Patriots seem to be for real.
One month ago they sat at 2-4, looking like they were bound to face another lost season while trying to bring their new core along. On Sunday, they won their fourth straight game and solidified themselves as a true playoff contender in the AFC. As Matthew Judon said, The Patriots were “better than their record.”
Facing a team who shared the same record, the Patriots outclassed the Cleveland Browns, running away with a 38-7 victory. New England’s defense allowed just seven points, and a 20% conversion rate on third and fourth down. The Patriots offense punted just once, scoring on 7 of their 9 offensive drives.
You can find all of the information you need from today’s game below!
Final Score: Patriots (6-4) 45 : 7 Browns (5-5)
November 14, 1:00p.m. ET | Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA | Broadcast information
Patriots Inactives: RB Damien Harris, WR Gunner Olszewski, CB Shaun Wade, LB Ronnie Perkins, TE Jonnu Smith, OT Yasir Durant, QB Jarrett Stidham
Browns Inactives: CB Greedy Williams, S Richard LeCounte III, LB Tony Fields II, DE Takkarist McKinley, WR Ja’Marcus Bradley, DT Sheldon Day
The Patriots are without a few starters on Sunday. Running back Damien Harris, tight end Jonnu Smith, and return specialist Gunner Olszewski are all inactive. Joining them are inactive list staples Shaun Wade, Ronnie Perkins, and Yasir Durant, as well as recently activated quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
Slotting into the lineup to replace those listed above are offensive tackle Trent Brown, running back J.J. Taylor, tight end Devin Asiasi, and running back Rhamondre Stevenson. Defensive lineman Tashawn Bower and tight end Matt Lacosse were also both elevated from the practice squad on Saturday.
The Patriots won the coin toss and deferred their chose to the second half. Baker Mayfield and the Browns offense start with the ball first.
Cleveland started with the ball at their own 16-yard line following a great special teams tackle from newcomer Calvin Munson. They started on the ground with D’Ernest Johnson, picking up five yards on first down. Austin Hooper picked up a first down on their next play, catching the ball and being stopped just past the sticks. Two plays later they returned to the ground with Johnson, who picked up three first downs over the next five plays, the third of which went for 19 yards and pushed the Browns into the red zone. On third-and-goal from the New England two yard line, Devin McCourty nearly intercepted Mayfield in the end zone but dropped it. That enticed Cleveland to go for it on fourth down, where Mayfield hit Hooper in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Johnson gained 58 yards on four carries on Cleveland’s first drive. [Patriots 0 : 7 Browns]
A Brandon Bolden return set the Patriots offense up with the ball at their own 17-yard line. New England opened up with an offensive line group of Isaiah Wynn-Ted Karras-David Andrews-Shaq Mason-Trent Brown. A negative Rhamondre Stevenson run, and short gain on a running back screen set the Patriots up with a 3rd-and-8 situation. Jones was able to find Hunter Henry for 12 yards and move the chains. After another pair of runs, New England was forced to contend with a 3rd-and-6, where Jones hit Jakobi Meyers for seven yards and a first down. A first down holding call on Shaq Mason put the Patriots behind the chains, a theme over the past couple of weeks. Luckily for New England, runs by Kendrick Bourne and Stevenson erased that penalty and pushed New England passed mid field with another first down. A pass to Nelson Agholor, and run by Rhamondre Stevenson picked up another pair of first downs and pushed New England into the red zone. On the next set of downs, Jones took a sack and set New England up with another 3rd-and-long. Cue the old running back screen, and Brandon Bolden was able to pick up yet another first down and bring the Patriots down to the 3-yard line. On 2nd-and-goal, Jones hit his favorite red zone target Hunter Henry for a game tying touchdown. [Patriots 7 : 7 Browns]
Jalen Mills returned to the game on the Browns’ following drive. After a three yard run on first down, the first quarter ended. A fast and furious start for both offenses.
The Patriots defense was able to force the Browns into a 3rd-and-7 situation, where Kyle Dugger intercepted Mayfield and returned it all the way down to the Cleveland 5-yard line. Rhamondre Stevenson crashed into the end zone on the next play. [Patriots 14 : 7 Browns]
A holding penalty on the kickoff set the Browns’ offense up at their own 12-yard line. They picked up a pair of quick first downs with passes to Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper. On their third set of downs they stalled, even with the benefit of a free play, as Mayfield was almost picked off by J.C. Jackson. They trotted out punter Jamie Gillan, who pinned the Patriots inside their own 1-yard line after a bad Jakobni Meyers decision not to field the punt.
Rhamondre Stevenson gave the Patriots some breathing room with a hard-fought five yard run. They kept it on the ground with their rookie, who picked up 22 yards on his next two carries. J.J. Taylor came on and picked up five yards over the next two plays, setting the Patriots up with another third down. They converted once again, with Kendrick Bourne picking up 11 yards on a laser from Jones. After taking a deep shot on first down, Taylor took a draw for a single yard to force the Patriots offense into another third-and-long. Would you believe me if I said they converted again? Well they did, this time with Jakobi Meyers beating Greg Newsome II for 26 yards. Two plays later, Mac Jones delivered another strike to Kendrick Bourne who went up and made a great 23-yard touchdown catch. An 11-play, 99-yard drive that goes for a touchdown had Mac Jones sitting at 90% passing with the Patriots offense a perfect 6/6 on third down. [Patriots 21 : 7 Browns]
With Nick Folk kicking off, the Browns were able to start their ensuing drive at the 33-yard line. Unfortunately for fans in Cleveland, they couldn’t do much with that field position, going three and out and punting. Kyle Van Noy forced a fumble on third down, but the Browns were able to recover.
Following a Jakobi Meyers fair catch, the Patriots offense started at their own 33-yard line with 3:48 left to play. Michael Onwenu came in for Trent Brown on the drive. Facing another third down early in the drive, Kendrick Bourne drew a pass interference penalty to convert for another first down. Rhamondre Stevenson picked up another 16 yards to push New England passed midfield, before Kendrick Bourne took his second rushing attempt for another first down. New England continued to pick up easy first downs until an Isaiah Wynn penalty pushed them back into a 1st-and-20, and eventually a 3rd-and-14. For the first time on the day, they couldn’t convert and settled for the field goal. Nick Folk was true from 38 yards out. [Patriots 24 : 7 Browns]
Jake Bailey came back on to kickoff, and his kick was returned to the Cleveland 23-yard line. Baker Mayfield dropped back to pass on first down and was strip sacked, with the ball eventually trickling out of bounds. That enticed the Browns to allow the clock to run out on the half. [HALFTIME - Patriots 24 : 7 Browns]
J.J. Taylor opened the second half with a kickoff return to the Patriots’ 27-yard line. Browns’ defensive back A.J. Green stayed down on the field after the play and eventually walked off the field. New England wasn’t able to make much out of their first second half drive, losing seven yards and eventually punting. Jake Bailey got a quality roll on his punt that totaled 66-yards and pushed the Browns inside their own 15-yard line.
Cleveland picked up a fast first down with back-to-back D’Ernest Johnson touches. On their second set of downs, Cleveland was contended with converting on 3rd-and-2. They were stuffed for negative yards, making them 0/5 on third down on the day. They punted back to New England.
Starting with the ball at their own 8-yard line, New England immediately attacked Cleveland through the air with Nelson Agholor picking up 10 yards and a first down. Two plays later, Hunter Henry made an excellent over the shoulder catch for 19 more yards.
Back to the running backs, Brandon Bolden nabbed 40 yards on back-to-back plays, moving the Patriots inside the red zone. A third Kendrick Bourne rush went for 17 more yards, before Stevenson capped off the drive with a two yard rushing touchdown. [Patriots 31 : 7 Browns]
Baker Mayfield and the Browns offense had no choice but to attack through the air down 24 points. That isn’t a recipe for success in Cleveland as it led to a second down sack and eventual 3rd-and-16 situation. They got lucky, as a Deatrich Wise Jr. roughing the passer penalty gifted them a first down. On the next set of downs, Mayfield took a shot from Matthew Judon and had trouble getting to his feet. He eventually went down and was attended to by the Browns medical staff before leaving the game. Case Keenum entered on 3rd-and-10 before immediately being sacked by Judon and Dont’a Hightower. The Patriots defense gets off the field. Cleveland had no choice but to go for it on fourth down, where Kyle Van Noy picked up a sack of his own and turned the ball over on downs at the Cleveland 47-yard line.
New England ended up in the red zone before you could blink. Two Cleveland penalties, a catch and run by Bourne, and short Stevenson run set them up nicely at the Browns’ 12-yard line before the fourth quarter arrived.
Rhamondre Stevenson plowed his way to the Browns’ two-yard line, on the first play of the fourth quarter. Over the next two plays he had a negative run and dropped pass that forced the Patriots into another third down situation. Of course they converted, with Jones hitting Henry for the second time on the day, and seventh time on the season. [Patriots 38 : 7 Browns]
Case Keenum stayed in the game for the Browns, ending Baker Mayfield’s day. He helped the Browns travel all the way into the red zone, even converting on a 4th-and-7 from midfield. The Browns relied on the short passing game to pick up the easy yards that New England was willing to surrender in garbage time. Once they let let the Browns get into the red zone, New England’s defense bowed their necks and stopped the Browns on 4th-and-goal, turning it over on downs.
Brian Hoyer got some more action at quarterback, coming in for Mac Jones with 8:15 remaining in the game, his third appearance of the season. N’Keal Harry also made an appearance, catching a 26-yard pass from Hoyer early in the drive. New England continued to throw the ball, picking up 48 more yards on a catch and run by Bourne. That set them up inside the red zone, where Jakobi Meyers would score his first NFL touchdown. It looked as though the entire team met him in the end zone to celebrate. Troy Hill was injured on the play, eventually being stretchered off the field. He did have movement in all of his extremities. [Patriots 45 : 7 Browns]
Taking over at their own 26-yard line, with just over 4:00 remaining, the Browns were content with running out the clock. Cleveland was finally able to convert their first third down to keep the drive alive, but didn’t do much more than that. New England’s defense forced one last punt.
New England’s offense took over at their 20-yard line, kneeling out the remainder of the clock. [FINAL - Patriots 45 : 7 Browns]