The New England Patriots will travel to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The two teams have met 26 times through the years, with the series being evenly split at 13-13.
Let’s take a look back on some important games between the two franchises:
First Meeting: These two franchises first went. up against one another on Nov. 21, 1971, in a game that saw the Browns trounce the Patriots 27-7. Jim Plunkett got the start for New England and threw just one touchdown pass compared to four interceptions. Tom Beer reeled in the Patriots’ lone score.
Billy Nelson led Cleveland to a win as he tossed two touchdown passes and no interceptions. Frank Pitts — the grandfather of future Patriots running back Brandon Bolden — caught one of the touchdowns,and Leroy Kelly had a rushing and receiving score with 134 scrimmage yards. Dan Cockroft also delivered two field goals and three extra points.
Most Recent Matchup/Most Lopsided Game: The most recent game between these two teams also ended up being the most lopsided as the Patriots defeated Cleveland 45-7 on Nov. 14, 2021.
Then-rookie quarterback Mac Jones went 19-for-23 with three passing touchdowns and Brian Hoyer even got in on the fun and tossed a touchdown of his own. Hunter Henry caught two scores from Jones and Kendrick Bourne notched an athletic TD grab as well. Jakobi Meyers was the recipient of the Hoyer TD pass, the first touchdown of the wide receiver’s career. Rhamondre Stevenson had 20 carries for 100 yards and two scores of his own.
The Browns actually scored first in the game but that was it for the Cleveland offense. Baker Mayfield tossed one touchdown and one interception. Austin Hooper reeled in the touchdown pass and that was the end of the scoring day in what was a miserable day for the Browns.
Playoff History: The Patriots and Browns have matched up in the playoffs just one time, back in the AFC Wild Card game on Jan. 1, 1995. It was a home game for Cleveland and its head coach, a certain Bill Belichick, and they won 20-13 — their last playoff win for the next 26 years.
Drew Bledsoe had 50 passing attempts for the Bill Parcells-led Patriots, tossing just one touchdown and three interceptions. Leroy Thompson had four catches for 33 yards and the score for New England. Kicker Matt Bahr accounted for the other seven points with two field goals and an extra point.
The Browns’ starter was Vinny Testaverde, and he played a clean game as he had a touchdown pass with no interceptions. Mark Carrier reeled in the five-yard score and running back Leroy Hoard had the other touchdown on a ten-yard rush. Matt Stover nailed two field goals and two extra points to get Cleveland to 20.
Most Memorable Matchup: The most memorable matchup between these two came on Oct. 9, 2016. This game was the start of the Tom Brady revenge tour after the NFL suspended him four games for the incident known as Deflategate. New England won this game 33-13 in Cleveland.
In his return, Brady was out to prove a point as he threw for 406 yards with three touchdowns and zero interception. His favorite red zone target in this one was Martellus Bennett, who had six catches for 67 yards and three touchdowns. LeGarrette Blount tacked on 37 rushing yards and a score.
The Patriots defense also forced a safety in this game. Patrick Chung had an interception off of Charlie Whitehurst and Malcom Brown had a pair of sacks. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski also tacked on a 31-yard field goal and four extra points.
Cleveland’s offense was ugly in this one as they used two quarterbacks who each tossed touchdown. Cody Kessler found Andrew Hawkins for an 11-yard touchdown. Whitehurst came in and threw for 182 yards to go along with a touchdown and the interception. Connor Hamlett was on the receiving end of a 17-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter from the backup quarterback.