The New England Patriots defeated the Cleveland Browns 38-15 on Sunday to improve to 3-3 on the season.
With Mac Jones still sidelined, Bailey Zappe continued to impress under center tossing over 300 yards and two touchdowns. Zappe was just one of New England’s rookies to impress, as Tyquan Thornton recorded his first two career touchdowns and both rookie Jones’ made plays in the secondary.
Here’s everything that happened on Sunday in Cleveland.
Final Score: Patriots (3-3) 38 : 15 Browns (2-4)
October 16, 1 p.m. ET | FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH | Broadcast Information | Inactives
The Patriots won the coin toss and deferred, putting the ball in Jacoby Brissett’s hands to start the afternoon. On a second-down, Brissett tried to push the ball downfield off play-action but was intercepted by Kyle Dugger.
Starting at the New England 36-yard line after the turnover, Zappe found Kendrick Bourne on a third-and-seven for 17 yards to push the ball across midfield. On the following third-down, a Trent Brown false start pushed the Patriots into a third-and-nine situation, but Zappe connected with DeVante Parker on a jump ball down the left sideline for a 29-yard gain. Another third-down penalty by Isaiah Wynn pushed New England back yet again, but Jakobi Meyers drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone. From the one-yard line, the Browns stuffed Rhamondre Stevenson on back-to-back plays and Zappe’s third-down pass to Hunter Henry was negated due to a questionable illegal touching penalty. The Patriots had to settle for a Nick Folk 19-yard field goal to take the early lead. [Patriots 3 : 0 Browns]
Oh my DeVante @DeVanteParker11 | #ForeverNE— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 16, 2022
: #NEvsCLE on @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/oRLuBXAolP
Cleveland started their next drive in the hands of Nick Chubb who picked up 15 total yards on his first two carries. After a pass breakup from Adrian Phillips and run stuff from Carl Davis, Brissett found tight end David Njoku down the right sideline for 33 yards on third-down. New England’s defense then held up, holding the Browns to a 39-yard field goal. [Patriots 3 : 3 Browns]
Penalties continued to plague New England on their next drive. After starting with a 14-yard completion to DeVante Parker, an illegal block in the back and delay of game pushed New England backwards. On second-and-14, Myles Garrett beat Isaiah Wynn for a strip sack, which the Browns recovered.
Starting at the New England 38-yard line after the fumble, Brissett found Pharaoh Brown for an 11-yard completion. After a pair of Nick Chubb carries and a completion to Harrison Bryant, Brissett’s fourth-down quarterback sneak was stopped short by New England.
Following the Myles Garrett sack, Marcus Cannon was in at right tackle to begin New England’s next drive. The Patriots began with two touches for Stevenson, then Meyers drew another pass interference penalty on third-down for 18 yards. New England was not able to take advantage of the penalty, as a Tyquan Thornton reverse was blown up and Zappe fired two incompletions.
Injury Report: WR Kendrick Bourne (toe) is questionable to return.
Jacob Brissett picked up completions of 12 and 10 yards to Donovan Peoples-Jones and Pharaoh Brown on Cleveland’s following drive. On third-down, Brissett fired high of Amari Cooper who was guarded by rookie cornerback Marcus Jones.
Bailey Zappe then got to work firing completions of 12 and 20 yards to Hunter Henry and Jakobi Meyers respectively. After a short screen to Meyers, the receiver was then flagged for a false start marking New England’s seventh penalty of the first half. Facing a second-and-13, Zappe hit Parker on a quick slant which the receiver picked up 14 yards and a first-down. Two plays later, Tyquan Thornton gained 12 yards and another first down on a screen pass. Following a pair of incompletions, Rhamondre Stevenson broke off a 31-yard scamper for a touchdown. [Patriots 10 : 3 Browns]
Feed Rhamondre. @dreeday32— NFL (@NFL) October 16, 2022
: #NEvsCLE on CBS
: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/pjHIv4EAV8 pic.twitter.com/CostiklAHq
Injury Report: DL Christian Barmore (knee) is questionable to return.
With just over three minutes remaining in the half, Brissett found Amari Cooper on third-down to move the sticks. On the following third-down, Brissett looked towards Cooper again. While the pass fell incomplete, Jalen Mills was tabbed for a pass interference for a 21-yard penalty. The next play, Kareem Hunt recorded a nine-yard carry, but Cleveland could not pick up a first-down the following two plays. Cade York nailed his second field goal of the day to cut into New England’s lead. [Patriots 10 : 6 Browns]
Injury Report: DB Cody Davis (knee) is downgraded to out.
New England got the ball back with just 26 seconds remaining in the half. A five-yard carry by Stevenson ended the first half.
Injury Update: DL Christian Barmore (knee) is downgraded to out.
The Patriots offense got off to a fast start in the second half powered by the tight ends. Zappe found Jonnu Smith up the seam and Smith showcased his strong yards after catch skills taking it 53 yards. Two plays later, Zappe connected with Hunter Henry for 13 yards to set New England up inside the five-yard line. On third-down, Tyquan Thornton hauled in his first career touchdown after winning inside on a slant route. [Patriots 17 : 6 Browns]
Rookie to rookie. @baileyzappe04 hits @Humble_Ty19 to extend the @Patriots lead!— NFL (@NFL) October 16, 2022
: #NEvsCLE on CBS
: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/pjHIv4VDX8 pic.twitter.com/hux8K8FUrB
In Cleveland’s first drive of the second half, Brissett fired a strike on third-and-12 to Amari Cooper for 13 yards. That was all the progress Cleveland’s offense made, as Brissett’s next third-down pass downfield was broken up by Marcus Jones, who was in tight coverage on Anthony Schwartz.
New England went backwards to begin their next drive as Trent Brown was tabbed for his second penalty of the afternoon - this time a hold on Myles Garrett. The Patriots could not overcome being behind the sticks and were forced to punt back to Cleveland.
Under pressure on his first pass attempt, Brissett was hit by Ja’Whaun Bentley as he threw and his pass was short to Njoku and intercepted by Jalen Mills.
Setting up at Cleveland’s 40-yard line after the interception, New England was able to cash in just three plays later. Hunter Henry beat Grant Delpit at the line of scrimmage and Bailey Zappe found him for a 31-yard catch and run touchdown. [Patriots 24 : 6 Browns]
.@Hunter_Henry84 WIDE OPEN.— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 16, 2022
: #NEvsCLE on @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/9YesrwP1HC
The Browns offense continued to struggle, as Brissett fired two incompletions and then was sacked on third-down by Mack Wilson Sr. - who's facing his former team for the first time.
New England’s offense got nothing going on their next possession. Kevin Harris recorded his first career carry for one-yard before a seven-yard pass to Parker and one-yard loss on a completion to Stevenson on third-down.
After a 21-yard completion to David Njoku, Cleveland finally relied on Nick Chubb who broke off an 18-yard run followed by a 14-yard catch and run. Brissett then tossed two incompletions before Deatrich Wise got to the quarterback on third-down for his fifth sack of the season - tying his career-high. Cade York drilled a 51-yard field goal to cut New England’s lead to 15. [Patriots 24 : 9 Browns]
The Patriots got off to a hot start to begin the fourth quarter as Zappe connected with Meyers for 27 yards. After a pair of completions to Henry and Stevenson, Zappe showcased some impressive pocket moving before finding Tyquan Thornton for a 21-yard gain - which put the rookie QB over 300 yards passing on the day. New England was then forced to settle for a 45-yard field goal which Nick Folk pushed slightly wide right.
Still in a two possession game, Cleveland took over at their own 35-yard line with nine minutes remaining. However, the Browns went backwards on an offensive holding and sack by Davon Godchaux. Facing a fourth-and-two, Brissett unloaded one downfield to Peoples-Jones for a 37-yard completion. Down inside the red area, Cleveland faced another fourth-down situation and again converted. Brissett lofted a perfect pass into the end zone for Amari Cooper who made an impressive snag for a score. Down nine, Cleveland went for two but was not able to convert. [Patriots 24 : 15 Browns]
The Browns went to the onside kick with just over six minutes remaining and were able to recover. However after review, it was deemed as an illegal touching which gave the Patriots the ball. Starting at Cleveland’s 47-yard line, Stevenson recorded a three yard carry before Myles Garrett sacked Bailey Zappe for an eight yard loss. After a six-yard loss on third down, Chester Rogers muffed a punt which Brendan Schooler recovered. The very next play Tyquan Thornton took home a 19-yard jet sweep for a score. [Patriots 31 : 15 Browns]
Two touchdown Tyquan.@Humble_Ty19 | #ForeverNE— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 16, 2022
: #NEvsCLE on @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/PYiThMbgW4
Back with the ball, things continued to go south for the Browns. Brissett seemingly lost the ball which was picked up by Carl Davis and returned to the Cleveland eight-yard line.
Set up inside the 10-yard line, Rhamondre Stevenson found pay dirt for the second time today to extend New England’s lead. [Patriots 38 : 15 Browns]
Brissett found Michael Woods for a 15-yard gain to start their next drive and then connected with Peoples-Jones for 22 yards on fourth-down. After the two minute warning, Brissett’s fourth-down pass bounced off the hands Schwartz for a turnover on downs.
New England kneeled out the remaining clock. [Patriots 38 : 15 Browns]