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6 winners and 2 losers from the Patriots’ 38-15 victory over the Browns

Related: Instant analysis from Patriots’ 38-15 win over Browns

The New England Patriots (3-3) topped the Cleveland Browns (2-4) with a final score of 38-15 on Sunday to start their first winning streak of the season. While it was another impressive victory for the Patriots, here’s who stood out for better, and for worse, in Cleveland.

Winner: QB Bailey Zappe. The Fever™️ lives on. It was a strong showing from Zappe, who continues to be extremely efficient with the football in the short and intermediate areas of the field while generating big plays off of play-action. Zappe’s best pass of the day came early in the fourth quarter where he stepped up and avoided the rush in the pocket while waiting for Tyquan Thornton to clear a zone dropper across the middle of the field. He then hit Thornton for a 21-yard gain.

While the version of the offense New England is currently running may be limited, it’s hard to nitpick the way Zappe has executed it the past two weeks. In total on Sunday, Zappe went 24-of-34, 309 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions en route to his second straight victory.

Winner: WR Tyquan Thornton. Speaking of Thornton, the rookie saw increased playing time on Sunday with Nelson Agholor (hamstring) out and Kendrick Bourne (toe) sidelined. Thornton took advantage of the time, hauling in his first career touchdown and also breaking a 19-yard jet sweep for a second score. His speed and elusiveness is evident — highlighted by his first touchdown — and defenses must take notice.

On Hunter Henry’s touchdown, it was Thornton who occupied the deep safety clearing the path for Henry. It was a promising sight for New England’s rookie to impact the game in several areas.

Loser: OT Isaiah Wynn. Wynn continued to struggle on the mental side on Sunday, as he was flagged for a false start penalty early in the game. He then got beat by Myles Garrett, who is one of the premiere pass rushers in football, resulting in a strip sack. Wynn’s footwork continues to look shaky on the right side in pass protection, and he again lost time to Marcus Cannon after the strip sack.

Winner: Matthew Judon and the run defense. The Patriots run defense held Nick Chubb to just 57 yards on 12 carries. In total, Cleveland gained 70 yards on 18 attempts. All are season-lows. New England was able to take away what the Browns did best even without Lawerence Guy and Christian Barmore, who departed early with a knee injury.

Judon gets the spotlight even without recording a sack, as he did the dirty work in the run game setting hard edges and recording a tackle for loss. He was also one of three New England defenders with four or more quarterback pressures.

Winner: DE Deatrich Wise Jr. Wise Jr. was one of those defenders with four or more pressures as he also recorded his fifth sack of the season, tying his previous career high in just six games. Wise also drew a holding penalty and had a pass deflection. He continues to produce while playing a high percentage of snaps.

Loser: Team discipline. We mentioned Wynn’s penalty above, but it was a sloppy afternoon for the Patriots in the penalty department. Beyond Wynn, Trent Brown was tabbed for a false start and holding as part of nine offensive penalties. In total, New England was penalized 12 times which is the first time they've been assessed double-digit penalties in a game since 2018.

Winner: TEs Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. A two-play snapshot in the third quarter set the stage on how the Patriots need to use their tight end duo. First, Zappe found Jonnu Smith up the seam off play-action, which Smith took 53 yards showcasing his plus catch and run skills. Two plays later, Zappe found Hunter Henry down inside 5 five-yard line to set up an eventual touchdown.

It was a performance that many have expected since signing the duo to big money contracts last offseason. After totaling just 153 yards and zero touchdowns in the first five games of the season, the two combined for 122 yards and a score against Cleveland. Hopefully that’s a step in the right direction.

Honorable mentions: It wouldn't be right to not highlight the 2022 rookie class in this one. While we touched on Zappe and Thornton, almost the entire draft class got involved. Cole Strange started as usual; both rookie Joneses recorded pass deflections; Kevin Harris and Pierre Strong Jr. recorded their first career carries; even Sam Roberts got some run when Barmore departed. As for the cherry on top, UDFA Brenden Schooler recovered a muffed punt to help put the game out of reach.

DeVante Parker had an overall productive day, leading the team in receiving yards. Parker hauled in an impressive 50-50 jump ball down the left sideline on New England’s first drive to put them in scoring position.

Defensively, Kyle Dugger had another impressive outing leading the team with eight tackles and two pass deflection, one being an interception. Jalen Mills also recorded an interception. Anfernee Jennings was the third Patriot defender with four or more quarterback pressures. Jennings was credited for three QB hits and split a sack with Mack Wilson Sr.

In a negative, New England’s health took a hit on Sunday. Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne left early with a toe injury and never returned. He was spotted leaving the stadium in a walking boot. Christian Barmore was ruled out with a knee injury despite returning to the sideline after halftime. And specialist Cody Davis was quickly ruled out after suffering a knee injury.