Ups And Downs: Patriots Look Pretty Legit After A Dominating Win Over Browns
FOXBORO (CBS) -- We've wanted a convincing home win from the Patriots all season. We finally got a convincing home win from the Patriots in Week 10.
The Browns actually led 7-0 at one point, but then New England dominated the rest of their Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, drubbing the Browns to the tune of 45-7. The Pats have now won four straight to improve to 6-4 on the season, picking up their second home win in the process.
Are these Patriots for real? Because right now they look pretty real.
Both the Patriots and the Browns came into Sunday's game at 5-4, but New England absolutely outclassed Cleveland in every facet of the game. The Patriots ran the ball with authority despite not having top running back Damien Harris. Mac Jones completed just about every pass that he put in the air. The New England defense was terrifying for much of the game and, outside of Cleveland's first drive, the unit was nearly perfect.
The Patriots look very real over these last four weeks, and at the moment, look like they could be a very scary opponent come the playoffs. The offense is hitting its stride, and the defense is absolutely pulverizing the opposition. It's starting to feel like the sky is the limit in Foxboro.
We won't be highlighting very many "Downs" in this space, because there really weren't many of them throughout Sunday's win.
Mac's Big Day
Mac Jones was simply awesome on Sunday. After struggling the last few weeks, he had a field day against a pretty good Browns defense.
Jones threw just four incompletions against Cleveland, going 19-for-23 for 198 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. It's the first three-touchdown day of his career.
Jones was super comfortable with just about everything he did, thanks in large part to some great protection from the New England offensive line. He had some real zip on his throws, placing the ball where only his receivers could get their hands on it. He had great back-shoulder passes to Jakobi Meyers and Hunter Henry that led to some big gains.
It was a great day overall for the New England offense, which scored 45 unanswered points. But it was a really good day for Jones and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. No starting position was insurmountable for the Pats on Sunday, as the team embarked on scoring drives of 83, 99, 92 and 95 yards.
The game was well in hand for the Patriots when Jakobi Meyers found the end zone in the fourth quarter, but it was an extremely special moment as it was the third-year receiver's first career touchdown.
After he had come close so many times before, Meyers scored his first touchdown in style with a nice leap into the end zone. It was an even better sight to see just about the entire New England roster celebrate with him in the end zone.
Hunter Henry had two more touchdowns in Week 10, giving him seven on the season. All seven of those scores have come in the last seven weeks.
Stevenson Carries The Load
The rookie running back missed all three days of practice and was just cleared from concussion protocol on Sunday morning. But he pounded the Browns for 100 yards on 20 carries and a pair of touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 14 yards.
Even without Damien Harris (concussion), the Patriots dominated the Browns on the ground. New England ran for 184 yards and averaged 5.4 yards on the team's 34 carries. Kendrick Bourne was the second-leading rusher with 43 yards on three carries.
Speaking of Bourne, this touchdown catch was pretty awesome.
What a snag with a pair of defenders on him. Bourne had four receptions for 98 yards on the afternoon.
Third Down Offense
The Patriots converted each of their first six third-down plays and finished the day 7-for-9.
Third Down Defense
The New England defense gave the Browns NOTHING on third down, holding them to just 1-for-11.
Kyle Dugger picked off a third-down pass by Baker Mayfield in the second quarter. Ja'Whaun Bentley stuffed D'Ernest Johnson for a three-yard loss on a third-down run to end Cleveland's first possession of the second half. Those were two of the biggest plays by the defense on third down.
Pressure On Baker
The Patriots were in Baker Mayfield's face for most of the afternoon. He was only sacked twice, but he had very little time to operate. He was just 11-for-21 for 73 yards when he was knocked out in the fourth quarter.
Then the defense teed up on Case Keenum, sacking the Cleveland backup three times during his mop-up duty. The Patriots had five sacks and 10 QB hits in one of their most dominating games this season. After allowing an opening drive touchdown, the Patriots defense shut the Browns down the rest of the way.
Opening Drive Points For Browns
That opening drive touchdown is pretty much the only down of the day. It was an 11-play, 84-yard drive that ate nearly five minutes off the clock to give Cleveland a 7-0 lead. The touchdown came on a fourth-and-goal when Baker Mayfield found Austin Cooper to beat Adrian Phillips.
It was a really ugly start, but it invigorated the team the rest of the way. So we'll allow it if that's how the Patriots are going to respond.
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