By Jose F. Rivera –
Sunday the New England Patriots were on the road for the fourth time in the first six weeks
of the season. This Sunday the Patriots played the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. With Sunday’s 38-15 victory the Patriots climbed back to a .500 record after a 1-3 start to the year.
Last week, the Patriots earned a 29-0 victory over the Detroit Lions, who entered the game with the top-ranked offense and a unit that was averaging 35 points a game. For the second straight week, the Patriots faced a top ranked offense, with Cleveland entering the game ranked 4th on offense with 396.4 yards per game and 6th with 26.6 points per game.
Folk got the Patriots into this game in the first quarter with a nineteen yard field goal to make it 3-0. But then York made a 39 yard field goal to get Cleveland into this game and make it 3-3.
In the second quarter Stevenson got the first touchdown of the game for the Patriots. The extra point attempt by Folk was good to make it a 10-3 Patriots game. Before closing out the third quarter, York made a 48 yard field goal for Cleveland to make it a 10-6 game.
The Patriots controlled the second quarter with Zappe passing short right to Thornton to get the third touchdown of the game. The extra point attempt by Folk was good to make it a 17-6 game. The third touchdown of the game came with Zappe passing short left to Henry. The extra point attempt by Folk was good to make it a 24-6.
In the fourth quarter York made a 51 yard field goal for Cleveland to make it a 24-9 game. Brissett connected with Cooper to get the first Cleveland touchdown of the game. Brissett would then attempt a two-point conversion but his pass to Bryant was incomplete and it was a 24-15 game. The Patriots closed out the fourth and the game with both Thornton and Stevenson getting a touchdown. Both extra point attempts by Folk were good and the Patriots won this one 38-15.
The Patriots had 20 total first downs, 3 rushing and 14 passing. They made 65 offensive plays and had 5 touchdowns with 35:05 of possession.
Stevenson made two rushing touchdowns, Thornton made 1 rushing and 1 receiving touchdown and Henry had 1 receiving touchdown.
On defense, Dugger and Mills both had an interception.
Following Sunday’s game head coach Bill Belichick in his opening statement to the media said, “Good team win for us here on the road. We got a lot of contributions from everybody – offense, defense, special teams. We played some complimentary football. We were able to make plays on defense or in the kicking game and then convert those on offense.”
On tying George Halas for second on the all-time win list in the NFL, Belichick said “You can’t win games in this league without good players. I’m very fortunate to have coached a lot of great players and have had a lot of great coaches on my staff through the years. A lot of those guys have gone on to have tremendous careers and players obviously – many of them are Patriots Hall of Fame or NFL Hall of Fame, or are going to be. Winning games in this league is about having good players and I’m very fortunate to have a lot of them. I had them in New York. I had them in Cleveland. I have them here.”
When asked about the defense standing up against the Browns running game, Belichick said “The Browns have a great running game. That’s what we talked about all week. They’re very well coached. They are extremely well coached, as good as anybody we see. Outstanding offensive line. Obviously (Browns G Joel) Bitonio is the go-to guy there but all five guys are good. The tight ends are good. (Browns RB Nick) Chubb is just a heck of a back. So are the other two guys. But Chubb is as good as we see. Again, give the players credit. There’s no one guy that can stop them. That’s everybody doing their job. Defeating blocks, tackling, pursuing the ball, just being disciplined and being sound because Chubb has very good vision. He finds openings. He hit us on a couple in the second half where he got through for a couple decent runs, but overall, to kind of halfway keep him in check was a great job by our defensive coaches. Not only the front seven, but we had a couple players in the secondary with tackle to keep those seven or eight yard runs from going to 50, which he has plenty of those. So it’s a good job by them.”
When asked about Bailey Zappe’s intellect and if that is contributing to his success, Belichick said “Yeah, I mean again, he learns everyday, whether it’s practice, or meetings, or game experiences. He has pretty good instincts, but there is a lot for him to learn. There are things today that he learned from and he was able to take advantage of and make a couple plays. He had the opportunity. Again, it’s all performance. It’s not turning the ball over or a strip sack. It’s a good thing. We just had trouble obviously with (Browns DE) Myles Garrett. We tried to double him as much as we could and he still got us.”