Answering the public outcry for yet more pointless yammering about pro football on the internet, I will continue this series. You're welcome.
- This one isn't starting out all that well. I had a wonderful little story with clever pre-game questions in this dorkbook all set up and it disappeared somehow. As long as the Browns defense doesn't also disappear today, this one should stay interesting.
- The trick plays on returns seemed to get the Patriots hesitating off the bat, and Cribbs rips off a 36-yard return.
- Peyton Hillis' legs look well-rested on the first drive as he tears an 18-yard run right up the gut, and throws in a hurdle for good measure.
- The Browns scripted plays worked as well as they could imagine on their first drive until we hit the "Let Mike Bell carry the rock" chapter. That didn't work well at all, and hasn't yet since Bell has joined the team.
- Browns jump out to a 10-0 lead as a special teams turnover puts the Browns on a short field. It will be interesting to see if Belichick comes off from his offensive scheme outlined by Doug Farrar earlier this week and tries to get aggressive via the air. Belichick will likely not be rattled at all.
- All the Browns gambles have been working these last two games. The Browns going for it on their 37, then shifting to an empty backfield and acting like they were just trying to get the Pats to jump, and THEN QB-sneaking? Brilliant.
- As a fan in our Gameballs and Goats said weeks ago, teams can't tackle Hillis, so they tackle the ball. It happens again after a 16-yard run to give the Pats the ball at the Patriots 36.
- Patriots don't appear rattled at all on their second possession, but they aren't effective, either. Browns run defense stout once again so far and unpredictable on passing downs.
- Without Peyton Hillis, the Browns are a below-average offensive team. But with him, they can be awful tough to stop, especially when the play action is working as it does on a 22 yard pass from McCoy to Massaquoi.
- The Browns couldn't convert a 3rd and 12, but you see again why Colt McCoy can win with this team now... he uses his feet, rolls out, buys time, and then makes the right decision by throwing it out of bounds. After years of seeing knuckleheaded decisions by Browns QB, play at the position which doesn't overtly damage your team looks like Hall of Fame material.
- Brady now one of six after getting pressured again on the Pats third possession. The Browns defense looks like it is gelling exceptionally well after two weeks to prepare for New England.
- Massaquoi showed up in the first quarter, and the Browns tried stretching the field at least once. Chansi Stuckey, as a result, seems to be getting a little more room to run. Brian Robiskie has been invisible, but that's not enough to know if he's playing or inactive without checking the inactive list. That's not a good sign, right there.
- Ahtyba Rubin. You know, it might be able time for people to start recognizing this kid around the league. He's our little secret for now, I guess.
- Brady hops right up after a sack and fires off another play before the Browns are ready. 22 yard pass to Gronkowski results. Another example of what a top-flight QB can do.
- Patriots go no-huddle and get some offensive traction at last. No-huddle is a powerful weapon against the Browns, as the team is so dependent on rotating in different defensive packages. The Patriots haven't been as aggressive about spreading the field and going no-huddle as they once were, but Brady is a very experienced practitioner of the offense. Smart change by the Patriots.
- Changing the tempo of the Patriots offense really helps them out, as the move downfield and score on a lucky deflection to Aaron Hernandez. Now is where Rob Ryan really earns his money. How well can the Browns adjust?
- The husband lying on the bed in that Windows Phone commercial is clearly insane. That sort of thing is not something that should be depicted on television.
- The Browns bring out the wildcat, but teams seem to know that Cribbs lining up at quarterback means "run". The Wildcat isn't effective unless it's unpredictable, folks.
- How good must have that 24-yard pass reception have felt to Ben Watson? I'm guessing very, very good. The Browns seem to believe that they've got a nice mismatch with their tight ends and the Patriots linebackers.
- The Browns drive with 5 minutes left in the first half becomes very effective once the Wildcat is put away. McCoy seems very aware of pressure, especially versus his first week. His progress is impressive.
- The Browns didn't empty the trick bag out against the Saints after all... Cribbs strolls up to center, takes the snap and casually hands to Stuckey. Touchdown. Those gimmicks are a heck of a lot of fun when they work. I've got a big grin on my face right now, as I'm sure a lot of Browns fans do.
- Perhaps because the Patriots defense is tired, Belichick makes his offense sloooow waaaayy doooowwwnnn on their ensuing drive. Patriots burn off a minute on the clock with just two plays on their side of the field. Belichick is a genius and all, so who I am to question this. But it seems a bit, um, what's the word.... stupid. That's it.
- Obviously I'm the stupid one, as the slow-moving Patriots offense just mechanically lumbers down the field as Brady completes four passes in a row. He's brutal when he gets into a groove.
- DENIED! Another key turnover for the Browns as they take the ball away from Gronkowski near the goal line. Wow! Browns go to the half up 17-7 as Abe Elam's popularity suddenly skyrockets.
- If the progress of the last several weeks continues, I'm going to have to learn how to write stories about a winning team - which is going to be weird enough - but Browns fans are going to have to learn how to be back making noise by the start of the third quarter. It might actually start mattering now.
- As much noise as the media makes about the chess match between the coaches, the story of the game remains relatively simple: The Browns have a runner who keeps moving after initial contact and they are effective on the ground. The Pats have not been. Key turnovers are the second important element, with the Patriots two fumbles causing a 14-point swing in the score.
- Massaquoi's resurgence is critical, as the Browns try to pick on rookie CB Devin McCourtey. With 8:40 left in the third, Massaquoi has four receptions for 58 yards.
- McCoy buys more time with a rollout and we see Brian Robiskie. Yes, Brian Robiskie! When things are going right, they all go right, it seems.
- And then he tucks the ball and runs from 16 yards out. Touchdown Browns!! Your new starting quarterback, folks. You can't take him out now.
- Browns go up 24-7, and the impartial journalist in me rises forth and says: Holy crap holy crap we're kicking the Pats holy crap. This statement not approved by the Pro Football Writers Association.
- Hang on... Pats go no huddle again and have been effective in this scenario. Ryan immediately calls up blitzes and gets a holding call. Now it gets really interesting.
- The Patriots second drive stalls at mid-field and the Browns get a chance to pad a time of possession advantage that stands a little under eight minutes. You run the ball, you get turnovers, you tend to win.
- Big Peyton Hillis rumbles downfield and catches a pass 25 yards out from the line of scrimmage. Banging runners aren't supposed to do that, but we'll accept it.
- As the fourth quarter begins, the Browns have had the ball 27:54 and the Patriots 17:06. The Browns still have the ball and are padding that edge. You run, you win. Browns have 100 yards more running the ball than the Patriots do, and the Pats defense is looking tired.
- By the time the Browns pad their lead to 20 on a Phil Dawson field goal, that time of possession advantage is up to 15 minutes.
- After the field goal, it starts looking a little like the Browns defense is starting to relax. The Patriots move effectively down the field, but are self-destructing with Danny Woodhead not knowing where the play was going and a false start on WR Branch. With the Patriots coming off a big-time win last week, the rested Browns are looking like the better-coached team. Sounds weird to say it, but the performance on the field is saying it.
- With their backs near the end zone, the Browns defense starts making the Patriots life tougher. Ray Ventrone is called on a debatable interference call, allowing the Patriots to score, but I like the character the Browns defense was displaying, particularly as they stone Green-Ellis on his first attempt into the end zone. By the time the Patriots scored, though, there's less than seven minutes left on the clock.
- The Browns mix the pass and run eloquently on the ensuing drive, pushing the clock down near two minutes. And then the Hillis Hammer Comes DOWN. 35 yards touchdown. Amazing.
- Belichick removes the headset, and puts in his backup quarterback. It's over. Can we say that the Browns are officially on a roll? Yep.
- Life, my friends, is good. Closing up shop here on the Dorkbook and getting ready for post-game coverage. This huge stupid grin on my face is starting to hurt after a couple hours, but I'll deal with it. BROWNS WIN!!