CLEVELAND—Back-to-back wins over the defending Super Bowl champion Saints and the 6-1 Patriots.
The Browns won their second-straight game with a convincing 34-14 win over the Patriots in front of 66,292 fans at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Browns improve to 3-5, while the Patriots drop to 6-2.
"We've been playing big in big games," Browns left tackle Joe Thomas said. "Going back to when we beat the Saints in their house, we sent a message and it put us on a roll that should take us into the second half of the season."
The Browns led from start to finish as they jumped to a quick 10-0 lead and carried a 17-7 lead into halftime.
Colt McCoy, making his debut at home, finished 14-of-19 for 174 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. However, he made some big plays with his feet, rushing for a 15-yard touchdown in the second half and picking up a first down on a key fourth-down quarterback sneak in the first half.
McCoy, along with the legs of Peyton Hillis, were all the Browns needed offensively as the they amassed 230 yards rushing to the Patriots 68. Hillis had a career-best game with 184 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns. He caught three passes for 36 yards, in totaling 220 all-purpose yards.
The Browns pulled a little more razzle-dazzle in their second touchdown as Chansi Stuckey ran around left end for a touchdown late in the second quarter with Josh Cribbs lining up as the quarterback and reversing to Stuckey.
"It's kind of a confusion play," Stuckey said. "I go up quickly behind the linemen and try to hide. Josh comes in and snaps it quickly. You know the threat that he is, so guys are going to run to him and once everything clears out, I give a "go" call to the linemen and they go. (Watson) did a great job of blocking and I squeezed into the corner of the end zone. "It was great. Ben and I were just laying on the ground laughing and basking in just what happened."
The Browns took a quick 3-0 lead with 11:49 to play in the first quarter as Phil Dawson kicked a 38-yard field goal. Cribbs took the opening kickoff and returned it to the 37. Colt McCoy threw to Mohamed Massaquoi for 21 yards on the first play and then Peyton Hillis went up the middle for 18 yards to the 24 on the next play. Hillis hurdled a Patriot on the run and left the field for two plays. Two short runs by Mike Bell and an incomplete pass in the end zone to Stuckey set up the field goal.
The Browns extended their lead to 10-0, three plays later as Hillis went over from the two with 11:11 to play in the first quarter.
After the Browns opening field goal, the Patriots let the ball bounce on the kickoff and Sammy Morris muffed it and former Patriot Ray Ventrone recovered on the Patriots' 19. McCoy threw to Evan Moore and he went high and took the ball away from the defender at the two. On the next play, Hillis went in from the two to make it 10-0 with 11:11 to play. It was Hillis' sixth rushing touchdown and seventh, overall.
The Patriots made it 10-7 as Tom Brady hit Aaron Hernandez from two yards out with 8:43 to play in the second quarter. Brady's pass was deflected near the end zone, but Hernandez hauled it in before it went out of bounds. The Patriots started at their 21, but Ahtyba Rubin sacked Brady on first down back to the 12. However, from there, the Patriots the length of the field to complete the 79-yard drive.
Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for 22 yards after the sack and then hit Danny Woodhead for 26 yards to the Browns' 33. On fourth-and-one from the Browns' 24, Brady threw a swing pass to Sammy Morris for 22 yards to the two. After a run for no gain by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Brady and Hernandez hooked up for the score.
The Browns answered the Patriots score with one of their own as the Browns took a 17-7 lead with 3:23 to play in the first half as Chansi Stuckey took a handoff from Josh Cribbs around left end for 11-yards. McCoy threw a seven-yard pass to Mohamed Massaquoi to keep the drive going on third-and-5.
McCoy hit former Patriot, Watson, for 24 yards to the Patriots' 23. A key play was on third-and-4, McCoy escaped from a sack and was able to hit Cribbs for the first down. On the next play, Stuckey lined up behind the right guard with Cribbs over center. The flow all went to the right, but Stuckey took a reverse handoff and was able to break the plane of the end zone with the ball for the score. The Browns went 60 yards on nine plays, taking 5:21 off the clock.
The Browns had a big play at the end of the first half as Abe Elam stripped the ball from Rob Gronkowski and recovered the fumble at the Browns' two to prevent the Patriots from scoring.
The Browns increased their lead to 24-7 with 5:53 to play in the third quarter as McCoy scrambled on first-and-15 for the touchdown, diving and breaking the plane of the goal line as he was hit. The Browns used a steady dose of Hillis as he carried five times to open the drive for 22 yards before McCoy hit Massaquoi for seven yards to the Patriots' 39.
After an eight-yard run by Hillis, McCoy scrambled and hit Brian Robiskie for 20 yards to the 11. After a delay of game penalty, McCoy scrambled left and had a couple big blocks, including one by Cribbs. The Browns had the ball for seven minutes, in the 10 play, 72-yard drive. Hillis went over the 100-yard mark on the drive with 30 yards.
The Browns increased their lead to 27-7 with 10:45 to play as Dawson kicked a 37-yard field goal. The Browns again took 7:48 off the clock as they drove 61 yards in 13 plays for the score. Hillis, once again, accounted for 19 yards rushing and 34 receiving on the drive, including a 29-yard reception on third-and-3 to the Patriots' 34.
The Patriots cut the Browns lead to 27-14 with 6:37 to play as Brady hit Hernandez for the one-yard touchdown. Wes Welker kicked the extra point as Stephen Gostkowski was injured. The Patriots went 69 yards in 14 plays and 4:08 on the drive.
Brady hit Hernandez for 13 to the Browns 25 on third-and-15 and then he hit Welker for 11 on fourth-and-two to the 14. After three incomplete passes, the Patriots appeared to be stopped on fourth-and-10, but Ventrone was called for pass interference in the back of the end zone on Gronkowski and the Patriots were given a first down on the one. On the second play, Brady hit Hernandez.
The Browns put the game away as Hillis broke loose for a 35-yard touchdown run around right end to give the Browns a 34-14 lead. The Browns got the ball back after a short kickoff by Welker started at their own 40 and Hillis ran all six times on the drive, covering 60 yards.
Colt's Debut: QB Colt McCoy made his debut as the starter at Cleveland Browns Stadium. In the first half, McCoy was 9-of-14 for 106 yards. His longest pass was for 24 yards to TE Ben Watson. McCoy rushed for three yards on fourth-and-one in the first quarter. McCoy finished 14-of-19 for 174 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. His longest pass was for 29 yards to Hillis. McCoy had three rushes for 20 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown run.
McCoy had a quarterback rating of 101.6, compared to 90.5 for Brady.
Pounding Peyton: RB Peyton Hillis scored his sixth rushing touchdown in the first quarter from two yards and his seventh in the fourth quarter. It was his eighth touchdown, overall of the season. Hillis fumbled after a 16-yard run in the first quarter. Hillis had 63 yards on nine carries in the first quarter. He also caught a pass for one-yard. He had 73 yards at halftime. In the second half, Hillis had 114 yards rushing and 36 yards receiving after three quarters. Hillis finished with 29 carries for 184 yards and two touchdowns. He had three catches for 36 yards. It was Hillis' career best.
I couldn't have done it without (the offensive line)," Hillis said. "We played football the way it should be played; well on both sides of the ball, taking time off the clock, you rest your defense adn that's what you ahve to do."
Mo's Back: WR Mohamed Massaquoi was the leading receiver at the half with three receptions for 50 yards. He finished with four catches for 58 yards.
Wright Stuff: CB Eric Wright made his first interception of the season late in the game.
Gutsy: Leading 10-0 in the first quarter, the Browns went for it on fourth-and-one from their own 36. When they lined up, it looked like they were trying to draw the Patriots offside, but after the Browns shifted to the spread formation, with no backs in the backfield, McCoy snuck up the middle for three yards.
Wildcat: WR Josh Cribbs had two runs out of the wildcat for two-yards. However, when the Browns lined up with Cribbs under center the third time, he handed to WR Chansi Stuckey, who ran around left end for 11 yards and a touchdown. In the second half, Cribbs handed to RB Mike Bell out of the wildcat.
Bell Rung: RB Mike Bell left the field with a hip injury and headed to the locker room in the fourth quarter. He did not return.
Lauvao Debut: OL Shawn Lauvao was in on the Browns' fourth possession. It was Lauvao's first regular season action after being sidelined with a high ankle sprain. Lauvao was a third-round draft choice this year.
Have a Rubin: DL Ahytba Rubin pushed right up the middle and sacked QB Tom Brady for a nine-yard loss.
Ice Breaker:Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Mangini did shake hands at midfield after the game. Belichick also gave Browns offensive coordinator Brian Daboll a hug.
"I congratulated (Mangini)," Belichick said. "It was just a total victory by Cleveland in all phases of the game, everything you can measuure."
Inactives: QB Seneca Wallace (ankle), QB Jake Delhomme (ankle), OL John St. Clair (ankle), TE Alex Smith, RB Thomas Clayton, OL Steve Vallos, WR Demetrius Williams and DL Jayme Mitchell. Billy Yates started at right guard and Floyd Womack at right tackle. For New England: WR Taylor Price, RB Fred Taylor, S Patrick Chung, S Jarrad Page, OL Rich Ohmberger, C Ryan Wendell T Makr LeVoir, and DL Kyle Love.