PHOTO: A fan shows his feelings for the play of the Cleveland Browns during their 42-15 loss to the New England Patriots. The loss, under interim coach Terry Robiskie, dropped the Browns to 3-9 on the season. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
PATS DAWG CLEVELAND
New England Steamrolls Browns, Dawg Pound Silenced
by Chris Timoney
In post-game comments quarterback Tom Brady said We needed a complete effort. A complete effort is just what he got. Not only did New England score in every facet of the game, but they took the newly inspired Cleveland crowd out of the game from the start. The start being the actual start of the game, as in the kickoff.
Seconds after Phil Dawson kicked off to begin the game the Patriots were up 7-0. Bethel Johnson fielded the kick back at his own 7 and using some early lanes and his world class speed he was off to the races and into the endzone. Adam Vinatieris extra point gave New England the early 7-0 lead after only 14 seconds.
For the next 7 minutes on the game clock the teams exchanged punts. Midway through the first quarter New England took possession on their own 32. On first down the ball was handed off to Corey Dillon. Upon reaching the line of scrimmage the ball was knocked loose by defensive tackle Gerard Warren and Cleveland gained possession, briefly.
On the second play from scrimmage after the fumble recovery rookie QB Luke McCown made an attempt for the endzone to Dennis Northcutt. The ball was well under thrown and safety Rodney Harrison made the acrobatic interception at the 4 yard line. Brady & Co. moved the ball steadily over the next six and-a-half minutes mixing it up between Corey Dillon runs and Tom Brady passes. A 16 yard Dillon run pushed the ball past midfield into Browns territory. New England continued to chip away at the Cleveland defense until a 25 yard pass play to tight end Christian Fauria moved the ball down to the 11 yard line. Two plays later, using a nice stutter move at the goal line, Dillon walked into the endzone for the touchdown and the Pats 14-0 lead with just seconds remaining in the quarter.
Aided by some decent field position the Browns began to move the ball with some success. Down big early Cleveland faced a 4th and 5 from the Patriots 29. McCown again came up short to Northcutt and the ball was turned over on downs to New England. The Patriots were on the move again when a third down pass interference call went the Pats way on a deep ball intended for David Patten. After the penalty New England had possession at the Cleveland 5 yard line. A few plays later with Mike Vrabel and Richard Seymour in on offense Dillon again crossed the goal line and the Pats were up 21-0 with just under 7 minutes to go in the half.
Later in the quarter with just over 2 minutes to go in the half the Patriots, up 21-0 and moving against the wind, coach Bill Belichick decided to go for it on 4th and 3 from the Cleveland 30. The pass to Patrick Pass fell short of the first down marker and the Browns reclaimed possession.
Browns QB Luke McCown found some rhythm in the 2 minute offense. Under pressure McCown was able to complete passes while moving the Browns deep into Patriots territory. On third and 14 from the New England 16 McCown fired for the endzone looking for Frisman Jackson. Jackson was tightly covered by Troy Brown and the ball was tipped. The tipped ball ended up right in the hands of wide receiver Antonio Bryant and the Browns were on the scoreboard with just under a minute remaining in the half.
The Pats attempted to recapture the before the half magic theyve been successful with all season, but Bradys pass from Browns 44 intended for David Givens was intercepted with 1 second left in the half. At the half New England was up 21-7.
The second half began much in the same fashion as the first began, with an early Patriots score. On third and 2 from their own 47 Cleveland elected to hand off to William Green. After crossing the line of scrimmage the ball was knocked loose by Richard Seymour and recovered by Randall Gay. Upon picking up the loose ball Gay was held up, literally by the shirt, by teammate Willie McGinest who wanted to make sure Gay stayed behind down field blocks. Gay did what the veteran wanted and cut across the field for the touchdown and a 28-7 New England lead.
It only took 1 possession and about six minutes for the Patriots to score again. With Corey Dillon (18 rushes for 100 yards, 2TDs) on the bench nursing a leg injury Kevin Faulk(13 rushes for 87 yards) and rookie Cedric Cobbs(16 rushes for 29 yards) picked up the slack out of the backfield aiding New Englands third quarter 73 yard march down the field. The drive was capped off by Kevin Faulks ten yard TD run. Up 35-7 in the third the Patriots were truly in command with almost 20 minutes of game time remaining.
Just as quickly as you could check the box scores from around the league the Patriots scored again. Eugene Wilson recovered Steve Heiden fumble on Clevelands first play after New Englands last score and the Pats took possession at the Browns 32. On third and 22 Brady(11 of 20 for 157 yards, 1TD, 1INT) connected deep to David Patten for 44 yards and a touchdown. The play was the same as the one they ran on 2nd and 22 that misfired.
Up 42-7 backup QB and NFL Europe standout Rohan Davey took over at QB and saw his first significant amount of playing time thus far in the season.
Davey proved serviceable throwing for 44 yards on 3 of 6 passing.
Cleveland was able to score once more on a 40 yard touchdown pass to Antonio Bryant (7 catches for 115 yards, 2TDs) early in the fourth quarter. And thats how the game ended, Pats 42-15.
The win improves New England to 11-1 while the Browns drop to 3-9.
In his NFL debut Luke McCown finished 20 of 34 for 277 yards, 2TDs and 2INTs. The 100 yards rushing by Corey Dillon marked the 7th game of the season where hes rushed for 100 yards or more. Bethel Johnsons opening kickoff TD return was the first against the Browns since 1986. The Patriots scored first for the 17th straight regular season game, 20th consecutive overall. Cleveland was only 2-10 on third down, 1-3 on fourth down.
Chris Timoney provides is a site contributor for the Patriots Insider. You can find him in the forums under the name: jakbrown. You can also find archives of his columns on the Insiders by using the search feature on this site.
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