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Browns run over Patriots

By Christopher L. Gasper

Boston.com Staff / November 7, 2010



CLEVELAND—Consider the trap sprung.


Given an extra week to prepare for his mentor, Cleveland head coach Eric Mangini and his minions, a few of whom also had Foxborough ties, pulled out all the stops against the Patriots. They delivered an embarrassing 34-14 beatdown of their former boss and his team in front of 66,292 at Cleveland Browns Stadium.


The Browns used a surprise pop-up kickoff to set up their first touchdown and scored their second on a Wing-T style handoff from one wide receiver to another to jump to a 17-7 halftime lead. But it was straight forward, hard-nosed running in the second half that the Browns used to plow past the Patriots, who endured a nightmarish day in Northeast Ohio. Led by Peyton Hillis, who ran for two touchdowns and a career-high 184 yards on 29 carries, the Browns posted season highs in yards rushing (230) and total offensive yards (404) to snap the Patriots'(6-2) four-game win streak.


Even rookie quarterback Colt McCoy (14 of 19 for 174 yards, three rushes for 20 yards and a score) got into the long-running act, scoring on a 16-yard scramble in the third quarter.


The Patriots trailed 27-7 with 10:45 left in the game, following Phil Dawson's second field goal. They found life when Tom Brady (19 of 36 for 224 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions) connected with Aaron Hernandez (five catches for 48 yards and two touchdowns) on a 1-yard


touchdown reception -- Hernandez's second TD catch of the game -- with 6:57 left. Due to a thigh injury to kicker Stephen Gostkowski, wide receiver Wes Welker had to kick the extra-point, trimming the Browns'lead to 27-14.


However, Hillis's 35-yard romp with 2:38 left sealed it. It was a win all around for Mangini, as Belichick even offered him a half-hug in their post-game meeting at mid-field.


The game marked the debut of Logan Mankins, who reported on Tuesday, ending a lengthy sit-out that had stretched from the offseason through the first two months of the season. Mankins got the start for the Patriots and shared time at left guard with Dan Connolly, who had started every game in his absence. Mankins saw the majority of the snaps, but Connolly was on the field for the Patriots' first touchdown drive.


Mistake by the Lake was the appellation for the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium, it was also an apt description of the Patriots' play in the first half.


The Patriots were just 1 of 8 on third downs and turned the ball over twice. The second came on a fumble by rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was stripped by safety Abram Elam at the Cleveland 2 with 22 seconds left in the half.


Gronkowski was part of the Patriots' dismal end to the first half and he played a role in their inauspicious beginning as well.


The Browns jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the game's first possession. On the ensuing kickoff, Dawson hit a pop-up kick into no-man's land. Gronkowski appeared to signal for a fair catch and then backed off to let Sammy Morris field it, which he did, just not cleanly. The ball was recovered by former


Patriot Ray Ventrone at the New England 19. Two plays later Hillis plowed in from 2 yards out, and it was 10-0 Browns, just 3:49 in.


While the Browns started fast, the Patriots did not. They registered just one first down and Brady was 1 of 6 for 10 yards in the first quarter.


The Patriots picked up the pace via a no-huddle attack and got on the scoreboard with 8:43 left in the half. Two plays after Brady converted a fourth-and-1 pass to Morris for 22 yards, he found Hernandez with a fortuitous 2-yard TD. The ball bounced off Gronkowski and into the air, when a leaping Hernandez snagged in near the end line.


The Patriots' luck didn't last though.


Cleveland came back and used some chicanery to restore its 10-point lead on an 11-yard touchdown run by wideout Chansi Stuckey, as Browns offensive coordinator and former Patriots wide receivers coach Brian Daboll hoodwinked His Hoodiness.


The Browns lined up with kick returner Josh Cribbs under center. Stuckey was in a three-point stance behind the right guard. Cribbs took the snap and ran right while deftly sticking the ball in the belly of a stationary Stuckey, who ran the other way and put the Browns up 10 with 3:23 left in the half.


"It got me in practice," said Mangini. "I looked at, and said, 'What are we doing here?' Brian has done a really good job."


For Belichick and the Patriots it's a bit of unwanted humility. But they're still sitting at 6-2 halfway through their season.


Next stop, Pittsburgh.

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Belicheck's post game conference comments are here:




Written by Ian Posted November 7, 2010 at 5:28 pm


It was quite an uncomfortable press conference for Bill Belichick after the game, and as expected there wasn’t much said by the coach. Here’s a look at what he had to say to the media after this one.


His Opening Thoughts:


“They obviously did everything better than we did, every single thing you can measure, so they were clearly the better team. Deserved to win. Had an outstanding performance. We didn’t do any of the things we needed to do to win, and really be competitive, so that was the result of the game. Obviously we have a lot of work to do. I think we’re a better team than we showed today, but we weren’t today. So my hats off to them, they did a good job, they were clearly the better team.”


On The Turnovers


“We didn’t take care of the ball, I think that’s obvious.”


“We didn’t do a good job on anything today so, pick any subject you want and say, ‘How did it go?’ and it wasn’t very good.”


On Kicker Stephen Gostkowksi


“His leg tightened up during the game, obviously he wasn’t able to finish and kick, so we’ll have to see. But he wasn’t able to finish the game.”


On the play of Browns runningback Peyton Hillis:


“No he’s a good player, he runs hard, I’ve seen him do that before.”


On the inconsistent play of the offense


“We didn’t have anything today in any phase of the game, so I don’t know. I wouldn’t single out anything or anybody, it was a total victory by Cleveland in all phases of the game – everything you can measure.”


On Cleveland’s “fumblerooski” play


“No, it was a new play, they hadn’t run it this year. We had prepared for plays like that, but obviously we didn’t prepare very well. So it was a good play by them, not a good play by us. There were a lot of those.”


On whether he was surprised by how physical the Browns were


“Sure, we talked about it all week, yeah. We’ve seen them play all year, that’s the way they play.”


When asked what the message to his team was after the game


“We’ve just got a lot of work to do.”


When asked about Brady’s play


“They did a good job. They did a better job than we did.”


When asked what was said between he and Mangini after the game


“I congratulated him.”


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