They didn’t have to pull out the tricks or treats like they did against the Saints two weeks ago, but Sunday at home against the Patriots, the Browns again proved they deserve to be looked at as one of the up and coming teams in the NFL.
Against a 6-1 team the Browns dominated from start to finish, beating the Pats soundly 34-14, going to 3-5 on the season and setting up for what could be a very interesting ride the second half of 2010.
Peyton Hillis, who clearly looked refreshed after the bye, ran all over New England for 181 yards with two touchdowns and a 35-yard TD to put the game on ice with 2:38 to play. The 181 yards is a new career high for the bruiser.
The Browns did pull some trickery, getting a TD when Chansi Stuckey took a handoff from Josh Cribbs and raced around end for an 11-yard score that made it 17-7 with 3:23 left in the first half.
Then after the Pats quickly moved down the field, the Browns made the play of the game when Abe Elam combined with a few friends to strip Pats rookie TE Rob Gronkowski at the Browns two-yard line to stop a drive that could have made it 17-14.
From there, the Browns defense stopped Tom Brady and the Pats offense, never allowing them to get into much of a rhythm as the Browns run game dominated the second half.
Colt McCoy again proved whey he should now have a complete strangle hold on the starting QB job for the rest of the season. He made no mistakes, and threw the ball well on the run, completing 14-of-19 passes for 174 yards with a TD run as well to make it 24-7 in the third quarter. He didn’t throw a pick.
The Patriots were beaten up, knocked around, and hit with haymakers early and often. They allowed the Browns a field goal on their opening drive, then called for a fair catch on the next kickoff, and it was fumbled when Sammy Morris couldn’t figure out what to do with it.
The Browns went up 10-0 just two plays later, and the Pats were playing catch up all day after that.
Now at 3-5, the Browns will host another AFC contender next week as they take on Rex Ryan and the New York Jets at 1pm at Browns Stadium.