Ray Horton spoke last week about a statement game for the defense.
They’ll have to wait at least another week.
The defense had two chances in the final moments to make a stop but were unable to do so and the Patriots came from 12 points down in the final 2:39 to pull out a 27-26 win over the Browns. The Browns dropped to 4-9 on the season. The Patriots were successful in converting an onside kick with just one minute to play and scored with 31 seconds left to win the game.
Ironically, the Browns had held the high-powered offense of the Patriots scoreless until 1:37 to play in the third quarter when Steve Gostowski kicked a field goal. The Browns led 12-3 at the time and after increasing their lead to 19-3 after Josh Gordon broke loose for an 80-yard score, the defense couldn’t get off the field down the stretch.
A touchdown by Shane Vereen and a two-point conversion, coupled with another field goal by Gostowski made it 19-14 with 5:38 to play in the game.
Then, the Browns had a huge 80-yard drive capped with a four-yard touchdown pass from Jason Campbell to Jordan Cameron to seemingly put the game away at 26-14 with 2:39 to play. However, the Patriots went the length of the field and Brady threw to Julian Edelman for a two-yard touchdown to make the score 26-21.
The Patriots were out of timeouts and needed to convert the onside kick and they did. Because of a personal foul on Jordan Poyer on Edelman’s touchdown, the Patriots were 15 yards closer on the onside kick and started in Browns territory with one minute to play. The Patriots received a huge break as a pass interference call in the end zone was called on rookie Leon McFadden covering Josh Boyce to give the Patriots a first down on the Browns’ one. Brady then threw to Danny Amendola in the front corner of the end zone for a one-yard touchdown with 31 seconds left. A two-point conversion was unsuccessful and the Patriots had the lead for the first time in the game at 27-26.
Campbell was able to move the Browns to the Patriots’ 40, but Billy Cundiff’s game-winning field goal was on target, but short as time expired to give the Patriots the win.
Brady, who had just 95 yards and an interception in the first half, finished with 418 yards and two touchdowns. Vereen in the absence of Rob Gronkowski (2 receptions for 32 yards), who left with a knee injury, was virtually the entire Patriot offense as he had 12 receptions for 153 yards.
Gordon Breaks Record: WR Josh Gordon had three receptions for 42 yards in the first half, including a 20 yard reception to break the franchise record for yards in a season. Gordon came into the game needing 40 yards to tie WR Braylon Edwards, who had 1,289 yards in 2007. Edwards played in 16 games, while Gordon was playing in just his 11th game of the season after being suspended for the first two games of the year. Gordon eclipsed the record on an 18-yard crossing route near the end of the first half when he snatched the ball near the ground. Gordon caught a quick slant at the 28 and raced 72 yards from DB Aqib Talib for an 80-yard touchdown to give the Browns a 19-3 lead with 1:25 to play in the third quarter. Gordon has gone over the 100-yard receiving mark four weeks in a row, which is a Browns record. He finished with seven receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown,. He also led the Browns in rushing with a 34 yard end around to give him 185 all-purpose yards.
Um, Um Good: QB Jason Campbell returned after leaving the Steelers game with a concussion and had an outstanding game. He also missed last week’s game with Jacksonville and wasn’t cleared until Friday, but started sharp. Campbell was 29-of-44 for 391 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Campbell also rushed twice for 27 yards, picking up first downs on both runs. Campbell started the game 6-of-6 for 53 yards, before missing on a deep pass. Campbell was 14-of-23 for 125 yards in the first half. In the third quarter, Campbell hit Gordon on a short pass and Gordon broke it 80 yards for a touchdown. He also connected for a 40-yard touchdown to TE Gary Barnidge and TE Jordan Cameron for a four-yard score with 2:39 to play.
Good Start: The Browns took the opening drive and march to the Patriots’ 25 before stalling and settling for a 43-yard field goal by K Billy Cundiff with 9:18 left in first quarter. The Browns had the ball for 10 plays, 47 yards and 5:42. WR Greg Little caught two passes on the drive for 14 yards, while Cameron caught a 14-yard pass. Campbell was 4-of-4 for 31 yards on the opening drive. The Browns added another field goal by Cundiff after an interception by LB D’Qwell Jackson.
Good Half: In the first half, QB Tom Brady was just 7-of-19 for 95 yards with an interception and a sack. TE Rob Gronkowski was held without a catch in the first half. Brady threw an 11-yard pass to Gronkowski on the first play of the second half. Gronkowski was carted off in third quarter after he was hit by DB T. J. Ward in the knee. Browns held the Patriots scoreless until K Steve Gostowski kicked a field goal with 1:37 to play in the third quarter to make it 12-3.19-3 lead.
Return of Tight End: TE Jordan Cameron’s ended up with nine receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown. HIs first two receptions were for 14- and 16-yards on the first two drives. Cameron caught three passes for 36 yards in the first half. TE Gary Barnidge caught a short pass and rambled 40 yards for a touchdown with 10:15 to play in the third quarter to give the Browns a 12-0 lead. The Browns failed on the two-point conversion. Cameron caught a touchdown with 2:39 to play as he caught a four-yard pass from Campbell.
D’Qwell Pick: LB D’Qwell Jackson intercepted QB Tom Brady on the Patriots’ second possession and returned the ball to the Browns’ 44 with 3:31 to play in the first quarter. That led to the Browns second field goal by Cundiff from 37 yards out. Jackson led the Browns with nine tackles and the interception.
Sackers Return: The Browns had been missing pressure by their top three pass rushers and they came up big against the Patriots. LB Barkevious Mingo sacked QB Tom Brady after getting beat on a sideline pass by FB James Develin on a pass down the sideline. Mingo’s sack took the Patriots out of field goal range and they were forced to punt. After recording sacks in his first three NFL games, Mingo had just one in the next eight games before picking up his fifth sack of the season. LB Jabaal Sheard sacked Brady on the opening drive of the third quarter to give him 4.5. The third sack was by LB Paul Kruger which resulted in a fumble recovery by DL John Hughes. Kruger also batted down a pass from Brady. Kruger had a big sack on third and 7 with 5:47 to play to force a Patriot field goal to keep the Browns ahead 19-14. Kruger bowled over right tackle Will Svitek and pushed him into Brady as he brought him down. Kruger now has 4.5 sacks. Mingo had four tackles, while Kruger also had four tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. Sheard had two tackles.
Change of Guard: OL Jason Pinkston replaced OL Shawn Lauvao at right guard. OL John Greco injured his knee and Pinkston moved to left guard and Lauvao went back to right guard. Greco did not return.
Good Challenges: Chudzinski was two-of-two on challenges. WIth 5:18 to pay in the first half, Chudzinski challenged the spot after RB Willis McGahee spotted the ball short of the first down mark to set up fourth down. Chudzinski won the challenge and the Browns had a first down and kept the ball. Chudzinski challenged whether WR Julian Edelman caught a pass with 5:04 to play in the third quarter that resulted in an 8-yard gain. It was ruled the ball hit the ground.
Meanwhile, Bill Belichick challenged that Gordon caught a 19-yard pass with 3:32 to play that gave the Browns a first down on the Patriots’ it also cost the Patriots a timeout. The Browns were able to score a touchdown a few plays later.