5 things to know after Patriots beat Browns 27-26
In a career filled with fourth-quarter comebacks, Tom Brady
never saw anything like this.
He threw two touchdown passes in the last 61 seconds. The
Cleveland Browns committed two key penalties in that stretch. And
the New England Patriots recovered their first onside kick that led
to the winning play in their history.
Even Brady had to marvel at what his team accomplished in its
27-26 win Sunday.
”That was awesome,” he said.
It was Brady’s 41st win as a starter when the Patriots trailed
or were tied in the fourth quarter. That’s about one-fourth of his
162 career victories and just eight fewer than his 49 losses since
he became a starter in 2001.
”We’ve seen Tom do this so many times before,” New England
coach Bill Belichick said. ”I think it’s probably all been said
before, but he did it again.”
The downside was that tight end Rob Gronkowski also got hurt
again, leaving the game with a suspected torn anterior cruciate
ligament in his right knee in the third quarter.
The Patriots (10-3) remained one game ahead of the Cincinnati
Bengals in the race for the No. 2 spot, and a first-round playoff
bye, in the AFC. They did it after trailing at halftime for the
fourth straight game and fifth in their last six. They’ve won four
of those comebacks but didn’t have to overcome a deficit in the
last two minutes of the other three.
They did against the Browns (4-9).
”We held in there as long as we could (and) Tom Brady did his
thing at the end,” Cleveland defensive end Ahtyba Rubin said.
Brady threw touchdown passes of 2 yards to Julian Edelman with
1:01 left and 1 yard to Danny Amendola with 31 seconds remaining
after the Patriots trailed 26-14.
Then Cleveland’s Billy Cundiff missed a 58-yard field goal
attempt on the final play.
”Everyone’s going to remember this one,” Patriots defensive
end Rob Ninkovich said.
Five things to know about the Patriots latest comeback win:
GRONK’S GONE AGAIN: The Patriots star appears done for the
season in which he’s played just seven games. He missed the first
six while recovering from offseason back and forearm surgeries. He
led all NFL tight ends in the next six games with 37 catches and
560 yards receiving but had just two catches for 32 yards
Gronkowski was hurt when he was hit on the right knee by safety
T.J. Ward after a 21-yard reception.
”If I would have hit him up high, there’s a chance I would get
fined and all that other stuff,” Ward said. ”It’s kind of being
caught between a rock and a hard place.”
ONSIDE SUCCESS: The last time the Patriots recovered an onside
kick was in an AFC playoff game on Jan. 1, 1995. That was against
the original Browns, who moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens.
Cleveland’s coach then? Bill Belichick. The result? A 20-13 Browns
On Sunday, Kyle Arrington recovered Stephen Gostkowski’s kick at
the Browns 40 after it hit Cleveland’s Fozzy Whitaker.
”I’ve been practicing onside kicks for so long and I’ve
probably only done like four to five in a game, even going back to
high school,” Gostkowski said. ”I’ve never been that jacked up
after a game.”
BROWNS PENALTIES: Two penalties in the final 61 seconds hurt
Cleveland. The first was an unnecessary roughness call against
Jordan Poyer for hitting Edelman on his touchdown. The 15 yards
were assessed on the kickoff on which Arrington recovered the
”Any time the referee sees a defender go high (he is) going to
throw the flag,” Poyer said.
The other penalty was pass interference against Leon McFadden in
the end zone that moved the ball from the Browns 30 to the 1.
Amendola scored the final touchdown on the next play.
Chudzinski and McFadden disagreed with the call.
GREAT GORDON: Josh Gordon caught seven passes for 151 yards, his
fourth straight game with at least 125. The Browns lost all four.
He also scored on an 80-yard pass play, his third touchdown of at
least 74 yards in four games.
Gordon set an NFL record of 774 yards receiving in four
consecutive games. Calvin Johnson set the previous mark of 746 this
season. Gordon also set a single-season team record for yards
receiving with 1,400. Braylon Edwards established the previous mark
of 1,289 in 2007.
CUTTING IT CLOSE: Brady completed 32 of 52 passes for 418 yards,
the second game this season and the sixth in his career that he
surpassed 400. But he knows the Patriots’ penchant for cutting it
close may hurt them.
”We’re not trying to give (opponents) those leads and,
certainly, our execution wasn’t great, but we came through when we
needed to,” he said.”
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org