Browns – Patriots (15-38): Bailey Zappe gets comfortable

Cleveland Browns (2-4) – New England Patriots (3-3)

Bill Belichick never does sentiment. Not even for his former players. The game plan against the Browns has been quite simple since the start of the season: limit the runners and force Jacoby Brissett (21/45, 266 yards, 1 TD, 2 int, 1 fumble) to make the game.

The Patriots defense applied the plan wonderfully. Cleveland only gained 70 yards on the ground (3.9 yards per carry). So Brissett must have thrown a lot of balls. Too much. And he broke his teeth. His team quickly fell into a hole they could never get out of.

Meanwhile, Bailey Zappe (24/34, 309 yards, 2 TDs) had to respond to almost the same challenge. Except that he managed to advance the attack without making any mistakes when his running teammates got stuck.

Folded in three quarters

It was in the third quarter that the Patriots widened the decisive gap. Zappe found Tyquan Thornton (4 rec, 37 yards, 1 TD) and Hunter Henyr (4 rec, 61 yards, 1 TD) for two touchdowns that allowed their team to come off 24-6.

Because during the first three quarters of the match, Brissett and his attack were limited to two tiny field goals, two punts, two interceptions and a failure on fourth attempt. Under these conditions, the Patriots did not pay for their somewhat slow start, notably marked by a fumble from Zappe on a sack from Myles Garrett in the first quarter.

Brissett found Amari Cooper (4 rec, 44 yards, 1 TD) for a nice touchdown that brought Cleveland closer in the fourth quarter (15-26), and the defense even got a stop in stride. But it was then the brown special teams who sealed their last chances, with a loose punt. A courtesy exploited by Thornton for a new touchdown (15-31). A last ball lost for the road? It’s Jacoby Brissett who treats, this time with a fumble. This time, it was Rhamondre Stevenson’s turn to score in stride (15-38).

Big defense. Solid quarterback. Victory in possession time. A recipe that surely brought back many good memories to Patriots supporters.

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