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    After Browns blowout, Patriots now in hunt for AFC East title

    The Patriots demolished the Browns, 45-7, on Sunday for their best win of the season and to move their winning streak to four games. It was tough to find a negative in the performance, with the offense humming and the defense holding the Browns scoreless after giving up and opening drive touchdown.

    New England outgained Cleveland 452 yards to 217. They also had nearly twice as many yards per play and dominated on 3rd Down. The Patriots converted 7/9 3rd downs, including three on their opening touchdown drive, while the Browns only converted 1/11. New England’s execution on 3rd down represented an important step forward; earlier in the year the Patriots had failed to get the play they needed in critical situations on several occasions.

    The Patriots offensive line got Trent Brown back and his return paid dividends. New England rushed for 184 yards including 100 for Rhamondre Stevenson, who also scored two touchdowns. The offensive line also did a terrific job pass protecting, giving Mac Jones the time to have a great performance. Jones threw for 198 yards and  three touchdowns. He only had four incompletions.

    A two-play sequence late in the second quarter showed the first-round level talent of Jones. First, he lofted a perfect pass to Jakobi Meyers down the left sideline over a defender. Meyers barely had to move to make the catch. Following that, Jones delivered a strike between two defenders to Kendrick Bourne for a touchdown. These two throws are tough for some veterans to make and Jones put them together back to back.

    Defensively, New England gave up an opening drive touchdown and then locked down the Browns after that. The youth movement got a boost in the second quarter as Rookie Christian Barmore pushed the pocket, got in Baker Mayfield’s face and forced a bad throw that was picked off by second-year safety Kyle Dugger. The Patriots gave Mayfield little time to throw and were solid in coverage. The Browns ran for 99 yards, but 58 of them were on the opening drive. After that, Cleveland had nowhere to run.

    The Patriots sit at 6-4 with a Thursday night game against the Falcons upcoming. They have a real chance to be 7-4 heading into a clash with the Titans on November 28th. The Patriots are now not just in wild card position, but have a chance to challenge the Bills for the AFC East crown. The next few weeks will go a long way towards determining if the Patriots will be in the playoffs. As of now, they are looking like a team no one will want to play in the postseason.

    mm
    Jon Lyons
    Jon Lyons is a contributor to Dirty Water Media and is a co-host of the Straight Facts Homie T.V. show on TCAM-TV. He is also a regular guest on Boston sports radio. Jon holds an MBA and M. Ed from Endicott College.

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