By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
On a day where the defense showed its first real cracks in the armor and the offense continued to go up-and-down on offense, Julian Edelman was the rock the Patriots needed. Edelman caught eight of 11 targets for 78 yards and two touchdowns as the Pats escaped a rainy Gillette Stadium with a 27-13 win over the Cleveland Browns.
The first points of the game came on the leg of kicker Mike Nugent, who darted a 20-yard chip shot through the uprights to make it 3-0 Patriots. The first touchdown, however, came courtesy of the Patriots defense.
As Browns running back Nick Chubb tried to push through a pile, left guard Joel Bitonio appeared to kick the ball loose as he fell to the turf. Dont'a Hightower alertly scooped up the football and took it into the end zone, giving the Pats an early 10-0 lead.
— René Bugner (Rainbowcave) (@RNBWCV) October 27, 2019
It went from bad to worse for the Browns on their next two offensive plays. First, Chubb nearly took it to the house for what would've been a 60-yard touchdown but cornerback Jonathan Jones chased him down and knocked the ball out around the 20-yard line to get the ball back to the Pats.
The Browns got the ball back soon after that. But on their first snap of the next possession, Mayfield went for a shovel pass and instead shoveled it right into Lawrence Guy's bread basket. The mountainous defensive tackle's first INT of his career set up an easy touchdown for the Patriots two plays later, Edelman's first score that made it 17-0.
Cleveland got one back two possessions later, as Mayfield got tight end Demetrius Harris in one-on-one against Dont'a Hightower in space. Harris adjusted to the ball and made an easy-looking TD catch to make it 17-7. The Pats had a chance to answer on the ensuing drive, but Browns CB Denzel Ward blocked Mike Nugent's field goal attempt to keep the score at 17-7 heading into halftime.
The Browns put together an impressive drive of their own to start the second half, but the Pats were able to hold them to a field goal after Jamie Collins came up with a sack on Mayfield. But they did manage to make it a 17-10 game deep into the third quarter.
But Tom Brady and the Pats found a way to answer. Facing a third-and-10 at their own 16-yard line, James White caught a screen pass and snaked his way through the second level, burning the Browns for a 59-yard catch-and-run. Four plays later, Brady maneuvered out of pressure and found Edelman open for his second touchdown of the game, which made it 24-10 and effectively kept it out of reach from there.
A fourth-quarter field goal for Nugent extended the Pats' lead to 27-10. The Browns got a FG to make it 27-13 with 2:33 left in regulation, but the Patriots were able to run off enough clock to ice it after punting it in the final minute.
Up Next: The Patriots get another test in Week 9, when they travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens on Sunday Night Football.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].