New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 14: Hunter Henry #85 of the New England Patriots scores a touchdown against Ronnie Harrison #33 of the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots are surging. They’re now 6-4 after their fourth win in a row, and it was their best-looking victory to date, a 45-7 dismantling of the Cleveland Browns, a team thought to be in the hunt in the AFC that was coming off a big win of its own.

This was a huge game for both teams in terms of seeding, and the Browns certainly have lots of talent. So for the Patriots to dominate them on both sides of the ball for 60 minutes was impressive, and qualifies the win as their best of 2021 so far.

And they won in style, too. You don’t get to 45 points without a few big plays in there. The Patriots made those on both offense and defense. But they had some particularly dazzling moments offensively, thanks to rookie quarterback Mac Jones’ best game yet and the pass-catchers consistently finishing plays.

Anyway, here’s a look at the Patriots’ top highlights from their 45-7 blowout over the Browns…

  • Hunter Henry scores two more touchdowns

    Henry has been more than a red zone machine lately. He’s been the Terminator. Henry is now up to seven touchdowns in as many games after grabbing two more against Cleveland.

    His first touchdown was more eye-popping than the second one, as he reeled in a perfectly placed touch-pass from Jones and dragged his toes in bounds to complete the score.

    There’s no defense for a throw and catch like this:

    Henry’s first touchdown finished off an 83-yard drive that answered the Browns’ opening-drive score with authority. Aaaaand we never heard from the Browns again after that.

    The CBS broadcast gave viewers an “All-22” type of look when Henry caught his second touchdown. Could use more of that, certainly in the red zone. You can see Jones look toward Kendrick Bourne, which moves linebacker Malcolm Smith, while Henry jukes safety John Johnson to get separation up the seam. Pats made this one look easy.

  • Henry's Amazing One-Handed Catch

    Henry is feeling it right now. And when his quarterback is also on a heater, plays like this happen. Another well-placed ball from Jones to Henry, who extends with both hands but really makes the catch with just his right hand. The play helped propel the Patriots to (obviously) a touchdown that just about put the game out of reach for Cleveland.

  • Complementary Football: Dugger INT followed by Stevenson TD

    The Patriots played flawless complementary football in a key two-play sequence early in the second quarter that sent their momentum to the moon. Or sent the Browns spiraling, depending on how you look at it.

    Of course, we’re talking about Kyle Dugger picking off Baker Mayfield and nearly getting a pick-six, then rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson finishing off the touchdown on the next play. Dugger deserves credit for being competitive in coverage and getting a nice return out of it, but the guy who really made the play here was rookie defensive tackle Christian Barmore. You can see him close on Mayfield quickly up the middle, which rushed the quarterback into making a throw that just wasn’t there for him.

    On the Stevenson touchdown, which found the Patriots at the 5-yard line, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels elected to call a pitch to the outside in lieu of powering it up the gut. Stevenson still makes a nice cut to the inside, and he has a wall of blockers to run by for the touchdown. Well-executed play all-around.

    If the game ended up closer than it did, this could’ve been pinpointed as the key sequence. Or maybe it still is, and the Browns are just that fragile.

  • Jones' 23-Yard touchdown to Bourne

    One of several standout pitch-and-catches by the Patriots offense. This play completed a 99-yard drive, which had to be demoralizing for the Browns on some level.

    Other than one play that led to a sack, the Pats mostly kept Myles Garrett quiet on Sunday. But Garrett wasn’t on the field at all on Bourne’s touchdown. That can only help what was good pass protection for Jones, who delivered a strike through a tight window. Bourne also did a good job to go up and get the ball with two guys attempting to cover him.

    This was the moment in the game when it first felt like the wheels were coming off for Cleveland and the Patriots were about to pull away. New England forced two punts from the Browns in-between the 99-yard drive that led to the Bourne TD.

  • Meyers' first career touchdown

    Finally, mercifully, Jakobi Meyers has scored a receiving touchdown in the National Football League. It took him 39 games to find the end zone. But Meyers is now on pace for 85 catches and 821 yards, which would shatter his career highs, so he was beyond due.

    The touchdown came in garbage time, with Brian Hoyer throwing him the ball. But still a good job by Meyers to shake a would-be tackler and finish the score with YAC. You can tell that he, and the rest of the team, really wanted that TD to happen there.

    Meyers is by far the Patriots’ leader in catches with 50. He also made a pair of nice catches on third down in the win over the Browns, and has consistently caught the ball in tight windows for Jones. So it was good for the Patriots to finally get him to pay dirt.

  • Hoyer lights it up

    Even Brian Hoyer couldn’t be stopped in this game. Both teams called off the dogs in terms of personnel, but it seems Bill Belichick wanted to get Hoyer some passing game work in a real game while he had the chance. And Hoyer answered the bell with a flourish. There was the aforementioned touchdown to Meyers, but he made two particularly nice plays to get the Pats down the field on the drive.

    First, here’s a 26-yard rainbow to N’Keal Harry down the right sideline.

    Harry is starting to make a habit of only making plays as a pass-catcher with Hoyer throwing to him against backups in garbage time. But it was still a nice over-the-shoulder grab, and Harry has certainly been a good run-blocker for them.

    The other big play on this drive was a 48-yard catch-and-run by Bourne. But watch Hoyer here. First, the play-action fake gets the middle linebacker to bite. Then an ever-so-subtle pump-fake moves defensive back Troy Hill off. Boom, Bourne’s open. And it’s a strike over the middle.

    Bourne gets a thumbs-up for hustling and out-running everyone for the big-time YAC. But Hoyer deserves credit for scheming him open on that play.