FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts -- Three snaps, three turnovers and Sunday’s game was never the same for the Browns.
Cleveland experienced one of the worst three-play sequences a team can have during Sunday’s first quarter at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots turned two Nick Chubb fumbles and a Baker Mayfield interception into 14 points of their own while keeping Cleveland off the board. From that point forward, the Browns were playing from behind, a place you don’t want to be against the undefeated Patriots and their top-ranked defense, in a game they ultimately lost, 27-13.
The loss was Cleveland’s third in a row and drops the team to 2-5. The Patriots moved to 8-0.
Outside of the two uncharacteristic fumbles, Chubb had another big game, rushing for 131 yards on 20 carries to pace Cleveland’s offense on a windy, cold, rain-soaked evening. Baker Mayfield, playing behind an offensive line that featured a new left tackle (Justin McCray) and a rotation between Eric Kush and Wyatt Teller at right guard, completed 20-of-31 passes for 194 yards, a touchdown and a costly interception that capped Cleveland’s nightmarish three-play sequence.
The Browns brought plenty of pressure on Tom Brady, but the six-time Super Bowl champion seem to strike when it hurt most, connecting with Julian Edelman on two touchdown passes and finishing with 259 yards.
The game started to get away from the Browns with 6:35 to play in the first quarter with the Browns trailing 3-0. Chubb ran right and saw the ball kicked out of his hands by a tumbling Joel Bitonio, who was upended by Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Dont’a Hightower scooped up the loose ball and ran it back 26 yards for New England’s sixth non-offensive touchdown of the season.
Check out photos of the Browns against the Patriots
On the first play of the next drive, the Browns gave the ball right back to Chubb, who darted and cut his way 44 yards down the field. As he crossed the 10-yard line, Jonathan Jones punched the ball out of his hands, and Patriots safety Devin McCourty fell on it.
A Patriots punt gave the ball back to the Browns at their own 21-yard line, and Cleveland gave it right back when an attempted touch pass to a motioning Jarvis Landry was intercepted by Patriots defensive tackle Lawrence Guy. New England found the end zone two plays later when Brady connected with Julian Edelman, and, just like that, the Browns were down 17-0.
The Browns cut into New England’s lead first with Mayfield’s touchdown pass to Harris and then with a field goal on their opening drive to start the second half. New England responded with a back-breaking touchdown drive, a possession extended by a 59-yard screen to James White on third-and-10 and punctuated by a 14-yard Edelman touchdown.
From there, New England did what it’s done to its previous seven opponents. The Browns became the eighth of eight teams to manage one or fewer offensive touchdowns against the Patriots defense.
The Browns are on the road again next week when they travel to Denver.