|New England Patriots||17||0||7||3||27|
The Browns were the offseason darlings. A set of moves caused optimism throughout Cleveland that had not been seen since Peyton Hillis. Unfortunately, none of the moves panned out nearly as well as hoped. Now the Brownsing Browns came off a bye to face off the current best team in the NFL.
One noteworthy matchup to watch was Sony Michel vs. Nick Chubb. Two Georgia running backs; Michel picked first and Chubb dominating play. Only two things could stop Nick Chubb this game: The torrential rains falling across Massachusetts that day and Cleveland Head Coach Freddie Kitchens. First, the weather: Chubb’s first carry around the right side of the line of scrimmage slipped out. Hightower picked it up for a touchdown. Unwilling to accept defeat, Chubb took the next play from scrimmage and broke through four tackles for a touchdown…except for the part where Jones knocked the ball loose and McCourty recovered. I’ll give Kitchens some credit here. If Belichick were coaching, Chubb would be benched for the day. But Kitchens trusted him enough for twenty more carries in the game. The way Chubb was running, it probably should have been forty.
Further credit to Kitchens: he tried to be creative and make something happen. Allow me to explain what was supposed to happen: On the snap, Mayfield fakes a handoff to Chubb running left. The ball is then tossed to Jarvis Landry, moving from slot-left to the right. He follows the Left Tackle who was pulled to assist in blocking on a run to the right. What actually happened, though, was that Lawrence Guy saw the tackle being pulled, burst into the backfield, and beat Landry to the spot the ball was going. This gave him probably the easiest interception of his life. The Patriots defense forced three turnovers on three consecutive Browns’ plays.
For the Patriots, newly acquired WR Mohamed Sanu struggled to make a major impact, though he did make two clutch catches. Kicker Mike Nugent’s low kicks proved to be a problem as one was blocked. He would be dropped in favor of Nick Folk. The Browns headed off to Denver, the Patriots went into Baltimore to face their hardest test of the year against a surging Ravens team and a ridiculous Lamar Jackson.