You thought the win over the New Orleans Saints was awesome but, come on, did you really expect the Browns to beat the New England Patriots this week? There will be die-hard fans who say “yeah, of course, man!” but we all had our doubts. At 6-1, the Patriots looked like the Patriots of old going into this week, and the Patriots of old don’t make many mistakes and are rarely upset.
After Sunday’s game, these might not be the Browns of old anymore.
Here are five reasons the Browns managed to pull the upset over the New England Patriots:
1) Running back Peyton Hillis continues to be the MVP for the Browns, as he bulldozed the Patriots on 29 carries for 184 yards and two TDs. He also caught three passes for 36 yards, putting his total yards at 220. He was able to gash the Patriots defense up the middle and, towards the end of the game, Hillis ran to the outside with ease, picking up 10-12 yards consistently like it was the easiest thing in the world.
2) One key to the Browns winning had to be the defense’s ability to slow down the Patriots offense. Tom Brady’s slow first quarter – 1-6 for 10 yards – helped the Browns jump out to a 10-0 lead and they never let up. Brady, usually the poster boy for accurate quarterbacks, was overthrowing, underthrowing, and generally looking flustered. Tom Brady – flustered? Tom Brady – flustered – against the Browns? It was obviously just not the Pats’ day offensively, but plenty of credit has to be given to a defense surging with confidence.
3) For the third game in a row, rookie quarterback Colt McCoy looked poised as he led the offense. The only difference is that this time, he wasn’t just out there trying to not make a mistake. He was rolling out and making impressive passes, evading tackles, and looking like anything but a rookie. There’s a reason that Seneca Wallace wanted to return this week – after a performance like this, how can you bench McCoy?
4) Spreading the ball around – Mohamed Massaquoi led the way with four catches for 58 yards, and McCoy split the rest of his passes among six other players, including Hillis, Brian Robiskie, Benjamin Watson, Evan Moore, Joshua Cribbs, and Chansi Stuckey. For the Browns to continue to improve, the receivers will have to keep getting looks.
5) Once again, much of the praise has to be given to the coaching staff. For the second game in a row, the Browns looked ready from the start, didn’t hurt themselves with too many penalties, and only turned the ball over once. As bad as it sounds, it’s been a long time since the Browns have had such a good tw0-game stretch. It’s arguable that these are the two best games the Browns have played since their return in 1999, and that includes that majestic 2007 campaign.