The New England Patriots took no prisoners in Week 10 against the Cleveland Browns. After giving up an early touchdown to their opponent, they scored 45 unanswered points to blow up a team entering the game with a 5-4 record.
Considering the quality of the opposition, this was arguably the most complete performance of any Patriots team since Tom Brady’s departure after the 2019 season. That said, let’s take a look at the many winners and the only loser in the team’s 45-7 defeat.
Gagnant : QB Mac Jones
Mac Jones continues to show why the Patriots felt confident by handing him the keys to offense despite his rookie status. The 15th overall in this year’s draft was almost flawless against a league-best-ranked Browns defense: he made 19 of 23 attempted passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns before giving way to the substitute. Brian Hoyer at the end of the game.
Jones accepted what the defense offered, but he was also not afraid to thread the needle. His 26-yard pass over the shoulder to Jakobi Meyers on the third down and his touchdown to Kendrick Bourne two games later were prime examples – and two of the best throws of his young career.
Winner: RB Rhamondre Stevenson
Without Damien Harris, the Patriots had to rely on another rookie to carry the load in the running game. Rhamondre Stevenson answered the call and delivered the best game of his career. Not only was he called up again as a wide receiver – finishing with four receptions for 14 yards – he was the missing workhorse for New England with Harris on the sidelines.
Playing 37 offensive snaps, he carried football 20 times for exactly 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The offensive line helped him flaunt those numbers, but Stevenson himself also found positive yards when none appeared to be there. Look no further than his tough run at the start of New England’s 99-yard touchdown.
Gagnant : LB Ja’Whaun Bentley & LB Kyle Van Noy
Nick Chubb’s Covid-19 diagnosis was a blow to the Browns’ running game, but the team’s impressive offensive line was still intact before the game. Nonetheless, the New England linebacker had a formidable outing against Unity. Sure, D’Ernest Johnson finished with 99 yards on 19 carries for a healthy 5.2 yard average, but many of his carries were inconsistent.
Ja’Whaun Bentley and Kyle Van Noy stood out in particular. The former had a tackle for the loss on the third down and continues to play impressive football after a disappointing 2020 campaign; the latter forced a fumble and also recorded a sack. Have a good day to you both.
Winner: offensive line
The Patriots have revamped their offensive line a bit, using a right tackle spin with Trent Brown starting and Michael Onwenu taking the field in some situations. Regardless of who was on the field, however, the unit was outstanding: New England rushed for a peak of 186 yards and two touchdowns on 32 knee-less carries, while Mac Jones was only sacked two. times.
The struggling New England offensive line era seems to be behind the unit, with one player in particular deserving a shout out: left tackle Isaiah Wynn wasn’t perfect, but he certainly held up against the NFL bag leader Myles Garrett.
Perdant : PR Jakobi Meyers
With Gunner Olszewski out with a concussion the week before, the Patriots looked to Jakobi Meyers for a punt return. He finished the game with a good catch, while still allowing three more punts to touch the ground and go out of bounds or be fielded by the Browns.
Meyers didn’t make any gross mistakes, but at least he didn’t manage to catch some of those kicks, gave Cleveland a cheap extra few yards.
All that said …
Gagnant : WR Jakobi Meyers & WR Kendrick Bourne
Jakobi Meyers is finally out of the schneid. The No.135 career reception was the first to see him find the end zone for a touchdown. The third-year wide receiver sent a short pass from Brian Hoyer in the fourth quarter, broke a tackle and recovered the ball for 11 yards. Afterwards, apparently, the whole New England bench came to congratulate him. Talk about a monkey falling from its back.
As for Kendrick Bourne, he was the chain mover for the Patriots on Sunday. Finishing the game with four catches, he won a high 98 yards and moved the sticks to each of them. His best reception of the day came in the second quarter, when he capped the 99-yard New England rally with a spectacular 23-yard catch between two defensemen. Bourne also gained 43 yards on three transfers to finish with 141 yards of scrimmage.
Gagnant : TE Hunter Henry
By now, Hunter Henry appears to have established himself as one of the league’s most trusted red zone targets. Adding two more touchdowns to take his tally to seven this season – all inside the 20-yard line – the freshman Patriot continues to show a huge connection with Mac Jones.
That day, Henry made four catches for 38 yards. He also helped New England assert its will in the racing game.
Gagnant : S Kyle Dugger
The second-year Patriots safety arguably made the biggest defensive play of the day. With the game tied at 7-7 early in the second quarter, he intercepted Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and returned the 37-yard pick to the Cleveland 5-yard line. A game later, Rhamondre Stevenson found the end zone to give the team a 14-7 lead.
New England never looked back and Dugger’s interception turned out to be one of the crucial games of the day. He also added six tackles in defense and two more in the kicking game.