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Week 8 Game Recap: Cleveland Browns 13, New England Patriots 27

What you need to know

Cleveland Browns

All things considered, this game could have been way worse for the Browns on a rainy afternoon in Foxborough. They turned the ball over three straight times in the first half, including two lost fumbles by Nick Chubb and an interception by Baker Mayfield. The defense put up a valiant effort but the turnovers gave New England excellent field position and additional scoring chances. The Browns continue to be way too sloppy, especially on offense. Cleveland was whistled for 13 penalties, including six false start penalties.

New England Patriots

N’Keal Harry and Isaiah Wynn should be off IR soon, which could change the offense for the better. 4 WR sets will have Julian Edelman as a staple, and will likely use Mo Sanu on a good chunk. The guess is Harry and Jakobi Meyers rotate initially, but Harry is more of an X receiver, so it remains to be seen how snaps shake out.

Cleveland Browns

QB Baker Mayfield, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 31 - 194 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 18 - 0
Mayfield’s play wasn’t terrible as he put together a decent outing in tough conditions against one of the top defenses in the league. He does continue to take way too many sacks as the Patriots dropped him five times. On the first drive, Mayfield hit Antonio Callaway but the pass was too far outside for Callaway to stay in bounds. He then threw too high for a wide-open Jarvis Landry in the middle of the field. Mayfield’s interception came on an odd play on the fourth drive of the game. He attempted a forward pitch to Landry but wound up pitching the ball straight into the hands of a New England defender. Mayfield’s lone touchdown was a 21-yard dime to Demetrius Harris right at the goal line. He showed excellent accuracy in hitting the wide-open tight end. On the opening drive of the second half, he found Landry for a 21-yard completion and then had Harris open deep down the left sideline. The ball to Harris was underthrown, however, hitting a Patriot defender on the back of the helmet with the pass. On the following drive, he threw an excellent back shoulder pass to Odell Beckham on the right which Beckham dropped. In the fourth quarter, Mayfield hit Rashard Higgins for around a 25-yard gain which was called back on an offensive pass interference penalty against Higgins. He then threw too high for Beckham on a deep shot on the left side of the field. Mayfield’s fantasy output hasn’t been great through seven games but Cleveland’s schedule does open up significantly going forward.

RB Nick Chubb, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 131 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets)
Chubb finished with an excellent yardage total but he lost two fumbles on consecutive carries which ruined his afternoon. Besides those lost fumbles, Chubb looked good when he got touches, operating as Cleveland’s best means of moving the ball against New England’s defense. Chubb lost a fumble on his very first carry which was picked up and returned for a defensive touchdown. Upon viewing the replay, the ball was kicked out of Chubb’s hands by a falling offensive lineman. He fumbled again on his very next carry, this time ruining what was a beautiful 44-yard run. This time, the ball was punched out by a defender at the end of the run. From that point forward, Chubb calmed down. He showed excellent vision and tackle-breaking ability on many of his runs, often ripping off large chunks of yardage.

WR Jarvis Landry, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 65 - 0 (10 targets)
Landry led the Browns in receiving in the loss. On the first drive, he got open in the middle of the field but Mayfield delivered a pass that was too high for Landry to catch. In the second quarter, he was closely covered but was able to make a catch which went for 13 yards. He followed that up with a 12-yard gain on the left side of the field. Landry was quiet in the third quarter but came back to post a productive fourth quarter. He got wide open and hauled in what was about a 30-yard reception but the play was nullified by an offensive pass interference call. The penalty was assigned to Landry but replay showed that it was Antonio Callaway who set a pick on Landry’s defender on a crossing route. He then tacked on a short seven-yard reception on the ensuing possession. The third possession of the quarter saw plenty of work for Landry. He had an incompletion on a target thrown behind him, then a 12-yard reception to the right, and then another incompletion down the middle of the field. Landry looked like he wanted a pass interference flag on that play but none came.

WR Odell Beckham, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 52 - 0 (7 targets)
Beckham was on his way to a slow outing before he caught a 31-yard pass in the fourth quarter. He predictably struggled against blanket coverage from Stephon Gilmore, one of the top cover corners in the league. His first catch was a seven-yard gain on a quick screen to the left. On the next drive, he caught another short screen, this time going for three yards. In the second quarter, he caught two more passes, a sliding seven-yard gain off play action and a four-yard gain for a first down on third-and-three. He was quiet in the third quarter, dropping his lone target on a well-thrown back shoulder pass down the right sideline. He appeared to turn around a bit late and couldn’t adjust in time to make the grab. In the fourth quarter, Beckham got open deep down the left sideline but the pass was thrown too high for him to make the leaping catch. His final catch was impressive as he made a leaping, 31-yard grab between two defenders and absorbed a big hit right after securing the ball.

TE Demetrius Harris, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 33 - 1 (3 targets)
Harris had his best game as a Brown in Week 8 against the Patriots. He caught the team’s lone touchdown, a 21-yard strike from Baker Mayfield in the second quarter. Harris got open near the end zone and was able to twist his body to cross the goal line before his defender was able to get a hit on him. In the third quarter, Harris got a step on his defender down the left sideline. Mayfield saw him but his pass was underthrown, hitting Harris’ defender in the back of the helmet. The tight end’s other catch was a 12-yard gain down the middle of the field. Harris and Ricky Seals-Jones have been alternating solid fantasy performances, making it difficult to guess who will have a big game in any given week.

New England Patriots

QB Tom Brady, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 36 - 259 - 2 TD / 0 INT
Another decent day for Tom Brady and the Patriots offense made to look better by the defense. The offense started and finished well, but had a chunk in the middle of the game where they could not get anything going. As usual, that included some offensive line missteps and one misstep from Brady that should have been an interception. With Josh Gordon gone and playing in the rain, Brady naturally focused in on Julian Edelman, who was the only consistent offensive player for the Pats. The first touchdown connection between the two was Edelman beating one on one coverage on a slant route in the middle of the field. Nothing crazy, just a touchdown with good time in pocket. The second was a great move and throw by Brady, who slide to avoid a sack in the pocket and threw a dart to Edelman while on the run. You could call it Russell Wilson-esque if Brady was...quicker. Beyond that, 59 of his 259 yards came on a screen to James White, and there wasn’t much else in the “wow” column. Another day with a so-so offense and a worldbeating defense.

RB Sony Michel, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 74 - 0
Though Sony Michel was once again a shell of his 2018 self, he did make a couple good runs that won’t show up on the stat sheet. His vision seemed better this game than in other games, with tough running at times behind an offensive line that wasn’t beating the Cleveland defensive line on most plays. Michel was also making better cuts upfield than in games prior. He didn’t get many opportunities to score in this game, though he was stuffed at the 1 yard line at one point. For better or worse, he didn’t do anything to dissuade the notion he’s still the early down guy going forward.

RB James White, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0, Rec: 4 - 75 - 0 (5 targets)
James White’s lone play of note was a screen play that went 59 yards thanks to good blocking and nifty running. Beyond that, his 6 touches were less than normal thanks to game flow and Rex Burkhead’s return, though Burkhead only touched the ball 4 times.

WR Julian Edelman, 66 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -3 - 0, Rec: 8 - 78 - 2 (11 targets)
Meet the one consistent offensive skill player for the Patriots. Julian Edelman accounted for most of the yards (that weren’t James White’s screen) for Tom Brady, catching key passes including two touchdowns. His first was a stutter slant route in one on one coverage in the middle of the field, and with about 10 yards of space to work with, he beat his defender fairly easily. His second was all Tom Brady, who avoided a sack and slung the ball while running to his right side. Edelman also had a nice 4th down conversion, and nearly had another touchdown but was tackled at the 1.

WR Phillip Dorsett, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 43 - 0 (6 targets)
Dorsett’s highlight was a chunk back shoulder catch from Tom Brady early in the game. He did get 6 targets, but wasn’t able to do much else with them.

WR Mohamed Sanu, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (5 targets)
Sanu only played about half the snaps, and made his presence known on a couple blocks and one first down conversion. He should see more snaps as he gets more familiar with the offense.

TE Ben Watson, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 26 - 0 (1 targets)
Watson had a really nice 26 yard converting catch while sliding, but wasn’t targeted much beyond that. He also blocked reasonably well on a few plays.