Johnson returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown
and Corey Dillon rushed for 98 yards and two TDs before halftime as
the Patriots cruised to a 42-15 laugher over the Cleveland Browns
"A lot of things bounced our way," Patriots quarterback Tom
Brady said. "It all started with Bethel."
After catching Phil Dawson's kick, Johnson headed up field as
bodies began stacking up near the 20-yard line. In a blink, he was
"There were three different lanes," Johnson said. "I chose
the one that was the widest."
Johnson scored untouched and the overmatched Browns (3-9) barely
laid a hand on the Patriots, who have won five straight games since
having their NFL record 21-game winning streak stopped.
New England didn't care if Cleveland had an interim coach, a raw
rookie quarterback making his first pro start or backups on both
side because of injuries. The Patriots showed the Browns no mercy.
World champions rarely do.
"There's a reason why they are the Super Bowl champions,"
Browns rookie QB Luke McCown said. "We have a long way to go
before we're at that level."
Randall Gay ran in a fumble 41 yards for a TD early in the
second half as the Patriots (11-1) continued the best start in
franchise history and won for the 26th time in 27 regular-season
It would have been easy for New England to look past the Browns,
who lost their sixth straight game just days after coach Butch
Davis' sudden resignation. He picked the perfect week to bow out.
New England coach Bill Belichick had the Patriots ready, and
they didn't hold back against the demoralized Browns, who are
hoping to play well enough to convince owner Randy Lerner to keep
interim coach Terry Robiskie around for good.
The Patriots took control right from the opening kick.
"You kind of knew something like that was going to happen,"
McCown said. "That's kind of the way the whole week has been."
The 42 points were the most scored by the Patriots since Sept.
15, 2002, a 44-7 win at the New York Jets.
Brady passed for 157 yards and a touchdown before taking a seat
late in the third with the Patriots up by five TDs. Dillon, who
bruised his leg in the first half, carried just once in the second
half and finished with 100 yards -- his seventh 100-yard game this
Brady's 44-yard TD pass to David Patten made it 42-7, meaning
the Browns, who lost 58-48 at Cincinnati a week ago, had given up
100 points in 96:50.
It's the most points the Browns have ever given up in
consecutive games since joining the NFL in 1950.
"We got manhandled," Robiskie said, "but guys were still
fighting in the end."
Problem was, so were the Patriots.
Even with his team leading by 35 in the third quarter, Belichick
refused to call off his defense and continued to blitz the
inexperienced McCown, who was sacked on three straight plays.
"Once they crossed midfield, we were trying to keep them out of
the end zone," Belichick said. "That's what you try to do on
McCown finished 20-of-34 for 277 yards and threw his first two
career TD passes, both to Antonio Bryant. After each of his scoring
tosses, McCown pointed skyward in tribute to Tim Treadwell, his
24-year-old cousin who was electrocuted recently.
"He was in my heart," McCown said.
Dillon scored from the 5 and 1 as the Patriots opened a 21-0
lead in the second quarter. The Browns scored with 50 seconds left
before halftime, but the Patriots got the points back when Richard
Seymour stripped William Green and the ball was scooped up by Gay,
who zigzagged his way to the end zone.
Robiskie benched Green after the fumble. ... Bryant had 115
yards, becoming the first Browns receiver with consecutive 100-yard
games since Webster Slaughter in 1989. ... Dillon has 1,111 yards
in 11 career games against Cleveland. ... Browns S Chris Crocker
sprained his left elbow. ... With Lerner searching for a general
manager, Browns Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown said Ravens
general manager Ozzie Newsome would be a perfect fit. "I think
he'd like to turn things around here," Brown said. "Being from
Cleveland, I believe he might be interested." ... Another
candidate for Cleveland's GM job could be Phil Savage, the Ravens'
player personnel director. "I'm really not allowed to say anything
for four or five weeks," Savage said. "But the Cleveland job is
something like what I've been waiting for, because there seems as
if there are no strings attached."