The New England Patriots came into tonight’s game with the fourth-most points scored in NFL history and with the fifth-most rushing yards in NFL franchise history, but a 25-point deficit ended up with the Browns playing without star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
The Patriots were also without their starting running back DeAngelo Williams, who has missed the last five games with a hamstring injury.
It’s the fourth straight year in which New England has struggled to get the job done, and it’s something that coach Bill Belichick said he expects to improve.
“This year we have been able to get a little bit of pace going, and I’m confident we’ll be able to stay on that path,” Belichick said.
“It’s just a matter of having that confidence that we can execute our plan.”
The Browns led 31-21 with 1:05 remaining in the first overtime period when wide receiver Terrance Williams broke loose from the pocket and ran for a 6-yard touchdown pass to get their lead back to three points.
But the Patriots came back to take control of the game, driving the ball into the end zone from six yards out and giving themselves a 28-26 lead with 2:13 remaining.
Williams had three catches for 54 yards and another score.
The Browns had a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that went down to the final play.
Running back Isaiah Crowell had a 9-yard score on a 3-yard run to cut the lead to 30-26, and wide receiver Justin Blackmon finished with a career-best three catches, including a 14-yarder.
The last time the Browns were able to win by a touchdown was in 2016, when they lost by a final score of 31-28.
“We’ve got to be able [to] keep working, keep getting better and continue to get better,” Browns quarterback Brock Osweiler said.