Tuesday, November 9, 2010
AFC North Week 9 decisive moment
By James Walker
There were warning signs early that it wasn't going to be the New England Patriots' day during their 34-14 blowout loss to the Cleveland Browns. But the biggest sign was a play right before halftime that sealed New England's fate.
With New England trailing by 10 points, Patriots rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski caught a 6-yard pass and fought to get in the end zone. Browns safety Abram Elam made a great effort to strip Gronkowski of the football and recovered it at Cleveland's 2-yard line.
The play erased seven points from the board for New England, and the Patriots never got closer than 10 points the rest of the game. Cleveland scored a touchdown on its first offensive possession of the third quarter to go up 24-7 and killed the clock the rest of the second half.
It was that kind of day as New England (6-3), which had three turnovers and was uncharacteristically sloppy. Cleveland (3-5) stayed one step ahead the entire game. Browns coach Eric Mangini learned how to play efficient football from Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and in this game Cleveland was certainly the more efficient team.