Monday, November 8, 2010
Peyton Hillis takes it right at the Patriots
The Cleveland Browns have won back to back games for the first time this season after beating the New England Patriots 34-14 on Sunday. Peyton Hillis ran for a career-high 184 yards, the most rush yards by one player against the Patriots since Ricky Williams rushed for 185 yards on December 29, 2002. New England couldn’t stop Hillis even though he attacked the same way he has all season -- and attacked the Pats’ strength as well.
Hillis carried the ball six times for 59 yards (9.8 yds per carry) and a touchdown Sunday when the Patriots had eight or more defenders in the box. Entering Week 9, New England had allowed only 1.3 yards per carry with eight in the box, fourth-best in the NFL. Hillis also rushed for three first downs in those situations, half the total that the Patriots had allowed in their first seven games this season.
Of his 29 carries, Hillis ran the ball 21 times for 133 yards and a touchdown on attempts between the tackles (72.4 percent). Entering Week 9, only 49ers RB Frank Gore (69.5) had a higher percentage of his carries go up the middle than Hillis (65.4).
The Browns are one of a select group of teams to occasionally run the "Amoeba" defense, aptly nicknamed because of its shapeless, ever-changing appearance. The formation, consisting of at least five defensive players in the box with one or fewer down linemen, creates confusion for the quarterback in assigning protection and makes the defense more versatile in pass-coverage schemes. It was very effective in slowing down the Pats’ passing game Sunday.
New England turned the ball over three times after committing just six turnovers in their first seven games. On the bright side though, Aaron Hernandez had two TD receptions, the first Patriots rookie with two receiving TDs in a game since Clarence Weathers in 1983.
FROM THE ELIAS SPORTS BUREAU: The Patriots were the only NFL team to start the weekend with just one loss. Cleveland’s victory makes this the first season since 1959 in which every NFL team lost at least two of its first eight games. (There were only 12 NFL teams when this last happened.)