Patriots bury Browns, Belichick ties Halas with 324th win

CLEVELAND (AP) – Rookie backup Bailey Zappa threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns in his third NFL game, Bill Belichick tied George Halas for second on the all-time list with his 324th victory, and the New England Patriots buried the Cleveland Browns 38 -15 on Sunday.

Zappe, starting his second game in place of the injured Mac Jones, threw second-half TD passes to Tyquan Thornton and Hunter Henry as the Patriots (3-3) pulled away from the anemic Browns. Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for two touchdowns for New England.

Zappe completed 24 of 34 passes on the week after throwing for 188 yards and a touchdown in his first start last week in a 29-0 win over Detroit.

Belichick, who is 324-159 including the playoffs, has a chance to pass Halas next Monday night at home against Chicago – a franchise with which Halas has won all of his games.

The Patriots offense took a while to get going in this one, and the Browns (2-4) never did.

Late in the first half, Stevenson broke through, bounced left and raced down the sideline for a 31-yard score.

Early in the second half, Zappe connected with Jonnu Smith for 53 yards to drive down to the Browns 20, and tight end Hunter Henry’s 13-yard completion set up a first-and-goal at the 2. Three plays later, Tyquan Thornton grabbed Zappe’s short throw in the end zone .

Patriots linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley hit Jacoby Brissett as he threw, leading to a Jalen Mills pick that gave them the ball at the Cleveland 40. Three plays later, Zappe found a wide open Henry, who ran untouched for the 31 – touchdown and a 24-6 New England lead.

The Browns’ offense held Cade York to just a pair of first-half field goals.

Cleveland’s Nick Chubb, who entered as the NFL’s leading rusher, didn’t have a double-digit gain until late in the third quarter. He had 23 yards rushing and 14 receiving in that drive, but the Browns stalled again – and York went 51 yards.

Chubb finished with 12 catches for 56 yards, both season lows.

Brissett, who finished 21 for 45 for 266 yards with two interceptions, threw a 15-yard scoring pass to Amari Cooper in the fourth quarter, but the 2-point attempt fell short, leaving it a two-point game with 6:22 left.

New England sealed it with a 19-yard touchdown run by Thornton. Brissett fumbled the ball on the Browns’ next drive, which led to Stevenson’s second TD, a 6-yard plunge with 3:40 left.

It was the most points Cleveland has allowed this season and its worst loss.


Patriots: WR Kendrick Bourne left in the second quarter with a toe injury. … DL Christan Barmore (knee) was helped off the field in the second quarter and was ruled out. … Cody Davis suffered a knee injury in the first half and did not return.

Browns: DE Myles Garrett was helped off the field in the second half. … Pro Bowl RG Wyatt Teller left in the second quarter with a calf injury.


Patriots: Host the Bears on “Monday Night Football” on Oct. 24.

Browns: They will face the AFC North rival Ravens next Sunday in Baltimore.


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