For the third consecutive week, the New England Patriots emerged victorious, as they overcame yet another first-half deficit on their way to victory. In beating the Cleveland Browns 27-26, New England upped it’s record to 10-3 while securing a guaranteed playoff birth in doing so.
Tom Brady’s 418-yards passing, Shane Veeren’s 12 receptions, Danny Amendola’s go-ahead touchdown grab and Stephen Gostkowski’s recovered onside kick were all major contributing components in the triumph, but it was a crushing blow to New England’s offensive juggernaut that overshadows all the greatness.
Rob Gronkowski left the game in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury after Cleveland safety T.J. Ward tackled him low around the knee area. Gronkowski was in serious visible pain before he was carted off the field. He was taken to the hospital for further observation.
There’s no official word on the extent of Gronkowski’s injury, though initial rumblings surfacing across the league indicate the Patriots fear a torn ACL. If that’s the case, he’ll be sidelined for the remainder of the season. According to the team, he’ll undergo an MRI on Monday.
New England was held scoreless until just two minutes remained in the third quarter. Instead of panicking following Gronkowski’s injury, the Patriots rose up. Brady tossed a pair of touchdowns passes in the game’s final 61-seconds.
Prior to capping off an epic comeback, Julian Edelman hauled in a big score, bringing the Patriots within striking distance. In need of a miracle, Kyle Arrington fell on top of a tumbling onside kick. Brady and the offense then took the field, drawing a big pass interference penalty on Joe Haden of the Browns.
It was New England’s first onside kick recovery since 1994.
Brady then set up shop from Cleveland’s one-yard line and threw a perfect swing pass to Amendola who dove in for the winning score. Billy Cundiff attempted a 58-yard field goal try as time expired, but it fell short, spelling the end for the Browns.