Despite the fact they were an 11.5-point favorite, the Patriots offense struggled most of the day, and late in the fourth quarter, a desperate New England was behind by 12 points with 1:04 to play. A loss coupled with a Bengals win meant New England would have fallen to the No. 3 seed in the playoffs, meaning its home-field advantage after the wild card weekend could have evaporated.
The Patriots were having a terrible day. Until, of course, they weren't, when Tom Brady hit Danny Amendola for a game-winning 1-yard touchdown with 31 seconds to play (aided, in part, by an iffy pass interference call on the Browns the play before that placed the ball at the 1-yard line)
Either way, New England survived against a team that had lost six of its last seven games. But first, the Patriots had to survive some crazy numbers in order to stop Cleveland.
•The Patriots recovered the onside kick with 60 seconds to play. As Andrew Siciliano pointed out on the Red Zone channel, it's the first onside kick recovery New England has made since 1995.
•For the second time in three weeks, the Patriots were shut out in the first half. It also happened vs. the Broncos in Week 12, but Sunday marked only the fourth time that has happened since 2006.
•In the past three weeks, the Patriots have been outscored 47-7 in the first half.
•Brady threw six passes in the first quarter. He ended up with 5 yards through the first 15 minutes.
•This didn't come to pass, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless. The last time the Browns beat the Patriots in New England was in 1992. When Bill Belichick was the coach in Cleveland.
Meanwhile, for the Browns ...
•Josh Gordon has accumulated 1,400 receiving yards this season, and that's a new franchise record for an entire year (Braylon Edwards' 1,289 was the previous mark).
•Gordon also established a new NFL record for the most receiving yards in a four-game span. From Weeks 10-14, Gordon recorded 774 yards (H/T to the Browns). The previous record was 746, set by Calvin Johnson earlier this season.
•Jason Campbell's 391 passing yards was a career high.
BY THE NUMBERS
1:39: The amount of time it took for Geno Smith to throw for more yards this week than he did last week. Last week, he threw for 29 yards. On Sunday, he surpassed that mark with a 32-yard pass to Santonio Holmes on his first attempt of the day.
4: The number of players on the Broncos squad who have scored at least 10 touchdowns (Knowshon Moreno, DeMaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, and Wes Welker). That's the first NFL team to have that many players with that many scores, via David Elfin.
7: The number of combined two-point conversions attempted by the Lions and Eagles. According to Chase Stuart, the previous NFL record was six, which occurred in 2000 when Rams kicker Jeff Wilkins left with an injury during a 45-29 victory vs. the Falcons.
50: The number of days it had been since Geno Smith last threw a touchdown.
73: The number of years to the day it's been since the Redskins were destroyed 73-0 by the Bears in the 1940 title game. Twenty minutes into the game vs. the Chiefs on Sunday, Washington was down 31-0.
97-3: The record for the Broncos when they score 30 or more points at home since 1975, via Benjamin Hochman.
217: The number of rushing yards for LeSean McCoy, who broke the franchise record for rushing yards in a game. The previous record holder was Steve Van Buren (a Hall of Famer who played from 1944-51) with 205, via Jeff McLane.
Follow Josh Katzowitz on Google+