The New England Patriots made it four wins in a row on Sunday after blowing out the Cleveland Browns at Gillette Stadium, 45-7. This now has Bill Belichick's team truly in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC and is arguably the hottest team in the NFL at the moment. Not only are the Patriots stacking up wins, but they are doing it in impressive fashion. The Browns were able to get on the board first with an opening touchdown drive, but after that the Patriots rolled, scoring 45 unanswered points while the defense shut down Cleveland's offense for the bulk of the game.
Next up, New England will have a short week as they'll head down to Atlanta to face the Falcons in hope of keeping this streak alive. Before we truly dive into that matchup, let's take a look back at this most recent win and take the temperature of where various players on the roster are at coming out of Week 10.
Stock up: Mac Jones
The young quarterback continues to improve with each passing week. On Sunday, he put together his first three-touchdown performance of his career and made a number of high-level throws in the process. One of the more impressive on the day was his 23-yard strike to Kendrick Bourne for a touchdown in the second quarter. Jones was able to fit the ball in between two Browns defenders and put it in a spot where Bourne was able to make an astounding catch.
As has been the case for the bulk of the season, Jones was also extremely efficient with his throws, completing 19 of his 23 pass attempts on the day for 198 yards. The bulk of that came in the first half when Jones completed 13 of 15 for 134 yards. This was Jones' fifth game with a passer rating over 100, which is first among first-round rookies from his draft class.
Stock up: Rhamondre Stevenson
Rhamondre Stevenson took the lion's share of carries for the Patriots in Week 10 with starting running back Damien Harris out with a concussion. In his absence, the rookie totaled 100 yards rushing on 20 carries and two touchdowns. He also was a factor in the passing game, catching four of his five targets for 14 yards. What makes that performance even more impressive is that Stevenson had not practiced all week as he was in concussion protocol and was only cleared over the weekend. That ability to move the ball is obviously an encouraging sign for his prospects going forward with the Patriots, but what will likely earn him more playing time is his improved development in pass protection. He allowed no pressures on Sunday against the Browns.
Stock down: Punt return
This was the only area that struggled for the Patriots in Week 10 and will be fixed once the club's No. 1 punt returner Gunner Olszewski returns after missing Sunday's game with a concussion. In his place, Jakobi Meyers took over punt return duties and while he didn't make any game-altering mistakes, it wasn't as efficient as it should have been. He fair caught one punt and allowed three others to roll out of bounds or down the field for the Browns to touch. Had he made the fair catch on some of those punts, New England would have been working with better field position.
Stock up: Jakobi Meyers
Welcome to the end zone, Jakobi Meyers! At long last, the Patriots receiver finally scored his first career touchdown in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win. Brian Hoyer hit Meyers on the right side of the field, and the third-year receiver was able to shed his defender and raced 11 yards for the score. This was a long time coming for Meyers as he had set an NFL record for most receiving yards to begin a career without scoring a touchdown.
Immediately upon scoring, the entire Patriots sidelined raced to the end zone to celebrate with Meyers.
Stock up: Kyle Dugger
The entire defense was dominant for the Patriots on Sunday, but Kyle Dugger was the one who really sparked the blowout. The safety was able to jump out in front of a short throw by Baker Mayfield in the opening seconds of the second quarter and pick off the Browns quarterback while returning the ball 37 yards down the field. That immediately gave the Patriots the ball at the Cleveland 5-yard line and it took just five seconds for the offense to get into the end zone, courtesy of a Rhamondre Stevenson rush.
Dugger finished his day with a team-high eight tackles to go along with that interception.
Stock up: Hunter Henry
The Mac Jones-Hunter Henry combination continues to be lethal for the Patriots over this winning streak. The duo connected for two more touchdowns in Sunday's win over Cleveland, giving them seven on the season. These two sparking up this rapport has been vital to the team's success over this winning streak as they've been able to execute in the red zone at a much more efficient degree. Over the last four weeks, New England owns a 73.6% conversation rate in the red zone compared to the 44.4% rate they had over the first six weeks. A large part of that is thanks to Henry coming alive.
While Henry has made his money in the red area, the connection with Jones is popping up in the middle of the field as well. The rookie had one of his better throws of the day when targeting Henry in the third quarter on a sideline throw in coverage
Henry's career-high for touchdowns is eight which came back in his rookie season and he looks well on his way to shatter that mark in 2021.
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