After the Patriots beat the Texans last weekend, Texans defensive end Antonio Smith joked that the Patriots had spied on the team because they seemed to know all of Houston’s defensive adjustments.
If anyone was spying this week, it was the Browns. The Browns have shut out the Patriots through 30 minutes in New England and hold a 6-0 lead at the half. The Patriots have been held to 130 yards, eight first downs and four punts by the Cleveland defense thus far. Tom Brady was intercepted by D’Qwell Jackson in the first quarter and sacked once on his way to an ugly 7-of-19 for 91 yards in the first half.
The Browns offense hasn’t been nearly as impressive as the defense, but they haven’t turned the ball over and that’s allowed them to run 40 plays and hold the ball for nearly 20 minutes. Jason Campbell is 14-of-23 for 125 yards, but the team hasn’t gotten much of anything on the ground thus far. If they can control the ball and the clock, though, their defense will have a chance to hold on if they can continue to confound Brady.
Easier said than done, even on days that start off as poorly as this one has for the Patriots quarterback.