The Cleveland Browns seem to be headed in the right direction under Eric Mangini. Not long ago, Mangini was on the hot seat. The competitive nature of the NFL makes it so coaches have a very limited amount of time to turn a struggling franchise around. With consecutive victories over the Saints and Patriots, the Browns look to be improving dramatically.
Sunday’s match-up between Cleveland and New England had trap game written all over it for the Patriots. Arguably the hottest team in football, the Pats traveled to Cleveland with the league’s best record (6-1). Four minutes into the game, they found themselves trailing Colt McCoy and company 10-0 and the Browns never looked back, winning the game with ease by a score of 34-14.
The big story of the day was Peyton Hillis, who rushed for a career high 184 yards and two touchdowns. New England couldn’t find a way to bring the big running back down and he was able to keep Tom Brady off the field, especially in the fourth quarter. The Patriots had no answer for his north-south running style and as a result weren’t able to string together any type of comeback.
Hillis will likely steal the spotlight, but Colt McCoy deserves an equal amount of credit. Statistically the rookie’s day was nothing special, but he protected the football and threw the ball well on the run, keeping a few plays alive with his legs and converting crucial first downs.
The Browns are now 2-1 since McCoy took over as the starter. They’ve played the Steelers, Saints, and Patriots during that span. You won’t find a more difficult three-game stretch than that, and at the moment it looks like Cleveland got their guy on draft day.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Duncan