New England 33, Cleveland 13
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, October 9, 2016
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
CLEVELAND — (Wire Service Report) – Tom Brady made his return to the NFL in impressive fashion on Sunday, passing for three touchdowns and 406 yards as the New England Patriots trounced the Cleveland Browns 33-13.
Brady returned from a four-game suspension for his involvement in Deflategate in the 2014 AFC championship game to throw three touchdown passes to tight end Martellus Bennett. Brady finished 28-of-40 passing.
The Browns (0-5) are the only winless team in the NFL and for the third time in five weeks they lost more than a game.
Cody Kessler, already the third quarterback to start for the Browns this season, was knocked out of the game with chest and rib injuries late in the first quarter when he was drilled by Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower attempting a pass near the Cleveland goal line. The ball rolled out of the back of the end zone and was ruled a safety.
Robert Griffin III suffered a broken bone in his left shoulder in the opener and Josh McCown suffered a broken collarbone in the next game for the Browns. Both quarterbacks finished, but Kessler was unable to continue. Charlie Whitehurst replaced him.
New England (4-1) wasted no time washing out the taste of the 16-0 loss to the rival Bills last Sunday. The Patriots won the toss, deferred and held the Browns without a first down on Cleveland’s first possession.
The Patriots moved 80 yards on eight plays the first time they had the ball on five passes by Brady and three runs by LaGarrette Blount. Blount, who began the day second in the AFC in rushing behind the Browns’ Isaiah Crowell, finished off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run around left end.
The Browns tied the score on their second possession on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Kessler to Andrew Hawkins to the left side of the end zone. Kessler showed poise in the drive and in his three starts with the Browns, but has nothing to show for it in the win column.
The Patriots’ offense made it 14-7 on Brady’s first touchdown pass to Bennett the next time they had the ball, and following the safety increased the lead to 23-7 on a 5-yard pass from Brady to Bennett. New England scored on the opening drive of the third quarter on a 37-yard Brady-to-Bennett hook-up.
The Browns scored their second touchdown on a 17-yard pass from Whitehurst to tight end Connor Hamlett with 14:05 to play.
NOTES: The Patriots put QB Jacoby Brissett on injured reserve with a thumb injury. He is recovering from surgery. … Browns rookie DE Carl Nassib returned to the active roster after missing two games with a broken hand. … Patriots DL Woodrow Hamilton, an undrafted rookie, was activated from the practice squad. … Browns CB Tramon Williams missed his second straight game with a shoulder injury. The Browns were hopeful he could play but he was limited in practice all week.