Final, Patriots 27-26: It’s over. The Patriots did it.
Unbelievable. Bill Cundiff missed a 58-yard field goal.
There’s something special about this team. They’re still alive for the No. 1 seed.
We’ll have more on the win here on NESN.com.
Fourth quarter, :25, Patriots 27-26: The Patriots got a cheap pass interference call and scored on a pass to Danny Amendola. The crowd went absolutely nuts. They missed the two-point conversion.
Fourth quarter, 1:00, Browns 26-21: The Patriots got the first score out of the way. Shane Vereen and Julian Edelman got New England down the field. Brady hit Edelman for the touchdown.
The Patriots then recovered the onside kick, which was reviewed and upheld. Patriots ball at Cleveland’s 40.
Fourth quarter, 2:39, Browns 26-14: It’s suddenly not looking so good for New England. And fans are filtering out of the stadium.
Josh Gordon got 34 yards on an end around. Jordan Cameron picked up a handful when he was left wide open on the right side of the field. He finished the drive with a touchdown. He was wide open yet again.
New England has to score twice in less than three minutes without Rob Gronkowski.
Fourth quarter, 5:43, Browns 19-14: It took the Patriots over five minutes, but they just cut the lead to 19-14 with a 50-yard field goal.
Brady was charged with a very questionable intentional grounding penalty. It appeared he threw it to Julian Edelman, but the flag was thrown late. Matthew Mulligan nearly made up for it with a 15-yard catch and run, but New England couldn’t convert on third and 6 and had to settle for three.
Fourth quarter, 11:31, Browns 19-11: The Patriots have a shot here if they can move the ball 81 yards. Last drive it was all on Shane Vereen.
Rob Ninkovich ended Cleveland’s drive on a big sack. That finally livened up the crowd.
Third quarter, :06, Browns 19-11: This one may not be over just yet. Shane Vereen brought the Patriots down the field with a 50-yard grab and a 16-yard catch before running the ball in for a 6-yard touchdown.
Julian Edelman caught the two-point conversion after the Browns were called for holding on the first attempt.
Third quarter, 1:25, Browns 19-3: Well, the Browns responded quickly. In just 12 seconds, in fact. Jason Campball hit Josh Gordon for an 80-yard touchdown. He stiff armed Aqib Talib and sped the rest of the way.
Third quarter, 1:37, Browns 12-3: The Patriots are on the board. And it’s mostly thanks to LeGarrette Blount’s first catch of the season.
New England still trails by nine points as the third quarter is wrapping up. They’ll need to score quickly if they want to win this one.
Third quarter, 5:23, Browns 12-0: The Patriots’ defense continues to step up, when they’re not quitting on plays, that is.
The drive ended with a nice pass breakup by Kyle Arrington.
Third quarter, 8:08, Browns 12-0: Gronkowski could barely stand on his right knee. Matthew Mulligan had to help him get on the cart.
On the next play, Brady was sacked and fumbled.
Third quarter, 8:27, Browns 12-0: Rob Gronkowski just got drilled in the right knee by T.J. Ward on a long reception. His knee bent the wrong way. The cart is coming out for the big tight end.
Third quarter, 10:15, Browns 12-0: Well that was a bizarre 40-yard touchdown. Aqib Talib got called for illegal hands to the face, fell and didn’t bother to get up. Devin McCourty tried to chase Gary Barnidge, but the tight end was able to run it in for a touchdown. It appears everyone on the Patriots thought it was going to be a penalty on Cleveland. It wasn’t. I think everyone’s going to get chewed out for quitting on that play, especially Talib.
Third quarter, 12:09, Browns 6-0: So much for second-half dominance from the Patriots’ offense. They got one first down on that drive.
Tom Brady got drilled by Jabaal Sheard. Nate Solder let up the sack. New England faced second and 28. They got 8 yards back on a pass to Edelman and another 15 on a dump off to Vereen.
End half, Browns 6-0: What an uneventful half from the Patriots. Their defense played well, but the opponent has to be considered.
They allowed 184 yards and put up 130. Brady completed just 7 of 19 passes for 95 yards and an interception.
If this game follows the pattern of the second half of the season, New England will come out firing.
Second quarter, 1:06, Browns 6-0: The Patriots couldn’t grab a score with just over three minutes left in the first half. Brady has had trouble connecting with Gronkowski so far. Gronk believed he was interfered with and stopped his route before the ball got to him.
The Browns have the ball on their 8.
Second quarter, 3:23, Browns 6-0: The Browns couldn’t get very far and had to punt. Jamie Collins made a great play when he leapt up and swatted Jason Campbell’s pass. Campbell also completed a pass over Aqib Talib to Josh Gordon. It was the first throw in Devin McCourty’s direction in two weeks.
Second quarter, 6:51, Browns 6-0: Another very ugly offensive possession from New England.
The best play was a 15-yard completion by Josh Boyce. The worst was a Boyce drop on a screen.
Actually, the best play was Ryan Allen’s punt. The Browns have the ball at their own 12-yard line.
Second quarter, 8:13, Browns 6-0: The Browns’ running backs are shockingly bad. Faced with third and 1, they actually lost yards trying to pick up the first down.
The Patriots have the ball on their own 32.
Second quarter, 10:16, Browns 6-0: The Patriots once again forgot the game started at 1 p.m. ET. This team may be on central time. Or mountain time.
New England picked up a couple first downs, but the drive ended on a drop from Edelman, a Brady sack and an incompletion to Vereen.
Second quarter, 14:45, Browns 6-0: The Patriots have come out looking ugly again, but Cleveland’s not looking a whole lot better.
The Browns settled for a field goal after a false start and an incompletion.
End first quarter, Browns 3-0: Not much happening here in Foxboro so far. The Patriots have missed some tackles to put the Browns inside the red zone.
Even New England’s terrible run defense isn’t having much trouble with Cleveland’s rough running back corps. Willis McGahee has lost a step or five.
First quarter, 3:31, Browns 3-0: That didn’t take long. The D’Qwell Jackson picked off Tom Brady. It was headed for Josh Boyce, who wasn’t overly aggressive in his route.
A flag was thrown on the previous play for intentional grounding, but the ref missed that the ball landed at LeGarrette Blount’s feet. It’s another rough first half for New England. And the refs.
The Browns have the ball at their own 39-yard line.
UPDATE: Something about a bean bag. Ball is at the 44-yard line.
First quarter, 4:54, Browns 3-0: The Patriots forced Cleveland to punt, but it looks like they may have lost Alfonzo Dennard.
Dennard was going for a fumble and stayed down with what looked like a shoulder injury. He jogged off the field and headed to the bench where he was being looked at by Dr. Thomas Gill. He was rocking back and forth in pain. Dennard then jogged off to the locker room.
Dennard was only playing in the nickel defense. Logan Ryan got the start in the “regular” package.
First quarter, 8:32, Browns 3-0: What a crappy start for the Patriots’ offense.
Brady chucked two incompletions to Rob Gronkowski, then Shane Vereen caught a five-yard pass on third and 10. Ryan Allen punted. The Browns have the ball on their own 22-yard line.
First quarter, 9:18, Browns 3-0: The Patriots should have had the ball after Dont’a Hightower forced a Greg Little fumble, but the officiating crew blew the whistle a little too quickly and it was ruled forward progress instead. Hightower stopped Little for no yards, but forced the ball out and recovered it.
The Browns came away with a field goal after moving the ball down the field pretty easily until they got too far into Patriots territory.
Josh Boyce is back to take the kickoff.
First quarter, 15:00: Stevan Ridley may not take many carries today, but he was leading the pregame pump-up huddle, as usual.
The Patriots won the toss and chose to defer.
12:39 p.m.: With this being the last home game before Christmas, the Patriots and Gillette Stadium are going all out with the holiday cheer today. Pat Patriot and the Patriots cheerleaders are decked out in Santa outfits and there was a Yule log cake with the pregame meal. I got into the spirit with a red, green and white tartan tie.
We’re 21 minutes away from kickoff. Most of the Patriots faithful have yet to enter Gillette Stadium.
12:19 p.m.: Tom Brady took the field to Jay Z’s “Public Service Annoucement,” as per usual, then greeted Brian Hoyer at midfield.
With Thompkins officially out, Matthew Mulligan, James Develin and Austin Collie will all get more play. New England may try Josh Boyce at receiver again, but he has struggled in that role all season. We’ll likely see him back at kick returner again. He’s an exciting option on special teams.
11:34 a.m.: The inactives are out. Steve Beauharnais, Aaron Dobson, Brandon Bolden, Jake Bequette, Michael Hoomanawanui, Kenbrell Thompkins and Marcus Cannon are inactive.
That means Stevan Ridley and Alfonzo Dennard are active for New England.
11:28 a.m.: Alfonzo Dennard was out on the field stretching and warming up with the rest of the defensive backs. That’s a good sign for his status today. We have not seen Kenbrell Thompkins yet. We’ll get the inactives in a couple minutes.
10:52 a.m.: Stevan Ridley is expected to play this afternoon, as first reported by Nick Underhill of MassLive.com. Ridley is not expected to get many touches. LeGarrette Blount and Shane Vereen should be the team’s main running backs.
The name to watch on the inactive list is Kenbrell Thompkins. If he can’t go with his hip injury, Austin Collie will get an increased role.
I’m down here at Gillette Stadium now. It’s cold but mild.
8 a.m. ET: For the third time in four weeks, Tom Brady is forced to go up against a top five defense.
Lucky for Brady, and the Patriots, the signal caller has fared pretty well in recent weeks. Brady torched the Texans last week for 371 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while completing 70.7 percent of his passes despite Houston’s defense’s No. 3 ranking in the league. New England couldn’t beat the Panthers, but Brady still completed 72.5 percent of his attempts for 296 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Carolina is ranked second in the NFL in yards per game.
The Browns are ranked No. 4 in yards against but 19th in points allowed.
“They’ve got a good team, good defense, I think they’re ranked pretty high,” Brady said on Wednesday. “Again, I feel like every week I’m about to talk about the top-10 defense, but they’re like fourth or fifth in all the categories, and really good. Stout up front, and Joe Haden’s one of the best cover guys in the league, so it’s a good group. We’ve got to somehow put together 60 good minutes. Hopefully we can do that.”
Cleveland’s defensive ranking might not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s surely been pumped up inside the walls of Gillette Stadium this week. The Patriots are taking the Browns seriously despite their 4-8 record.
As for the Patriots’ defense, they’re stuck going up against Jason Campbell, the toughest of the four possible quarterbacks they could have faced this week. Campbell has faced New England twice. The Patriots won both games.
The Patriots will have to win out to have any chance at the No. 1 seed in the AFC this season. Denver would also have to lose. To win out, New England has to avoid a let down game. That starts this week against Cleveland.
Stay here at NESN.com for all the latest updates leading up the Browns-Patriots. Kick off is at 1 p.m.
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