The Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots Week 10 matchup was a big one for both teams. The winner would gain a crucial game in the AFC playoff race while simultaneously establishing a potential head-to-head tiebreaker over their opponent.
With both teams entering with a record of 5-4, it was a genuine test to see which organization is more prepared for postseason football at this stage of the year. It had all the makings of a hard-fought classic. That is, until the actual game began.
The Patriots crushed the Browns 45-7
Despite the national hype surrounding the game, the Browns and Patriots Week 10 showdown ended up being an incredibly one-sided affair. The Patriots steamrolled their way to a 45-7 victory, firmly establishing themselves as the superior AFC organization at the moment.
Rookie QB Mac Jones played his best game as a member of the Patriots to date, passing for three touchdowns and 198 yards. He was 19-for-23 on the afternoon, finishing with an awe-inspiring 82.6% completion rate.
The Patriots rushing attack was equally as strong. Rookie RB Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for 100 yards on 20 carries (two touchdowns), while the Patriots finished with 184 rushing yards as a whole.
The Patriots dominated the Browns at every turn in Foxborough. Baker Mayfield and the rest of the Browns’ offense had no answer to Bill Belichick’s always dangerous defense, and the Browns’ respective defense couldn’t stop Jones and the New England offense to save their lives. After the crushing loss, blame started being tossed around in Cleveland.
Myles Garrett blames DC Joe Woods for the loss
After the loss, Defensive Player of the Year candidate Myles Garrett was questioned about the Browns’ poor defense. He quickly highlighted a lack of adjustment.
“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and see how we can get better, see how we can scheme better, see how we can make adjustments on the fly,” Garrett said. “We never had a chance just because we didn’t make any adjustments on the sideline or when we had time to.”
When pushed for further clarity on the lack of adjustments, Garrett doubled downed on his stance.
“We didn’t make adjustments, as in they kept on scoring, and we weren’t countering them. I mean, we need to be better.”
Clearly, Garrett isn’t happy with the team’s defensive coordinator, Joe Woods.
Should the Browns explore a DC change?
The Browns have several problems that need sorting through. Most notably, starting quarterback Baker Mayfield is playing through a partial shoulder tear and had to leave the Patriots game with a lower-body injury. He’s not 100%, and it shows on Sundays.
However, the Browns can’t ignore their defensive struggles either. Despite one of the league’s best pass-rushers in Garrett, the Browns currently rank 24th in expected points contributed by the defense. That’s not good.
With an offense hobbled by an injured quarterback, the Browns need their defense to do the heavy lifting moving forward. If Joe Woods isn’t putting his players in a position to succeed, a genuine conversation about replacing him will likely occur in Cleveland.
A team’s star player criticizing a lack of adjustment is almost always a death sentence in the NFL. Woods’ seat should be feeling quite warm right about now.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.