CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns got a glimpse of what they want to be, but unfortunately, it came in the form of a 33-13 loss to the New England Patriots at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday.
With starting quarterback Tom Brady back from a suspension that came down as a result of deflated footballs prior to the AFC Championship Game win over the Indianapolis Colts two years ago, the Patriots answered the Browns’ first score of the game with four straight of their own in the victory.
“Obviously, my hat is off to the Patriots,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “They played a heck of a game. We didn’t play as well. As I told our guys, we are going to keep working because as I said earlier, I’m very envious of that team and their organization because of what they are. Someday, we are going to have that here. That is the plan.
“My hat is off to them. They did a good job and that is how you win games. We have to keep getting better. We have to keep growing as an organization, as a football team, individually and collectively. We are not going to get frustrated by this. We are going to learn from this, grow from it and continue to get better. We understand. The part of seeing what it is going to look like in the future, it was right out there for us to see.”
In his return to action, Brady completed 28 of his 40 throws for 406 yards with three touchdowns on the way to the lopsided win for the Patriots (4-1) over the Browns (0-5). It marked the eighth time in his 17-year career that Brady threw for 400 yards in a game, and all three of those touchdown passes went to tight end Martellus Bennett.
Two of Brady’s targets, wide receiver Chris Hogan and tight end Rob Gronkowski, eclipsed the 100-yard mark. Despite being evaluated for a concussion early in the second half, Hogan turned four catches into 114 yards, while Gronkowski tallied 109 yards.
“Tom Brady is one of the best players in this league that probably ever played,” Jackson said. “Potentially, he can go do that not just to us, he has done it to a lot of people before. We all know that. It is disappointing it happened that way, but I’m not surprised by anything he does.”
Jackson described the play of the Patriots as “what we are chasing,” and acknowledged that the Browns “have a ways to go” in order to reach the level of consistency built by owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and Brady over the last 17 years.
“To be able to play against an organization and a team that kind of demonstrates what you want to be someday, it was right there for us all to see,” Jackson said. “We have to grow from this, our team does.
“Until you can get there, you have to keep reaching for it. You have to keep building to get there, and I think that is what we are attempting to do. We want to be one of the best organizations in football, so there it was. That is what you have to look at to compare and contrast of where you are trying to go. It is a good eye-opener for all because that is where we want to be.”