For the second consecutive week, the New England Patriots have left their opponent questioning their own direction.
The Patriots dismantled the Browns 45-7 on Sunday at Gillette Stadium, amassing 452 total yards to Cleveland's 217 to earn their fourth consecutive victory. The Browns' offense mounted a 79-yard touchdown drive on their first possession and never scored again, while New England gashed Cleveland's top-five run defense for 184 rushing yards and two scores.
The Browns entered Sunday on the heels of a 41-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, so their dud against New England was pretty perplexing. Offensive guard Joel Bitonio used a different adjective to describe the loss while also appearing to call out his coaching staff.
"I don’t have an explanation besides we got outplayed and outcoached," Bitonio said after the game. "We were in positions where we just have to go out and execute. Our first drive we did what we wanted to do, we ran the ball, had some good passes and got a touchdown and we didn’t really have a good drive after that.
"It was embarrassing. We got embarrassed today and they deserve all the credit. They outplayed us."
Defensive end Myles Garrett also noted the Patriots "kept attacking where (the Browns) were deficient" on defense, suggesting his coaches didn't do a great job adapting to New England's game plan.
"We didn’t make adjustments, as in they kept on scoring and we weren’t countering them," Garrett said, "I mean, we need to be better."
Even quarterback Baker Mayfield seemed to include the coaching staff in his call for accountability in the organization after Sunday's loss.
"Everybody in our building has to look in the mirror and just kind of reevaluate and be accountable to themselves, to each other," Mayfield said. "Because we're sitting somewhere where we thought we'd be in a better place right now. But we're not. So it's time to reevaluate and everybody needs to hold themselves accountable."
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski and his staff certainly didn't enter Sunday with the coaching advantage against Bill Belichick, who's arguably the greatest head coach of all time and excels at making in-game adjustments. But it was puzzling to see Cleveland's offense sputter after a strong opening TD drive, and to watch its defense be consistently exploited by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Sunday's result probably was some combination of the Browns failing to execute and the Patriots continuing to roll, as New England dominated the Carolina Panthers in all phases last weekend.
Cleveland entered Gillette Stadium with the same record as the Patriots, though, and Belichick's club made it very clear who was the superior team.