New England took the second-half kickoff and immediately started moving the ball, grabbing two first downs before stalling near midfield and being forced to punt. A 13-yard Josh Cribbs return set the Browns up at their own 28.
Peyton Hillis became a workhorse on the next drive, carrying five straight times to begin the march and earning two first downs before Mike Bell got a touch. Colt McCoy then got in the act, passing for a first down to Mohamed Massaquoi. Then Hillis gained eight before McCoy struck again with a pass to the Patriots’ 11-yard line. Then McCoy broke loose for a 16-yard touchdown gallop — or did he? Yes, the touchdown counted after a lengthy delay and the extra point gave the Browns a stunning 24-7 lead with less than 21 minutes left in the game.
The Browns’ D held on the next Patriots’ drive and Cleveland got the ball back after a punt at the Browns’ 19 with three-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter.
Hillis and McCoy combined to chew up valuable time as the quarter wound down, Hillis rushing and McCoy flipping a short toss to Hillis for a first down, and then connecting with Hillis again at quarter’s-end for 29 yards to the New England 34.
The Browns still hold the lead in first downs at 18-13 and in yardage with a hundred yards more than the Pats, 323-223.