For a moment Sunday, the Cleveland Browns appeared ready to make it a game against the New England Patriots.
Then the seemingly inevitable happened.
Cleveland shook off a first half that included turnovers on three straight offensive plays to find itself in position to cut New England’s lead to three points. But the Browns settled for a field goal after a 12-play drive to open the third quarter, cutting the Patriots lead to 17-10.
The Browns defense then was in position for force a three-and-out on the next Patriots possession. But Tom Brady found James White on a short pass that White advanced for a 59-yard gain. The series ended with Brady finding Julian Edelman for a touchdown to go up 24-10 and put an end to any hope of a Browns rally.
Milestone win for Belichick
The Patriots went on to a 27-13 victory for the 300th of Bill Belichick’s career. The victory arrived against the team that accounted for his first win as the head coach of the Browns in 1991. That win came against the New England Patriots.
With Sunday’s win, the Patriots improve to 8-0, largely courtesy of another dominant performance from their stifling defense.
For the Browns, it was another tepid showing, calling into question the competence of quarterback Baker Mayfield and head coach Freddie Kitchens. A team that appeared poised in the preseason for its first playoff run since 2002 is now 2-5.
Woeful first-half sequence for Cleveland
While the Browns threatened to make things interesting in the third quarter, they really blew any chance of competing with the Patriots with a dreadful sequence in the first half.
With the Browns trailing 3-0, running back Nick Chubb lost a fumble on a second-down run that linebacker Dont’a Hightower returned for a 26-yard touchdown to take a 10-0 New England lead.
On the next Browns snap, Chubb lost another fumble.
On the next Browns snap, Mayfield threw an interception behind the line of scrimmage on a bizarre underhanded toss that defensive lineman Lawrence Guy picked off to set up the Patriots to take a 17-0 lead.
That the Browns didn’t completely lose control of the game from that point on is the best thing that can be said for their performance.
On the day, the Patriots forced three turnovers, logged five sacks and limited the Browns to 310 yards of total offense. Mayfield threw for 194 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Brady’s 259 yards and pair of touchdowns were more than enough to secure victory.
More from Yahoo Sports: