Two touchdowns in the final 61 seconds of the game erased a 12-point deficit for the New England Patriots as they rallied late to defeat the Cleveland Browns and improve to 10-3. The game certainly wasn't without controversy though, as a pass interference penalty on a 30-yard pass attempt to the endzone set the Patriots for a game-winning touchdown.
The penalty drew criticism from many, including Chris Pokorny of SB Nation's Browns blog, Dawgs By Nature, who wasn't happy with the officiating in the game before or after the call that drew the majority of the attention:
The Browns played an excellent game offensively and defensively -- they were the more physical team and executed in all phases of the game...except for the shoddy officiating that cost Cleveland what would have been one of the more uplifting wins this franchise has had in a long time.
For the Patriots, it was another win for a team that has struggled mightily at times. Despite a 24th-ranked defense, significant injuries to several key contributors and an offense that has looked inept at times, the Patriots improved to 10-3 on Sunday, drawing praises from Alec Shane of SB Nation's Patriots blog, Pats Pulpit.
In the words of Ron Burgundy, I'm in a glass case of emotion right now and don't really know how I'm supposed to be feeling. It's Monday, it's cold, it's raining, I haven't seen a pair of yoga pants in a month, and Rob Gronkowski is the latest VIP at Club IR. But at the same time, the Patriots once again proved that they refuse to bow down to the will of the football Gods and are playing with as much grit and toughness as you will ever see across any sport. So I'm going to just roll with that.
The Patriots finished the game with 10 total yards fewer than the Browns and a -2 turnover margin, but a 58-yard, game-winning field goal attempt by Billy Cundiff fell just short and gave the Patriots the win, all but eliminating the Browns from postseason contention.
New England will look for a fourth consecutive victory when they travel to face the Miami Dolphins, while the Browns will look to avoid a fifth straight loss when they host the Chicago Bears in Week 15.