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Brady, Patriots rally past Browns

Foxboro, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Another sluggish start. Another nail-biting finish for the New England Patriots.

Tom Brady threw two touchdowns passes 30 seconds apart inside of the two- minute warning and the AFC East-leading Patriots rallied for a 27-26 win over the Cleveland Browns at Gillette Stadium.

New England (10-3) orchestrated its third consecutive comeback win without tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was carted off the field in the third quarter after suffering what is believed to be a torn ACL.

Gronkowski caught a pass from Brady up the seam before his right knee absorbed the brunt of a hit by defensive back T.J. Ward. After being tended to by medical personnel, Gronkowski was helped onto a cart. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday to confirm the injury.

"It hurts to see any of those guys go down," Brady said. "Certainly with Gronk, and we've sustained some pretty big injuries this year with really important, critical players, so we've got to just keep bouncing back."

Cleveland quarterback Jason Campbell acquitted himself very well in a return from a concussion and seemingly had the Browns in position to win after his third touchdown pass gave them a 26-14 lead with 2:39 remaining in the fourth quarter.

But Brady quickly drove the Patriots 82 yards and capped the 11-play sequence with a 2-yard TD pass to Julian Edelman in the back of the end zone with 1:01 to play. Edelman maintained possession despite a big hit by defensive back Jordan Poyer, who was flagged for making contact with a defenseless receiver.

The Patriots then recovered an onside kick at the Cleveland 40 and a pass interference penalty on defensive back Leon McFadden set New England up at the Cleveland 1 because the infraction occurred in the end zone.

On the next snap, Brady rolled to his right and found Danny Amendola for the go-ahead score with 31 seconds left. The Patriots went for two and failed, giving the Browns an opportunity at winning with a field goal.

Cleveland nearly pulled it off.

Three completions by Campbell moved the ball to the New England 40, where Campbell spiked the ball to stop the clock with one second remaining.

Billy Cundiff's 58-yard try was short, however.

Brady finished with 418 yards and one interception on 32-of-52 passing.

Running back Shane Vereen was targeted 17 times by Brady and he made 12 grabs for 153 yards. He added a rushing touchdown for New England, which trailed 19-3 late in the third quarter.

The Patriots remain three games ahead of the second-place Dolphins in the division standings and can clinch their fifth straight AFC East title with a win next week at Miami.

Campbell, who missed last week's contest against Jacksonville, completed 29- off-44 passes for 391 yards, but the Browns (4-9) still lost their fourth game in a row.

Tight end Jordan Cameron and wideout Josh Gordon both had stellar performances for Cleveland. Cameron posted 121 yards and a touchdown on nine receptions, while Gordon totaled 151 yards and a score on seven grabs.

"Obviously, very disappointed in the outcome of the game. Not disappointed in the effort of our team and how they played today," said Browns coach Rob Chudzinski.

New England has developed a recent knack at getting off to slow starts before rallying in the second half. The Patriots trailed 17-7 at halftime in Houston last Sunday, a week after falling behind 24-0 at the half to the visiting Denver Broncos. Both times they battled back to win 34-31, the latter in overtime.

The Patriots were down 6-0 after 30 minutes to the Browns.

Their deficit grew to 12-0 when tight end Gary Barnidge caught a 40-yard TD pass. Cleveland failed on a two-point conversion.

Brady lost a fumble on the play following Gronkowski's injury, but the Browns were forced to punt.

New England finally got on the board via a Stephen Gostkowski 33-yard field goal with 1:37 left.

Gordon answered on the first play of the subsequent Cleveland drive. He caught a short toss and outran both Aqib Talib and Devin McCourty for an 80-yard TD.

Vereen factored in all three plays on the next New England possession. After receptions of 50 and 16 yards, he took a handoff and ran up the middle for a 6-yard TD. A two-point conversion closed the gap to 19-11 with six seconds remaining in the third.

Gostkowski drilled a 50-yarder in the fourth quarter before Cameron caught what appeared to be the decisive touchdown with under three minutes to play.

Game Notes

The Patriots have now won at least 10 games in 11 straight seasons ... Gordon set a Browns record for the most receiving yards in a single season with 1,400. He broke Braylon Edwards' mark of 1,289 in 2007 ... Gordon became the first Browns player to register four straight 100-yard receiving games ... Gordon (774) surpassed Calvin Johnson (746) for the NFL record for most receiving yards in a four-game span ... Brady became the first quarterback to throw for over 300 yards against the Browns this season ... Gostkowski has made 22 straight fourth-quarter field goals. His second field goal Sunday was the 200th of his career ... The Browns suffered their fifth straight loss at New England ... Patriots running back Stevan Ridley played Sunday after being inactive last week against the Texans due to fumbling problems.

12/08 18:33:00 ET

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Standings

 2013 American Football Conference Standings 
East Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-New England 12 4 0 .750 444 338 8-0 4-4 4-2 9-3
NY Jets 8 8 0 .500 290 387 6-2 2-6 3-3 5-7
Miami 8 8 0 .500 317 335 4-4 4-4 2-4 7-5
Buffalo 6 10 0 .375 339 388 4-4 2-6 3-3 5-7
 
North Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Cincinnati 11 5 0 .688 430 305 8-0 3-5 3-3 8-4
Pittsburgh 8 8 0 .500 379 370 5-3 3-5 4-2 6-6
Baltimore 8 8 0 .500 320 352 6-2 2-6 3-3 6-6
Cleveland 4 12 0 .250 308 406 3-5 1-7 2-4 3-9
 
South Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Indianapolis 11 5 0 .688 391 336 6-2 5-3 6-0 9-3
Tennessee 7 9 0 .438 362 381 3-5 4-4 2-4 6-6
Jacksonville 4 12 0 .250 247 449 1-7 3-5 3-3 4-8
Houston 2 14 0 .125 276 428 1-7 1-7 1-5 2-10
 
West Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Denver 13 3 0 .813 606 399 7-1 6-2 5-1 9-3
x-Kansas City 11 5 0 .688 430 305 5-3 6-2 2-4 7-5
x-San Diego 9 7 0 .563 396 348 5-3 4-4 4-2 6-6
Oakland 4 12 0 .250 322 453 3-5 1-7 1-5 4-8
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
 2013 National Football Conference Standings 
East Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Philadelphia 10 6 0 .625 442 382 4-4 6-2 4-2 9-3
Dallas 8 8 0 .500 439 432 5-3 3-5 5-1 7-5
NY Giants 7 9 0 .438 294 383 4-4 3-5 3-3 6-6
Washington 3 13 0 .188 334 478 2-6 1-7 0-6 1-11
 
North Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Green Bay 8 7 1 .531 417 428 4-3-1 4-4 3-2-1 6-5-1
Chicago 8 8 0 .500 445 478 5-3 3-5 2-4 4-8
Detroit 7 9 0 .438 395 376 4-4 3-5 4-2 6-6
Minnesota 5 10 1 .344 391 480 5-3 0-7-1 2-3-1 4-7-1
 
South Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Carolina 12 4 0 .750 366 241 7-1 5-3 5-1 9-3
x-New Orleans 11 5 0 .688 414 304 8-0 3-5 5-1 9-3
Atlanta 4 12 0 .250 353 443 3-5 1-7 1-5 3-9
Tampa Bay 4 12 0 .250 288 389 3-5 1-7 1-5 2-10
 
West Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Seattle 13 3 0 .813 417 231 7-1 6-2 4-2 10-2
x-San Francisco 12 4 0 .750 406 272 6-2 6-2 5-1 9-3
Arizona 10 6 0 .625 379 324 6-2 4-4 2-4 6-6
St. Louis 7 9 0 .438 348 364 5-3 2-6 1-5 4-8
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
4th
MIA 80
CHA 70
 
Final
CLE 6
TOR 4
Final
DET 2
ANA 1
14th
NYM 3
ATL 3
 
Final
MIA 3
SEA 2
13th
PIT 2
MIL 2
 
Final
WAS 3
STL 2
12th
TAM 1
NYY 1
 
Final
KAN 3
MIN 8
 
7th
CHC 2
CIN 8
 
8th
TEX 2
CWS 9
 
4th
OAK 2
HOU 1
 
5th
LOS 0
ARI 0
 
4th
COL 4
PHI 3
 
5th
SDP 2
SFG 4
 
7:05pm Tonight
BOS
BAL
Final
SAN 90
DAL 85
4th
MIA 80
CHA 70
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
9:30pm Tonight
HOU
POR
Final
NYR 2
PHI 4
3rd
BOS 4
DET 1
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
TAM
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3