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Mistake-prone Browns fall to Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 27: Running back Dontrell Hilliard #25 of the Cleveland Browns is tackled by outside linebacker Jamie Collins #58 and cornerback Jason McCourty #30 of the New England Patriots in the second quarter of the game at Gillette Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 27: Running back Dontrell Hilliard #25 of the Cleveland Browns is tackled by outside linebacker Jamie Collins #58 and cornerback Jason McCourty #30 of the New England Patriots in the second quarter of the game at Gillette Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

This one slipped out of Cleveland’s hands.

On three plays in a row.

The Browns turned the ball over on back-to-back-to-back plays in the first quarter on a rainy New England Sunday, leading to a pair of Patriots touchdowns that changed a three-point lead into a 17-0 runaway and a 27-13 victory for the defending Super Bowl champions.

Nick Chubb ran for 131 yards, but he also fumbled on consecutive plays before Baker Mayfield was intercepted on a shovel pass to put Cleveland (2-5) in a hole it couldn’t get out of against the dominant New England defense.

The Browns had just stopped New England at the 2-yard line, forcing the Patriots to settle for a field goal, when Chubb got his first carry of the day. But he was kicked in the facemask and arm by offensive lineman Joel Bitonio as he toppled over a defender, and the ball popped out.

Dont’a Hightower picked it up and ran it 26 yards for a touchdown to make it 10-0.

After the extra point and kickoff, the Browns took over at their 40 and on the first play Chubb broke four tackles on his way to a 44-yard run. But as he approached the end zone, Jonathan Jones chased him down and punched the ball out . Devin McCourty recovered at the 4.

The Cleveland defense held. But on the first play after the New England punt, Mayfield tried a shovel pass that was intercepted by defensive end Lawrence Guy , who ran 5 yards to the 11. Two plays later Tom Brady hit Julian Edelman for a touchdown to make it 17-0.

Mayfield and his team came into the season with high expectations following an 0-16 season in 2017 with a 7-8-1 record last year that was their best since 2007. But they have lost three straight games, falling three games behind the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.