Morning Sports Update

“It’s not hyperbolic to say that they can go to the Super Bowl.”

Patriots players celebrate after Mac Jones threw a touchdown pass to Hunter Henry. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Patriots overwhelmed the Browns on Sunday, 45-7. After a Cleveland touchdown on the game’s opening drive, New England found a rhythm and scored 45 unanswered points to move to 6-4 on the season.

Elsewhere, the defeated the Canadiens 5-2. And the Boston Pride suffered a first defeat of the season, falling 3-1 to the Connecticut Whale.

Tonight, the Celtics face the Cavaliers in Cleveland at 7 p.m.

The changing expectations for the 2021 Patriots: Having gone from 2-4 to 6-4 over the last month, the Patriots have transformed not only the team’s place in the standings but also the wider media expectations for what can be accomplished in Mac Jones’s rookie season.


After recapping New England’s 45-7 win over the Browns during a “Get Up!” segment on Monday morning, ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky explained that the Patriots’ current brand of football could lead to bigger things.

“If and when Mac Jones plays this [well] on third down, this team can beat anybody in the NFL,” said Orlovsky. “It’s not hyperbolic to say that they can go to the Super Bowl. That’s a reality.”

As Orlovsky noted, when Jones’s growing understanding of the offense combines with coordinator Josh McDaniels’s expertise, “that’s when this offense really becomes a top-10 unit in the NFL.”

“The thing that the Patriots do such a good job of is they don’t put him in positions to fail,” Orlovsky said of Jones. “They don’t ever ask him to become somebody or something that he’s not.”

Former Patriots rival Rex Ryan, now an ESPN analyst, paid credit to Bill Belichick.

“Bill Belichick, this is his best job he’s ever done coaching,” Ryan explained.

“It’s not just, by the way, all coaching,” Ryan added. “It was what he [did] in the offseason that makes Belichick different. He put in $160-something million dollars. We’ve seen [Matthew] Judon. This defense is doing great because of having Judon in there. You get Kendrick Bourne who’s finally showing up. Where the hell did he come from? That was a free agent signing. Hunter Henry, he’s playing like the tight end everybody thought he could be.”


The Patriots now face a quick turnaround, with a Thursday night matchup coming up against the Falcons.

Trivia: Prior to Sunday, one of the only previous examples of a game in which the Patriots put together multiple touchdown drives of 80 yards or longer came in a 52-7 rout of Washington during the 2007 season. Who was Washington’s quarterback that day?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He led Auburn to a perfect 13-0 season as a senior in 2004.

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A Bill Belichick anecdote from the ’90s: Longtime Browns reporter Mary Kay Cabot recalled the time she went on a pre-draft scouting trip with the then-Cleveland coach, and why ordering the salmon caused Belichick to drop an “F-bomb.”

The Tigers are reportedly set to sign Eduardo Rodriguez: The 28-year-old’s deal with Detroit is said to be between $77 and $80 million over five years, according to multiple reports. The Red Sox will get a compensation pick in return.

On this day: In 1992, Scott Zolak—in his first NFL start—led the Patriots to a first win of the season after starting the year 0-9. New England defeated the Colts 37-34 in overtime.

Scott Zolak 1992

Daily highlight: From the weekend, South Dakota defeated rival South Dakota State 23-20 with an appropriately miraculous Hail Mary on the game’s final play.

Trivia answer: Jason Campbell