New gunslinger in Cleveland

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

It warms the heart when the smartest guy in the room gets taken to school.

This was supposed to be a mismatch of the highest order: Bill Belichick's New England defensive trickery versus raw rookie quarterback Colt McCoy.

A mismatch it was, but not the way Belichick envisioned it and, with each passing week, the Cleveland Browns must be more and more convinced they have found their quarterback of the future.

McCoy, the Texas phenom who was supposed to sit back and absorb some knowledge this year, playing behind Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme, started his third consecutive game and engineered a 34-14 rout.

McCoy was poised, calm under pressure and it didn't hurt that he had fellow rookie Peyton Hillis bludgeoning the Patriots up the middle for 29 carries, 184 yards and two touchdowns.

Do you think Browns head coach Eric Mangini-- remember, he was the "spygate" whistleblower who outed Belichick for videotaping the Jets signals four years ago --might have had a happy moment or two after this one?

When he and Belichick met at midfield for a brief handshake, a repulsive moment for both men, we imagine, do you think Mangini suppressed a smile?

"It's special to me because of our team, our guys, not because of their team," said Mangini.

McCoy's three games to this point have been against the Steelers, the Saints and the Patriots, facing a Super Bowl quarterback in each game. Not only has he survived that trial by fire, he's won two of them, beating the Saints and Patriots in the process.

On Sunday he was 14-of-19 for just 174 yards, hardly spectacular, but he did not turn the ball over and scored a scrambling touchdown himself, laying out to get the ball over the goal line.

Let's face it: Wallace and Delhomme better find a comfortable seat for the rest of the year because there is no way Mangini could start anyone but McCoy for the forseeable future.

The Browns have a playbook full of trickery and they went to it again in this one.

Holding a 10-7 lead with three minutes left in the second quarter, the Browns went to their wildcat package. Josh Cribbs took the direct snap and handed to Chansi Stuckey. The wrinkle that caught the Pats off-guard was that the offensive line never went into its three-point stance before the ball was snapped.

By the time the Pats figured out that Stuckey had the ball, he was already on his way to a TD and the Pats were on their way to their second loss, no longer sole holders of the best record in the NFL.

"If we play the way we played today, we're not going to beat anybody," said QB Tom Brady.

MOSS STORY GROWS

Until he was claimed on waivers by the Tennessee Titans after being cut by the Minnesota Vikings, Randy Moss was destined to rejoin the New England Patriots, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Titans were the only team to put in a claim. Had he cleared waivers, it is believed the Patriots were prepared to welcome Moss back as a free agent.

Since, under that scenario, the Vikings would have been paying Moss' salary (he's owed $3.38 million US), the Pats would have had the star wide receiver at a minimum salary.

QUICK KICKS

Is there anything Wes Welker can't do? When Steven Gostkowski went down in the second quarter with a thigh injury, Welker stepped in to kick an extra point and also one kickoff. ... Twenty-one teams began the day at .500 or better and, after Sunday's action, there were still 21 teams at .500 or better.


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