FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Team Belichick is Secretariat.

The Browns, at least, played like pesky flies Sunday, making the Super Bowl triple-crowner swish its tail before losing a bookie barnburner.

The Patriots were favored by 161⁄2. They covered, winning 34-17 only when Cleveland quarterback Derek Anderson missed three final end zone shots from the 10.

Have the Browns progressed from gnat to horsefly?

Not getting obliterated by a team that came in 4-0 on scores of 38-14, 38-14, 38-7 and 34-13 counts for something.

Beating Miami at home next Sunday to get to the bye week at 3-3 will say more.

At least, that’s one view.

Running back Jason Wright thinks it’s wrong. Here’s what Wright said went through his mind when the Browns climbed out of a 20-0 crater to trail 20-10:

“I thought we were gonna win the game. Absolutely. I mean, we were starting to move the ball. Derek was getting comfortable. We were picking up their blitzes.”

One man’s comfort is another man’s knuckle sandwich. En route to a 22-of-43, 287-yard, two-touchdown, three-interception day, Anderson was sacked three times and hit on several other plays. At one point, he was down on the field with what he called “just a little (neck) stinger.”

Tedy Bruschi walloped him on one sack. On one borderline cheap shot, Rodney Harrison used extra English while raking across Anderson’s helmet.

“They were getting to the quarterback pretty well,” tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. “They were hitting D.A. as much as they could.”

Could the Browns have won? There was plenty of time after Anderson threw Tim Carter a 21-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, making it 20-10.

They forced punts on all three of New England’s third-quarter possessions.

Immediately after Carter’s touchdown, though, Tom Brady raced the Patriots 71 yards in nine plays to make it 27-10.

The Patriots won the coin toss and proceeded to kick the Browns’ tails. Brady moved them 78 yards. Browns safety Sean Jones stalled the march with a batted-down pass, leading to just a field goal.

The Browns blew a chance to counterpunch after driving to a first down on the 1.

Playing without Jamal Lewis, who injured his right foot after running 10 yards on his first carry, the Browns tried:

n A lob pass to 6-foot-5 Joe Jurevicius. Anderson was hit as a threw too low.

n An inside run by Jason Wright — nothing.

n A pass. Anderson scrambled against a rush and threw on the run toward Steve Heiden — again, too low. Old man Junior Seau intercepted a ball deflected by cornerback Asante Samuel, who said he read Anderson’s eyes.

“If they would have scored at that point,” Samuel said, “it would have been big.”

Anderson hung his head until coach Romeo Crennel tracked him down and tried to buck him up.

Anderson required more bucking up as he threw another tipped-ball interception after the defense forced a three-and-out. This time, the Patriots got the ball on the 34 and scored right away on Brady’s pass to Donte Stallworth.

“They were trying to take Randy (Moss) out of the game,” said Stallworth, who shook loose from Leigh Bodden. “They leave someone in single coverage.”

Braylon Edwards had another big game, six catches for 107 yards.

The game plan, Edwards said, took a hit when Jamal Lewis suffered a foot injury after running 11 yards on his first carry.

The Patriots padded their lead to 13-0 with another field goal, then blew it out to 20-after another interception and quick 25-yard drive.

One Patriot, Samuel, said his team took the Browns seriously throughout. He mentioned Edwards and Winslow.

“You’ve got to come out with your ‘A’ game every series against them,” Samuel said.

It was a “C” kind of game for the Browns, given the 5-0 opposition, with a big “we’ll see” with 0-5 Miami up next.

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