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Browns beat the Saints 26-24

  • What another wild game. That was insane. Browns win 26-24.
  • Pinned against the end zone trailing 24-23 with 2:46 left in the game, the offense got close enough to attempt a game-winning field goal try. With less than a minute and Cleveland's offense desperate for some yards, tight end Gary Barnidge caught a crazy fourth down pass over the middle, to extend the drive. The Browns kept marching deeper and deeper into the Saints' territory. Hoyer found a streaking Andrew Hawkins wide open and Billy Cundiff kicked the game-winning field goal with three seconds remaining. Fourteen-plays, 85-yards and a Cleveland win.
  • It took New Orleans forever and a day to figure it out, but eventually, the Saints got their best athletes in space to get their offense clicking in Cleveland.
  • Jimmy Graham caught two touchdown passes and added 118 yards. He became a nightmare to cover in man-to-man coverage, even for cornerback Joe Haden. Running back Mark Ingram broke several tackles while getting to the second-layer of the Browns' defense. But it ended up not mattering.
  • Quarterback Brian Hoyer will be the first to admit a handful of his throws were inaccurate on Sunday. Some of the wide receiving screen plays to Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel did not lead to enough success. There really weren't any home-run hitting type of runs from Isaiah Crowell or Terrance West, either. It's tough to judge this team without Ben Tate and Jordan Cameron, but then again, it's the NFL. Injuries are expected. But the Browns prevailed when it mattered.
  • Don't take it too far and say the offense didn't play well, because they did – against a highly respected unit by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. The biggest drive for the Browns on offense came in the middle of the third quarter. The Saints had just scored on a touchdown pass from Brees to Jimmy Graham, taking their first lead of the game, 17-16.
  • It could've been a time where the Browns offense folded their cards, but they rose to the occasion. Crowell did the heavy lifting on the drive and West finished the job, blasting up the middle for a nine-yard touchdown run – the first of his NFL career. Even reserve tight end Gary Barnidge hauled in a key third-down and 13 pass to keep the drive alive. The scoring drive gave the Browns a 23-17 lead and the rapid response proved that the Saints were in for a dog fight. These aren't the same ole Browns.
  • New Orleans opened the game with two straight three-and-outs and only managed 14 total yards in the first quarter. Drew Brees was viciously sacked by Paul Kruger, nearly resulting in a safety. The veteran signal caller was so flustered he called more timeouts in the first quarter (two) then total Saints first-downs (one).
  • This is the type of defensive performance Mike Pettine was brought in for, and how Cleveland will eventually learn to win football games. For one half, the Browns did something most NFL defenses aren't capable of doing: made the Saints not like the Saints.
  • Safety Tashaun Gipson made, what at the time was the play of the game, returning 62-yard interception for a touchdown late in the second quarter. Kruger, again, collapsed the pocket around Brees, delivering a punishing lick that affected the flight of the ball. Gipson hauled in the errant pass smack dab in the middle of the field and raced up the left sideline for the score. It came at the perfect time, because the Saints offense was beginning to heat up. Remember, Gipson had five interceptions in 2013 and remains one of the Browns' most underrated players.
  • Karlos Dansby established it would be tough for New Orleans to successfully dink-and-dunk over the middle of the field with hard-hitting and taking sharp angles on his tackles. As an overall performer, nobody has been more important to the Browns' success so far in 2014 than Dansby. His third-down tackle for a loss on Saints tight end Josh Hill forced the Saints to kick a field goal midway through the second quarter. And Dansby sacked Drew Brees late in the fourth quarter, giving his team a chance to win the game. Dansby literally kept points off the scoreboard. 
  • It was the exotic looks that threw Brees off of his game early. On one play, the Browns had seven defensive backs on the field. As Brees thumbed through his progressions, he was unable to locate anyone open. At times had happy feet in the pocket. Making Brees feel uncomfortable is normally an impossible task for NFL defenses. Other teams will take note of the recipe the Browns cooked up defensively.
  • Head coach Mike Pettine recognized the momentum their defense had obtained and used it appropriately. On their first touchdown drive, Pettine sent the offense back onto the field on a fourth-down and one, at the Saints' five yard line. Terrance West plunged forward in between Joe Thomas and Joel Bitonio. On the very next play Brian Hoyer fired a strike right into the hands of Miles Austin for the touchdown.
  • Settling for a field goal in that situation would've stung. The Browns saw the chance, trusted their rookie running back to get one-yard when it mattered and seized control of the game early with a 7-0 lead.
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