Skip to main content
Presented by

Game Pass Rewind: A dramatic home opener ends with a memorable drive


Earlier this month, the NFL announced it would offer free access to its Game Pass platform. That means fans can watch ANY game dating back to 2009.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be highlighting some of the most re-watchable Browns games -- for a variety of reasons -- on the list. Today, we're looking back at a home opener that went down to the wire against one of the NFL's best teams.

Who: Browns vs. Saints

When: Week 2, Sept. 14, 2014

The stakes: After dropping the season opener at Pittsburgh, Cleveland entered its home opener looking to snap a streak of nine consecutive losses in its first home game of the season. New Orleans was 0-1 after an overtime loss to the Falcons.

What happened: The Browns raced out to a 10-0 lead before entering a back-and-forth battle with Drew Brees and the high-powered Saints offense. An 85-yard Browns drive at the end of the fourth quarter was capped by a 29-yard Billy Cundiff field goal to send Cleveland to the 26-24 upset victory.

The Browns get their first home-opening win in a decade thanks to an 85-yard, game-winning drive that is capped with Billy Cundiff's field goal.

It was over when…: Jordan Poyer fell on a fumble as Saints returner Khiry Robinson tried to make some magic happen on a kickoff return with no time left on the clock.

The earth shook when…: The Browns defense came out red hot, limiting the Saints to just two first downs on their first four possessions. No moment was bigger during this stretch than when Paul Kruger burst through the line and dropped Brees for a sack on the edge of the goal line.

The drive: The Browns and Saints went back and forth in the second half, trading touchdowns on three consecutive possessions. After a couple of punts, Cleveland was in a two-point hole with less than 3 minutes to play and had the ball at its own 4-yard line. The Browns kept the chains moving with back-to-back third-down conversions on Miles Austin receptions before a game-saving fourth-down conversion, when Brian Hoyer found Gary Barnidge for 10 yards on fourth-and-6. The biggest play came with just 13 seconds remaining and the Browns on the fringe of field goal range, as Hoyer lofted a pass to a back-pedaling, wide open Andrew Hawkins for a 28-yard gain that put Cleveland well inside Cundiff's range.

They said it, Part 1: "That play, we were surprised they all-out blitzed us two plays in a row. (Offensive Coordinator) Kyle (Shannahan) had a great call, and when I saw the guy run over with, I think Miles (Austin), I'm reading him first, then you just see everyone fly down, it's almost like you throw a punt and just let him catch it. I got hit and I didn't get to see him catch it. All I saw was just him under the ball and then I heard the crowd and I knew we were set up to kick the field goal." -- Hoyer

Cover that guy: The biggest reason why New Orleans was able to recover from an uncharacteristically slow start was an eruption from tight end Jimmy Graham. The Pro Bowler caught 10 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns while no other Saints receiver had more than three catches.

First of many: Tashaun Gipson had the first of his six interceptions in what would become a Pro Bowl season when he picked off Brees in the second quarter. He grabbed it in stride and ran it back 62 yards untouched for the second touchdown of his career. 

Lost to history: First-round rookie Johnny Manziel made his NFL debut in the second half and saw the field for three plays. He entered on second-and-10 on Cleveland's first drive of the third quarter and handed off to Isaiah Crowell. He did the same on the next drive for his second play and then threw an incomplete pass to Ray Agnew on his third and final snap of the day.

Unsung hero: Barnidge had the big fourth-down catch on the final drive and he also posted two receptions on third-and-longs to extend what would become Cleveland scoring drives. 

They said it, Part 2: "I have a big old cigar with my name on it waiting for me. Don't ask unnecessary questions please." -- Browns coach Mike Pettine after his first career win.

Related Content