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Saints Escape with a Lackluster 21-18 Win Over the Browns

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Super Bowl contenders? More like just trying to keep their head above the water, as the Saints eke past the Browns, 21-18.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

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Last week I called the New Orleans Saints a “big, gigantic fraud” after the miserable defensive effort they displayed in the season opener in a 48-40 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This afternoon in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, the Saints had a chance to redeem themselves against an underdog as big as the Bucs in week one, the Cleveland Browns. They did none of that and they now look like quite an overrated team in this young 2018 season.

1st HALF

In the first half, it was the offense’s turn to look like a shelf of itself, scoring only three points and fumbling the ball twice, one each by Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr. Drew Brees was not without fault, overthrowing a wide open Benjamin Watson in the red zone, forcing the Saints tho settle for a field goal, their only points of the half. The defense on the other hand would look much better than it did last week against Tampa, holding the Browns to six points. At halftime, the Saints trailed 6-3 and looked alarmingly lethargic. One could only hope that halftime adjustments would ignite the offense and lead it to a better showing in the second half.

2nd HALF

The Saints received the ball to start the second half and proceeded to go scoreless in the entire third quarter. The defense finally caved in some and allowed the Browns to take a 12-3 lead into the fourth quarter. After a Cleveland missed field goal, Brees and the offense would finally take advantage of good field position to score their first touchdown of the day and narrow the lead to 12-10. And interception by Marcus Williams would breathe life into the Saints in the late stages of the fourth quarter, as Brees would subsequently find Michael Thomas for a touchdown giving the Saints a 16-12 lead, their first lead since they led 3-0 in the first quarter. The Saints would make the two-point conversion with Alvin Kamara to extend their lead to 18-12.

The defense would inexplicably allow Tyrod Taylor to throw a bomb of a touchdown to Antonio Callaway with just over a minute left. The Browns would miss the extra point, allowing the Saints to be tied at 18 with about a minute and 25 seconds left. Brees and the offense would drive down the field and kick a field goal to take a 21-18 lead with 25 seconds left.

The Browns would have a shot, missing a long field goal as time expired. New Orleans escapes with a 21-18 win, but it was not pretty and this is a team that has a lot of work to do if it wants to be a contender for anything this season. But a win is a win yes? We’ll take it.

***

Here is a timeline of the game:

1st Quarter

  • Saints win the toss and defer to the second half
  • Saints force the Browns into a three-and-out
  • Michael Thomas catches a third down ball and fumbles it, Browns recover
  • Browns take over near midfield into Saints territory
  • Saints stop the Browns who settle for a 39-yard field goal
  • NO: 0 - CLE: 3
  • Saints get into Browns red zone but stall. Wil Lutz kicks a 30-yard field goal
  • NO: 3 - CLE: 3
  • Browns run the ball as the quarter ends
  • Sheldon Rankins sacks Tyrod Taylor on 3rd and 5, forces the Browns to punt
  • This was the first sack of the Saints’ 2018 season

2nd Quarter

  • Saints get into Browns territory and Ted Ginn Jr. fumbles the ball to the Browns
  • Browns go for it on 4th and 2 and are stopped at the Saints 38-yard line
  • Saints get into the Browns’ red zone but Brees gets sacked on 3rd down
  • Wil Lutz misses a 44-yard field goal
  • Browns get into Saints territory in a hurry
  • Saints defense steps up and stop the Browns on 3rd down at the 2-minute warning
  • Zane Gonzalez makes a 39-yard field goal
  • NO: 3 - CLE: 6
  • Saints get the ball with 1:55 left in the half and go three-and-out
  • Thomas Morstead booms a punt, penalty pins the Browns at their 9-yard line
  • Browns run out the clock as the half hits

3rd Quarter

  • Saints start with the ball after deferring the coin toss to the second half
  • Saints stall and punt to the Browns
  • Cleveland gets deep into Saints territory
  • Patrick Robinson is called on a Pass Interference in the end zone
  • Carlos Hyde reaches the end zone for a touchdown
  • Zane Gonzalez misses the extra point
  • NO: 3 - CLE: 12
  • Taysom Hill returns the kickoff to the 40-yard line
  • Saints get into Browns territory
  • Brees gets sacked on 3rd and 1 near midfield and Saints punt
  • Browns easily move into Saints territory as the quarter ends

4th Quarter

  • Browns stall and Zane Gonzalez misses a 44-yard field goal
  • Alvin Kamara runs the Saints into Cleveland territory
  • Saints get into Cleveland’s red zone
  • Brees finds Michael Thomas for a touchdown
  • NO: 10 - CLE: 12
  • Browns take over at their 25-yard line and go three-and-out and punt
  • Saints take over near their 30-yard line
  • Brees gets sacked on third down and Saints have to punt
  • Marcus Williams picks off Tyrod Taylor and returns it to Cleveland’s 20-yard line
  • This is the first takeaway by the Saints in 2018. Fitting that it’s by Williams
  • Saints get into the red zone
  • Brees finds Michael Thomas for a touchdown
  • Alvin Kamara rushes into the end zone for the two-point conversion
  • NO: 18 - CLE: 12
  • After a touchback, Browns take over at their 25-yard line
  • Browns get into Saints territory
  • On 4th and 5, Tyrod Taylor finds Antonio Callaway for a touchdown!
  • Zane Gonzalez misses the extra point!!!
  • NO: 18 - CLE: 18
  • Saints take over at their 25-yard line
  • Brees finds Ted Ginn Jr. for a 42 yards pass
  • Saints stall and Wil Lutz kicks a 44-yard field goal
  • NO: 21 - CLE: 18
  • Browns take over at their 25-yard line and drive to the Saints 34-yard line with ease
  • Zane Gonzalez misses a 51-yard field goal
  • The Saints escape with a 21-18 win

Poll

How do you feel after the Saints narrow 21-18 win vs. the Browns today?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    A win is a win is a win, this is the NFL
    (119 votes)
  • 30%
    Not better, they are not very good
    (91 votes)
  • 18%
    The Falcons will crush us next week
    (55 votes)
  • 5%
    We are 1-1, let the good times roll
    (17 votes)
  • 6%
    I regurgitated all of my burgers this afternoon
    (21 votes)
303 votes total Vote Now