Cleveland Browns’ head coach Eric Mangini’s game plan might as well as simply read, “Trick-or-(get)beat.”
The Browns, with a real team effort, and a little trickery beat the defending Super Bowl champion Saints by a final score of 30-17, just one point shy of the Saints’ margin of victory over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
Truthfully, the score should’ve read 30-10, but the Black and Gold scored a touchdown in the closing minutes of the worst game of the Sean Payton and Drew Brees era.
In a strange season, one where we’ve saw our top two halfbacks go down, our top three corner backs go down, a left tackle score a touchdown on us, and a punter sprint for 60 plus yards, the main question has been, what’s wrong?
This is basically the same team that got out to a 13-0 start last year before dropping three straight and then getting to and winning the organization’s first Super Bowl title.
The biggest off-season losses were linebacker Scott Fujita and halfback Mike Bell, incidentally, both played as members of the Browns on Sunday.
However, the offensive line couldn’t seem to open running lanes or give Brees much time to throw.
Brews tossed four interceptions, and two were returned for scores by a defnsive lineman, let that sink in, a defensive lineman returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
Kicker Garrett Hartley, who had been one of the most dependable kickers in the league, has fans holding their breath when he lines up for a 30 yard kick.
The defense, overall, is playing better than it did last year but seems to be creating less turnovers but that should be expected since the offense isn’t scoring allot of points and getting a big lead which would then force the opposing team to throw the ball more.
The Who Dat Nation is worried, and they have every reason to be.
An overtime loss to Atlanta wasn’t terrible, the Falcons are a legitimate team to contend for the NFC title, however, a loss to the Cardinals with undrafted rookie Max Hall starting and a loss to the Browns in which rookie quarterback Colt McCoy didn’t even throw for 100 yards spells big problems for a team that is trying to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Granted, injuries have played a big role but none of those should really affect the passing game a great deal, however we’re seeing a drop off from what we’re normally used to seeing from Drew Brees & Co.
This Sunday night should answer plenty of questions, the Who Dats face the other black and gold team, the Pittsburgh Steelers and it has been rumored that Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush may return to the lineup, the Steelers’ defense is pretty stout and it should be a good test for our struggling offense
Check out Keith Null’s weekly article about the Saints on NFL.com by clicking here.