New Orleans Saints vs. Cleveland Browns: Defense Disappointing, But Not Discouraging
Sep 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Terrance West (28) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at FirstEnergy Stadium. Browns defeated the Saints 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
It was a tough day for the Who Dat Nation, once again, as the New Orleans Saints fell short to the Cleveland Browns on the road, 26-24. It’s not yet time to panic, but some adjustments on the defensive side of the ball are certainly necessary.
Respect to Mike Pettine and the Browns’ coaching unit — they did not dominate, but they did indeed excel during crunch time. Rob Ryan and company simply could not finish. Cleveland coughed up 324 total yards, which are not eye-popping numbers, but the Saints giving up big plays allowed Brian Hoyer and the offense to reign supreme.
New Orleans tried to bring the heat and pressure, but only one sack and zero takeaways make it tough to win ball games, especially on the road. The Browns were 7 of 16 on third downs. It’s honestly very simple — the Black and Gold gave up too many conversions during crucial moments.
We can all point fingers — that’s easy. However, when it all comes down to it, the entire defense was off key. The secondary obviously needs a pep talk. Allowing the Cleveland receivers to separate like they did is unacceptable, plain and simple. Shout out to the Browns’ offensive line — they owned one of the top pass-rushing units in the NFL, and so did Atlanta.
The good thing is that it’s early in the season. As Zach Strief mentioned in a post-game interview, “Every team has a crisis during the season…now is our crisis.” Better early than late, right? Junior Galette, who was the man behind the Saints’ only sack, followed with “It’s disappointing, but not discouraging.” Well said, Mr. Captain. It is very disappointing, but with 14 games to go, the panic button should not be pressed.
Offensively, I actually liked what I saw. Of course, Drew Brees‘ pick-six was a bit disturbing, but the offense rebounded and looked good from there on out. Jimmy Graham had a big day with a career-tying 10 receptions, going for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Mark Ingram continued his hot start with 83 yards and a score. Not to mention a 7.5 yards per carry average.
Look, it’s the National Football League. The object of the game is to win, and the Browns did just that. Yes, it’s the Browns, but they are emerging. They really do have a solid team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Joe Haden, Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner? Solid. Rookie corners Justin Gilbet and Pierre Desir? Outstanding draft picks.
We can all hang heads, because a win was expected. We are a better football team than what we’ve displayed so far, so put aside the negativity and let’s get ready for the Minnesota Viking for the first home game of the season. Let’s turn that disappointing mishap into a momentum changer next Sunday. The Lombardi Trophy is not out of our reach just yet. The turnaround begins in the Dome.