Sep 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Billy Winn (90) and guard Joel Bitonio (75) celebrate after Billy Cundiff (not pictured) kicked the game winning field goal to defeat the New Orleans Saints 26-24 at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Game 2 Reaction: Browns 26, Saints 24
Late breakdown on defense sets up Browns shocking victory
We felt as though the New Orleans Saints would bounce back after a Week One upset loss from the Atlanta Falcons. The Saints would find themselves in a 16-3 hole late in the second quarter, but would produce a scoring drive in the final two minutes to cut the deficit to 16-10. The Saints would take the lead early in the fourth quarter 24-23 after Mark Ingram would punch it in. However, the Saints would fall late, courtesy of a last-minute drive by the Cleveland Browns.
Quick Box Score Stats
Total First Downs: New Orleans (26), Cleveland (23)
Third Down Efficiency: New Orleans (53% – 7/13), Cleveland (43% – 7/16)
Total Net Yards: New Orleans (397), Cleveland (324)
Sacks: New Orleans (1), Cleveland (2)
Turnovers: New Orleans (2), Cleveland (0)
Time of Possession: New Orleans (31:50), Cleveland (28:10)
Let’s look at some key points from the game.
Drew’s Costly Interception
This tends to be a trend when the Saints have a road loss. Drew Brees throws a bad pass, or one that he’d love to have back. The bad overthrow led to an easy Tashaun Gipson interception, that was returned 62 yards for the Browns to put them ahead 16-3.
Patrick Robinson Victimized
Let’s call it for what it is, Patrick Robinson was a goat from yesterday’s affair. Arguably, you could say Robinson led to 10 of the Browns’ points scored from yesterday.
Defensive Pass Interference on 3rd AND 7 at NO 33 – 19 yards, instead of forcing a long field goal attempt, this set up the Browns first score of the game, a touchdown to Miles Austin.
Neutral Zone Infraction on 4th and 4 at NO 26 – 5 yards, instead of missed field goal from 44 yards, the Browns were given a second chance and converted the field goal.
As for the defensive holding penalty at the end of the game, it was a moot point because of the blown coverage. Let’s just leave it at that.
Play Calling – Why Pass?
How many times did you say to yourself, ‘Why are the Saints passing?’ I know I said that more than a few times yesterday. The Saints were dominating in the rushing department, as they had 27 carries for 174 yards, averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Mark Ingram led the way with 11 carries for 83 yards, including the touchdown late. Marques Colston finished without a single target, and outside of Jimmy Graham, the Saints did not have much success throwing the ball yesterday.
Adjustments? Did you see any?
Let’s go back to my Keys to the Game article.
"Difference MakerIf you’re going to turn things around on defense, then it all lies with Rob Ryan. Whatever the case was from last week, we’re expecting this to be the defense from a year ago. Formulating an opinion of this unit based on one bad game, let alone the season opener, is just nonsense. Give the defense and Rob Ryan the benefit of the doubt. I expect nothing less than an aggressive, but disciplined approach when Ryan squares off against his former team."
Where were the adjustments at yesterday? If Robinson was struggling so much in coverage, where was the support? Why would Robinson still play 10-15 yards off when clearly the Browns were executing the short game. They only took a couple of shots down field. Where was the front line’s pressure at? There were just a plethora of questions surrounding the defense yesterday, but at least we saw better tackling.
What You May Have Missed/Overlooked
- The Saints offensive line allowed the first two sacks of Drew Brees this season
- Despite the rushing attack performing so well, it put Sean Payton at 14-1 when his team gains 170 rushing yards or more.
- David Hawthorne left the game with a leg injury
- The Saints currently have the most points in the NFL with 58, and 29 points/game
- Coincidentally, the two teams the Saints have lost to have the most yards allowed on defense, but right in front of them? The Saints.
This was about as frustrating of a loss as they come. The Saints are just two plays away from being 2-0, but the reality is that the team isn’t, and we have to deal with it. Give credit to the Browns, they were able to cause problems for the Saints offense early, and when you get Rob Ryan and Sean Payton visually disagreeing with each other, you are doing something right.
The Saints now turn their energy and focus to the Minnesota Vikings, who came off an embarassing home loss to the New England Patriots.
What do you think about the loss? Sound off below!