About the Author
Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
Here's a recap of Browns-Saints game from a Cleveland perspective.
Final score: Browns 30, Saints 10.
Positives: The Browns' defense was the catalyst for the victory, intercepting Saints QB Drew Brees four times and scoring more touchdowns (2-1) than the offense. Both scores came courtesy of reserve OLB David Bowens, who brought back interceptions for 30 and 64 yards. ... Not to be lost in the win: Scott Fujita had a wonderful game, notching a game-high 11 tackles, recording a sack and intercepting a pass. Also, it's clear he had a good handle on what the Saints, his old team, were trying to do offensively. He's been a very good free-agent signing for Cleveland. ... The Browns got good pressure on Brees, sacking him three times. ... The Browns' special teams were outstanding, with two trick plays — a throw-back lateral from Joshua Cribbs to Eric Wright on a punt return and P Reggie Hodges' run on a fake punt — setting up field goals. Hodges' 68-yard run was the longest by a punter since the AFL-NFL merger. Hodges had another very good day punting, too, and now has a 40.2-yard net average on the season. The Browns' punt-coverage teams stood out once again, too. ... RB Peyton Hillis rushed for 69 yards and a TD on 16 carries.
Negatives: The Browns were just 2-of-11 on third downs. ... Take away Hodges' run and the Browns' longest gain on a play from scrimmage was 18 yards. ... The Saints rolled up 394 yards, with Brees throwing for 356 yards and two scores, while Cleveland gained just 210 yards and had just 85 yards net through the air.
Outlook: The Browns decisively defeated the defending Super Bowl champions and enter the bye with a nice reward for their hard work. Imposing home games vs. New England (Week Nine) and the N.Y. Jets (Week 10) loom after the week off, but the Browns, though having just two wins to their credit, have proven capable of competing with top competition. And on Sunday, they broke through with a big win.