Five hours after predicting the Cleveland Browns would get blown out against the New Orleans Saints, I watched Billy Cundiff kick a field goal with seconds left to give the Browns a 26-24 victory. I can’t say I’m bothered about being wrong.
The Browns came out like gangbusters, hitting New Orleans in the mouth. It takes more to knock out the Saints, and sure enough, they gathered themselves and started fighting back.
Am I the only one to see the momentum swing and think, “Here we go again”?
New Orleans came back from down 16-3 and went up 17-16 in the third quarter.
“Here we go again.”
But the Browns answered with a touchdown. New Orleans, who was now moving the ball without much interference from the Browns defense, went back up in the 4th quarter, 24-23.
The Browns got the ball back, got to midfield…..and had to punt.
“Here we go again.”
I was sure the Saints would walk down, score a touchdown, and the Browns would need a touchdown and a 2-point conversion just to tie things up. It wasn’t the first time today I would be wrong.
The Browns stopped the Saints and got the ball back again. They started driving, but with no sense of urgency and no authority. It seemed like they would never get in field goal range, that they’d run out of yards or time before that ever happened. It seemed like they were stumbling up the field. And then….
Andrew Hawkins was all alone. The pass from Brian Hoyer flooooooooooooooooooated to him. He grabbed it, falling as he did so. He tried so hard to get up and run. He made it to the Saints 11 yard line before being stopped. But it was enough to get the team in field goal range. Cundiff drove the ball through the uprights. Winner.
More than I was happy about the win, I was happy that the team didn’t fold as we’ve seen them do so many times in the past. I was happy that they didn’t win with insane plays, but with long drives down the field. And, of course, I was happy to see them win.
Am I wrong about this team? Are they better than I expected? This is a team that can play with the Baltimore Ravens next week, right? I think so.
Many had the team at 0-3 going into the bye week. Could they go in 2-1? And what about Josh Gordon? What if his suspension is shortened?! They could get him back for the stretch run! I mean, if they can win without Gordon imagine how good this team would be with him! And don’t forget that tight end Jordan Cameron didn’t play today! We might win the division!
Okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
This was a really good win. Any win in the NFL is good, especially when you’re the Browns, and beating the Saints says something. But as I said this morning, let’s get through the Bye Week before we start re-evaluating the team.
In the meantime, enjoy it, Browns fans. They played a solid game. Not mistake free. Certainly Hoyer had some accuracy issues, and how he got out of that game without throwing a pick is something mildly shocking. But in the end he got the job done. And so did the Browns. And for the fans, there’s a glimmer of hope for a less-than-miserable season.
Hang on, Browns fans. Here we go!