The New Orleans Saints traveled to Cleveland, Ohio to play the Browns as they try to keep their playoff chances alive. The Black and Gold came alive at the end of the second quarter and the third quarter as the Saints move to 6-9 with a 17-10 win over the Browns on Christmas Eve!
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Neither team could get much going to start the contest as the first three possessions were three-and-outs as Cleveland was the first one to receive the football. New Orleans was the first one to pick up first downs on their second drive and got into Browns territory but would have to punt after Alvin Kamara’s catch and run was short of the sticks.
Following a punt by the Browns, Andy Dalton on 3rd & 10 tried to find his new favorite target in Juwan Johnson. Former LSU Tiger Grant Delpit came up with the interception and had a return all the way to the New Orleans 30-yard line.
Deshaun Watson on the opening play of the second quarter took the ball in himself from 12 yards out for the game’s first touchdown.
After the Saints went three-and-out again, Cleveland had themselves a 17-play drive that picked up 60 yards and ran 8:44 off of the clock. The drive was highlighted by an 11-yard run by Nick Chubb on 3rd & 11 and Watson finding Amari Cooper on third and fourth downs for a total of 35 yards and a couple of first downs. Cade York would eventually come on for a 30-yard field to go up by 10 with 4:07 left before halftime.
The Black and Gold stuck to the run game and bled the clock down as they got all the way down to the Cleveland five. Wil Lutz came on the field to kick the 23-yard field goal and cut the Saints’ deficit down to seven as they went into the half down 10-3.
The Saints got the ball to start the second half and continue to lean mainly on the ground. Dalton did hit wide receiver Rashid Shaheed a couple of times to move the sticks. It was Taysom Hill who finished off the drive with an eight-yard touchdown run with 9:40 left in the third quarter to tie the game.
Later in the quarter, Watson on 2nd & 11 dropped back to pass and tried to hit David Bell on an in-breaking route. The ball bounced off of his hands thanks to rookie Alontae Taylor and popped up in the air for safety Daniel Sorensen to come up with the pick and returned it 36 yards to the Cleveland 15-yard line. Four plays later, Kamara got his turn to score, this one from four yards out to give New Orleans the 17-10 lead with 55 seconds left in the third. That score for the star of the Saints tied him for first in franchise history for most touchdowns in a career with 72.
After punts by both teams, the Browns had one last chance to try and send it to overtime. Watson made some big throws for first downs that got them all the way to the 15-yard line of the Saints. Three straight incompletions set up a 4th & 10 with 30 seconds left. Carl Granderson sacked Watson for a six-yard loss and sealed the 17-10 win for New Orleans to win to 6-9 on the season.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Alvin Kamara
Kamara had 22 total touches for 110 yards and the game-winning touchdown as the Saints leave the freezing temperatures of Cleveland with a 17-10 win that eliminates the Browns from playoff contention.
BIG NUMBER: 17
The Black and Gold rallied from a 10-point deficit to put up 17 straight points Saturday afternoon to defeat the Cleveland Browns to keep their playoff chances alive.
UP NEXT: The New Orleans Saints will be back on New Year’s Day in Philadelphia to play the Eagles. Kick-off at Lincoln Financial Field will be at 12:00.