The Browns took the field Sunday looking to build upon their best start since 2004, at 0-0-1. It seemed as if the new look Browns were determined to capture their elusive first win in an almost unbelievable 631 days against the Saints.
The Browns started off strong by notching a field goal on their first drive, and as expected the defense lived up to the hype, forcing two turnovers in the first half, totaling their takeaways to eight in the first two contests.
The game was shaping up to be a field goal fest in the first half, with the Browns going into the locker room up 6-3. However, the Browns came out driving and put up the games first touchdown on a one-yard run by Carlos Hyde. After a missed extra point by Zane Gonzalez, the Browns now led 12-3 heading into the final quarter with an 11 point cushion.
As the Browns entered the fourth quarter with a lead, things began to fall apart for them. It started with Saints’ wide receiver Michael Thomas scoring on back-to-back touchdowns. That scoring outbreak put the Browns into full-on comeback mode, similar to their week one game.
Despite staring into the face of adversity, quarterback Tyrod Taylor remained calm and delivered a 47-yard touchdown strike to rookie Antonio Callaway with 1:16 remaining in the fourth quarter. Kicker Zane Gonzalez proceeded to botch his second extra point of the game, leaving the game knotted at 18.
On the ensuing drive, the Saints drove down the field and kicked a go-ahead field goal to take the 21-18 lead. Yet again Tyrod Taylor showed no quit. He marched the Browns into field goal position. However, struggling kicker Gonzalez kept up his horrendous kicking display by missing a 52-yard game winning field goal, ultimately leading to the Browns first loss of the season and the destruction of all hopes of going undefeated.
Despite the heart breaking outcome, Browns fans should see promise in this game, as the Browns continued to show off their dominate defense. Now, if they can find a way to elevate their offense to a similar level of their superstar defense, this season could get very interesting.
And lest we not forget, at 0-1-1, the Browns still are off to one of their best starts in the past decade.