The Gatorade dunk at the end of the game says it all with rookie head coach Mike Pettine glad to be doused by Browns players.
The team won only its 2nd home opener since coming back in 1999–after the team was ripped out of Cleveland by sleazy Art Modell–and its 1st since 2004.
The Browns are now 1-1 and the Saints dropped to 0-2 under former MVP QB Drew Brees.
Many players contributed to the final 2:45 drive from Cleveland’s 4 yd line including the ley sack by journeyman Karlos Dansby that led to putting the Saints out of FG range and having to punt.
Says Tony Grossi from ESPN Cleveland:
On offense, start with receiver Miles Austin.
A key drop on third down weighed on him throughout the day. On the winning drive, the angular target had three catches for first downs. His last was a sliding grab inches from the left sideline boundary at the Saints’ 39. The play survived a replay review, after which officials tacked on seven additional seconds, leaving the Browns :15 on the clock to get closer for the field goal.
Then there was tight end Gary Barnidge.
Earlier in the fourth quarter, Barnidge’s clutch 13-yard catch and lean for an extra inch converted a third down on a touchdown drive that the Browns absolutely, positively had to have.
And then on the winning drive, there was Barnidge again, this time on fourth-and-6, crossing over the middle and holding on to a BB throw for a 10-yard gain to the Browns’ 48 with 38 seconds to go. Just about everybody called that the offensive play of the game.
There was receiver Andrew Hawkins, who was left wide open by New Orleans’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s lame decision to call “cover 0,” an all-out blitz, on two consecutive plays. The first resulted in a bat-down at the line of scrimmage. On the second, Hawkins was so all alone 28 yards downfield, he resembled a returner fair-catching a punt.
At the end was Billy Cundiff, who nailed the 29-yard field goal with three seconds left to win it. When Cundiff was asked about his first game-winning kick in a Browns uniform, he quickly corrected the questioner and pointed out his field goal as a Phil Dawson injury-replacement under Eric Mangini in a 6-3 win in 2009 — a game, Cundiff pointed out, that set back football 40 years.
Ultimately, though, this team win reflected the toughness, poise and leadership of quarterback Brian Hoyer.
So last weekend, the Good Guys lost to the hated Squeelers by a FG at the end of regulation, this week they won in similar fashion from a position they are not too familiar with: a late game winning drive. Johnny Football will have to ride the pine for a while longer if hometown boy Hoyer continues his football ways as the starting QB..
And ESH says that is always a good thing i.e. winning.