Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Motier foux in the Big Easy

ESPN’s Bill Simmons once described New Orleans as being the kind of place where you wouldn’t be surprised to see someone turn into a werewolf on Main Street.

After watching the Browns unexpected, unbelievable and utterly bizarre win over the Saints on Sunday, we know exactly what Simmons means.

What would you have said if before the game we told you that:

  • Punter Reggie Hodges would have the Browns longest run from scrimmage – 68 yards?
  • Defensive back Eric Wright would have the longest pass reception – 62 yards?
  • Linebacker David Bowens would have more yards – 94 – and touchdowns – 2 – than the Browns receivers combined?
  • Quarterback Colt McCoy would have as many receptions as Ben Watson, Josh Cribbs, Peyton Hillis and Lawrence Vickers?
  • Peyton Hillis would have a quarterback rating of 118.8?

The answer certainly would not have included the phrase “Browns win 30-10″ but that’s exactly what happened.

See what we mean about strange things happening in New Orleans? The only way this could have been any better if today was Halloween.

Defense and wacky plays – especially on special teams – carried the Browns to their first road win of the season.

The Browns intercepted Drew Brees four times – and could have had at least two or three more – sacked him three times and confused him all day long, holding him to a 65.8 rating and forcing him to throw the ball 56 times.

Bowens somehow had two of the interceptions, returning both for touchdowns.

For the first time in a long while the defense actually caught a break.

Leading 10-0 as the first quarter drew to a close, the Browns gave up a 20-yard touchdown pass from Brees to Lance Moore. But offsetting penalties wiped out the score – when does that ever happen for the Browns? – and two plays later Scott Fujita picked off Brees. No telling how things would have gone if the score had held up.

The special teams got in on the fun as well, with Josh Cribbs throwing a pass across the field to Eric Wright on the Saints first punt of the game. Wright took the play 62 yards and the Browns eventually settled for a field goal to open the scoring.

After the Saints cut the lead to 10-3, the Browns gained only two yards in three plays and lined up for a punt. But Reggie Hodges took off with the ball and, looking like Marion Motley in his prime, rumbled 68 yards to set up another Browns field goal.

On the Saints second play after the field goal Bowens grabbed his first interception and returned it 30 yards for the score, putting the Browns up 20-3 and providing the Brown-and-Orange with a solid grip on the game.

Offensively, the Browns were able to average 4.5 yards per rush, with Hillis leading with way with 69 yards and a TD. More importantly, after the Saints cut the lead to 10 with 13 minutes left, the Browns turned to the running game to build a 13-play drive that took more than seven minutes off the clock and effectively ice the game.

McCoy made his second consecutive start and, just like the Pittsburgh game, didn’t do anything to hurt the Browns but also didn’t do anything to make the Browns want to deviate from the plan to let him sit and watch this year.

McCoy’s numbers weren’t great – 9-of-16 for 74 yards – but he didn’t turn the ball over, he never looked overwhelmed, no wrong formations of delay of games on offense, and he generally left us with a good impression. He made some bad throws but he also had some nice throws – primarily a swing pass to Lawrence Vickers that would have gone for a big gain – dropped by receivers.

Overall in his two games McCoy didn’t do anything that left us shaking our heads or hiding our eyes when he was under center. He came in, did the best he could, got some game experience against two very talented and complex defenses, and didn’t embarrass himself or the team.

And, after the bye, it will be time for him to return to the bench and continue working through the learning curve while Jake Delhomme and/or Seneca Wallace take over the offense.

So the Browns head into the bye off their biggest road win in years. While some will look at their 2-5 record (which, seriously, could be 5-2 with a few breaks) and say “Same Old Browns,” this is a team that, after a 1-11 start last year, has gone 6-5 over its last 11 games.

And while that certainly doesn’t mean we should be booking playoff tickets, it means that it would be very hard for someone to argue that this team isn’t making progress.

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2 thoughts on “Motier foux in the Big Easy

  1. It was a great win but because we won in such a non typical way, I wonder how we build on it? We can't count on the speical team trickeration each week. Nor can we expect 2 defensive tds. I'm curious where we go from here.

    Totally agree with you on McCoy. Let him sit an learn some more. I would really like to see Jake in there when he is healthy.

    Great win!

  2. I think the win mainly rewards the players for all the work they've put in and gives them something tangible to hold on to.

    They've been in so many games this year and haven't been able to pull out the win; this one helps keep the team in a positive frame of mind.

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