Browns Win: 3 Plays That Changed the Game


The Cleveland Browns upset the New Orleans Saints, dropping the NFC powerhouse to 0 – 2. The Browns were not given a chance by many national pundits, though we predicted a win before the game kicked off. We will analyze the game in a variety of ways over the next few days until we turn our attention to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3. For now we look at 3 plays that changed the game and led to the Browns win:

1st Quarter

Down and Distance: 4th and 4 at the 26 yard line

Play: Field Goal Attempt

The Browns, leading 7 – 0 near the end of the first quarter, had their drive stall at the 26 yard line. Billy Cundiff took the field for a long field goal attempt. Just prior to the snap cornerback Patrick Robinson, who was also beat by Miles Austin for the Browns first TD, jumped offside. That gave the Browns a first down which became even more impactful when Billy Cundiff’s kick went off the right upright. The Browns got the first down but were only able to get 7 more yards. Cundiff returned and hit the short field goal to give the Browns a 10 – 0 lead.

Impact – Instead of giving the powerful Saints offense the ball close to midfield the Browns got the 3 points and kicked off. The Saints got rolling a little later in the second quarter. Had the Browns lost momentum on the missed field goal it could have quickly charged the Saints offense into high gear. Instead the Browns keep the lead and put pressure on the visitors. Medium Impact

4th Quarter

Down and Distance: 3rd and 5 at the 31 yard line

Play: New Orleans Saints Pass Attempt

The Saints, holding on to a 1 point  lead, had the ball and were setup to attempt 48 yard field goal if they gained zero yards on the play. Drew Brees, as he is apt to do, wanted a touchdown to put the team up 8 and salt away some of the clock. Quickly after the snap Browns inside linebacker exploded untouched to sack Brees for a 7 yard loss. Brees seemed to blame his running back who ran a route upon the snap. Dansby’s explosiveness gave Brees no chance to get the ball out or escape the pocket.

Impact – Instead of being down 4 the Browns were able to force the Saints to punt. Had Brees converted for a first down the Saints would have taken a ton of time off the clock with either a field goal or a touchdown. It is possible they could have run out the clock had they made the first down. Either way the Browns would needed a touchdown to win instead of a field goal. Far more pressure for Brian Hoer. Medium – High Impact

4th Quarter

Down and Distance: 4th and 6 at the 38 yard line

Play: Cleveland Browns Pass Attempt

With the Browns down 1 still Brian Hoyer and the Browns offense had only gone 34 yards in over 2 minutes. With 48 seconds left the Browns were facing a 4th down and 6. Hoyer hit Gary Barnidge in a crowded field for 10 yards. Barnidge held on over high paid free agent Jarius Byrd to keep the drive going. Three plays later Hoyer hit Andrew Hawkins on a busted play (great play call as Saints were expecting a short pass to get a couple yards) leading to the game winning field goal by Billy Cundiff.

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Impact – If Hoyer places that a foot either way it would have been tough for Barnidge to make the catch. Barnidge, not known for his pass catching coming in last year from Carolina, made a huge play to secure the catch. The Browns finished a struggle of a 2 minute drill to win a huge game early in the season. High Impact

Honorable Mention: Hawkins catch leading to the field goal, Tashaun Gipson‘s interception and 2 third down passes to Miles Austin in the 4th quarter.

What was the biggest impact play to you for the Browns win?