Cleveland pulled out its bag of tricks a week before Halloween to beat the New Orleans Saints

By A.J. Giardina – bio | email

NEW ORLEANS, MS (WLOX) -  Credit Cleveland. They did what they had to do and pulled away from New Orleans shocking the home team.

Coach Sean Payton's Saints weren't prepared for what Cleveland head coach Eric Mangini devised to off-set the Saints superior talent.

After the Browns stopped New Orleans on the first offensive series, Cleveland came up with a lateral on the punt.  Joshua Cribbs tossed the football to Eric Wright. He exploded down the sidelines for 62 yards before Marvin Mitchell made a touchdown saving tackle at the New Orleans 19.

Cleveland would kick a field goal to take an early 3 to nothing lead.

Linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar said, "They didn't whatever they needed to do to come up with big plays and they made good plays whenever they needed big plays."

When the Browns were forced to punt in the second quarter, Mangini decided that Cleveland would fake the punt and it worked to perfection.  Reggie Hodges raced 68 yards down to the Saints 9 that led to another field goal and a 13 to 3 Browns advantage.

In the fourth quarter when the Saints still had a chance trailing by 10, Mangini pulled out another trick play. Running back Peyton Hillis completed a pass to quarterback Colt McCoy, eating time off the clock, keeping the ball out of the hands of Drew Brees.

Saints offensive lineman Zach Strief said, "They played well. You know they did some creative stuff. That's 99 percent execution and hats off to them for playing well."

Saints wide receiver Lance Moore added, "You're always going to see some things that are new or different but we didn't play the best.  Penalties, turnovers, that will kill you all the time."

"Drew Brees had one of his worse games ever as a pro. The Browns attacked the veteran quarterback and he didn't look close to resembling Brees of 2009."

Drew Brees completed 37 of 56 passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns. Sounds great, but the veteran quarterback also tossed 4 interceptions, two returned for touchdowns by Browns linebacker David Bowens.

Drew Brees: "Anytime you throw a pick, you're going to be upset about it . Anytime you throw two you're really upset. Three you're really really upset and four you know that's not, I don't have days like that. I mean I've had one of those days in my entire career."

Since arriving in New Orleans in 2006 Brees has developed a reputation of finding his 2nd and 3rd receivers, peppering the football all the field. The Browns didn't give Drew time to find his primary receiver.

Lance Moore: "They were doing a lot of things on defense. They got some pressure in there on his face, a little bit. You can't expect him to be Superman every single play. We just have to step up and make more plays for him and get this thing going."

Former New Orleans Saints linebacker Scott Fujita had an outstanding game for the Browns.

Fujita led Cleveland's defense with 11 tackles, 10 unassisted, had one sack and came up with a big interception.

Fujita said, "To me it was just great to comeback.  I wanted to win a game because we came in 1 and 5 and the Cleveland Browns needed a win.  So it had nothing to do with any payback or anything like that."

The New Orleans Saints had won 9 straight games against AFC opponents. They must now try avoiding a two game losing streak to the AFC because the Pittsburgh Steelers head to the Superdome next Sunday.

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