BY JUSTIN MACIONE opening loss as they face an up-and-coming Browns squad. The Saints are coming off a dramatic 48-40 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their 2018 season opener last Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. After falling behind 48-24 early in the fourth quarter, New Orleans rebounded and was only one touchdown and a two-point conversions from sending the game to overtime in a high-scoring contest. QB Drew Brees finished the day completing 37-of-45 passes for 439 yards with three touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 129.5 passer rating. The signal-caller connected with WR Ted Ginn Jr., RB Alvin Kamara and WR Michael Thomas on scoring strikes, while Ginn (pass) and Kamara (rush) each successfully converted key two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. Thomas, starting his third season after posting the most receptions by a National Football League player in his first two seasons, set a franchise single-game receiving record with 16 grabs for 180 yards and the third quarter scoring grab. Defensively, while injecting four new contributors into the defense in S Kurt Coleman, DE Marcus Davenport, LB Demario Davis and CB Patrick Robinson, New Orleans struggled against Tampa Bay’s passing attack and allowed them to convert 8-of-13 third down attempts. One area where an offseason objective was accomplished was by holding the Buccaneers running game to an average of only 3.3 yards per carry, after surrendering 4.4 yards per an attempt in 2017. Special teams was a strength on Sunday as P Thomas Morstead booted three punts for 156 yards (52.0 gross and 45.7 net) and K Wil Lutz had five of his seven kickoffs sail into the end zone for touchbacks. S Chris Banjo and DB Justin Hardee led the coverage units with two tackles apiece.
SAINTS LOOK FOR WEEK TWO REBOUND AGAINST BROWNS
he New Orleans Saints (0-1) will seek their first win of the season when they play at home for the second consecutive week today, hosting the Cleveland Browns (0-0-1) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Today marks the 18th meeting between the Saints and the Browns with Cleveland leading the series 13-4 and the Black and Gold seeking their first home win against the opponent since 1990. With New Orleans on the docket, Cleveland
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is on the verge of a breakthrough having ended a 17-game losing streak on Sunday with a 21-21 tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers in their season opener. This will be the opening of play against the AFC North clubs in 2018 for New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton, entering his 13th season in charge of the Black and Gold, has tasked his team throughout the week in meetings and practices toward improving in specific areas from a season
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Series History: New Orleans is 4-13 all-time against the Browns. The clubs were both members of the NFL’s Century Division in 1968, New Orleans’ second season. Since Payton became head coach in 2006, the Saints have posted a 1-2 record against the Browns. New Orleans opened up the Payton/Brees era by defeating the Browns in the 2006 opener, 19-14. On Oct. 24, 2010, the Saints dropped a 30-17 contest to the Browns at the Superdome. New Orleans fell to the Browns 26-24 at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sept. 14, 2014 in the most recent meeting. Saints-Browns Connections: Head Coach Sean Payton and Browns Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley coached on the same staff with the Dallas Cowboys in 2004-05 under Bill Parcells. LB Craig Robertson spent the first four years of his career as a member of the Cleveland Browns after going undrafted out of North Texas in 2011 and joining the team’s practice squad at the end of that campaign. S Kurt Coleman, WR Michael Thomas, WR Ted Ginn Jr, S Vonn Bell, and CB Marshon Lattimore all played college football at Ohio State. Thomas, Bell, and Lattimore were teammates and members of the OSU 2015 National Championship Team. Ginn, DB Justin Hardee and Lattimore are Cleveland natives who attended Glenville High School, where they were coached by Ginn’s father, Ted Ginn Sr. Thomas, Bell and Lattimore were Buckeyes teammates with Cleveland rookie CB Denzel Ward. TE Benjamin Watson played for the Browns from 201012. Cleveland WR Jarvis Landry prepped at Lutcher High School and was a standout at LSU.