Winners and Losers of the Browns' 17-10 Loss to the Saints

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Browns were beaten 17-10 by the New Orleans Saints on Saturday at FirstEnergy Stadium, but that’s exactly what the scoreboard said.

Here are the winners and losers:

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Winner: Carl Granderson

Saints defensive end Carl Granderson made the decisive sack to help improve New Orleans’ record to 6-9. Before his sack, the Browns trailed 17-10 as they closed in on a fourth-and-10 from New Orleans’ 15-yard line on the 18th play of their last drive of the game.

Deshaun Watson contributed 49 of 58 total passing yards and was looking to make his first regular season win in three years.

His 18-yard completion to David Bell placed them in the red zone, but the next three plays were incomplete passes, two of them touching the hands of target receivers. This led to fourth and 10, and what would become the Browns’ last play.

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Watson got into the pocket for a few seconds, while Saints defensive end Carl Granderson lined up as an edge rusher, only to drop and cover the Browns’ David Njoku. After Watson failed to release the ball in the first few seconds, Granderson realized this and rushed back to help his teammates put pressure on Watson.

Upon crossing the 15-yard line, the timing couldn’t have been better as Watson tried to break out of the pocket, only to be met by Granderson, who tackled him to the ground by his legs.

Loser: David Bell

The rookie wide receiver received praise for his consistent, sturdy hands that could catch a piano falling out of the sky. Prior to Saturday’s fight, Bell had landed 22 of his 29 targets, but most of the passes directed at Bell were unrecoverable or thrown into traffic.

That wasn’t the case on Saturday with just minutes left in the third quarter in a tight 10-10 game. A second and 11 saw Bell beat New Orleans’ Alontae Taylor on the incline, and he dove for the catch thrown by Watson .

Instead, the ball hit Bell’s palms, only to bounce and land in the hands of New Orleans’ Daniel Sorenson, giving Watson his third interception in four games. Sorenson made the 36-yard pick down the field to position New Orleans in the red zone. The Saints finally scored a rushing touchdown to take a 17-10 lead.

Winner: Grant Delpit

The third-year safety has upped his game in recent games, coming in with a different edge. According to Pro Football Focus, last week against the Ravens, Delpit posted his highest defense rating (85.2), one of his highest tackle ratings (82.6) and his second highest overall defense rating in the league. season (72.2).

Delpit continued his best game on Saturday during a slow offensive first quarter. As New Orleans’ Andy Dalton attempted a pass to Juwan Johnson, he clipped Johnson and went up in the air for Delpit to catch.

Going down with his third career interception, he ran 40 yards down the field to position the Browns’ offense 30 yards from the end zone. The interception led the Browns offense to strike first for a 7–0 lead.

Loser: Browns Match

The Browns’ defense entered Saturday with the third-worst tackle rating in the NFL (34.7), according to Pro Football Focus.

No example of this in Saturday’s loss was more apparent than when several Browns defenders allowed Taysom Hill to run past them for the Saints’ second and final touchdown of the game.

The Saints started the second half with the ball, and had already positioned themselves in the red zone after Hill ran 13 yards on the seventh play of the series. But it was a few plays later when Hill commanded the ground he found barely touched. One second and 6.8 yards out of the end zone, Hill grabbed the ball with a fake hand to drive it up the middle.

Alex Wright struck first for the tackle but performed a mini carousel when Hill threw him out. Greg Newsome II was next as Wright fell to the ground, only to be expended and hang on for dear life. As Hill approached the 3-yard line, the last chances to tackle him were Chase Winovich and John Johnson III from behind, only to see Hill’s power run past them in the end zone.

Hill’s role in the Saints offense was never a surprise. Even so, even with Hill right in front of them, they couldn’t take him down.

Cleveland Browns v New Orleans Saints, December 24, 2022

Cleveland Browns fans donned holiday gear and braved freezing temperatures to watch the Browns lose to the New Orleans Saints on December 24, 2022 at FirstEnergy Stadium.John Kuntz, cleveland.com

Winner: Browns fans

This was the coldest regular season home game in franchise history, at first, the wind chill was negative -16 degrees, but the fans who were there resisted and made noise. The strong gusts of wind made the traffic lights shake, the icy roads delayed any journey made by the vehicle, but they appeared.

I congratulate every Browns fan who showed up for Saturday’s game on Christmas Eve, knowing the risk of being frozen late in the game, like Jack Torrance in “The Shining.” Highest respect.

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