Saints overcome Browns, 17-10, in bitterly cold Cleveland
CLEVELAND (WVUE) - It was tough to tell what was the Saints’ biggest achievement Saturday, that they won their Christmas Eve game, or that they survived it.
Stepping far outside the climate-controlled comfort of Caesars Superdome, the Saints overcame both the elements and the Cleveland Browns, 17-10, at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Saints improved to 6-9, keeping pace with Carolina and moving within a half-game of the division-leading Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South. The Buccaneers play their Week 16 game at Arizona on Christmas night.
Saturday’s game was officially the coldest regular-season home game in Cleveland’s franchise history. The game kicked off with the temperature at 6 degrees and the wind-chill factor making it feel like 12-below.
The Browns (6-9) seemed more suited to the frigid conditions early, jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the second quarter after both teams shivered through a scoreless opening period.
After former LSU star Grant Delpit intercepted a deflected Andy Dalton pass, Cleveland quarterback Deshaun Watson scampered for a 12-yard touchdown run at the start of the second quarter and Cade York kicked a 30-yard field goal with 4:11 left in the period for the 10-point lead.
The Saints managed a 23-yard field goal by Wil Lutz with 3 seconds left in the first half to cut the deficit to 10-3.
New Orleans stormed ahead with two unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter.
Taysom Hill scored the first, breaking a tackle and dragging three Browns defenders into the end zone with 9:45 left in the third. Lutz’s extra point tied the game 10-10.
Alvin Kamara put the Saints ahead for the first time with 1:01 left in the third, scoring on a 4-yard rush to the left side for a 17-10 lead.
The Browns made a final push, reaching the Saints’ 15-yard line with 26 seconds to play. But on 4th-and-10, Carl Granderson chased down a scrambling Watson for a sack that essentially won the game.
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