Cleveland - The Cleveland Browns defeated the New Orleans Saints 26-24 Sunday afternoon when Billy Cundiff kicked a 29-yard field goal with three seconds to play. The Browns (1-1) marched 85 yards in 2 minutes and 43 seconds to set up the winning kick.
The Saints (0-2) had railled back from a 16-3 second quarter deficit to take the lead 24-23 on a 1-yard Mark Ingram touchdown run with 12:12 to play. After forcing a Browns punt the Saints marched into Cleveland territory before the Browns sacked quarterback Drew Brees on a critical third-and-five play. Punter Thomas Morstead, who had another strong outing, pinned the Browns at their 4-yard line with his punt.
But Cleveland quarterback Brian Hoyer, who finished 24 of 40 for 204 yards, was able to march the Browns down the field, converting two third downs and one fourth-down attempt. The winning kick was set up when Andrew Hawkins broke free from the Saints' secondary and caught a 28-yard pass to the New Orleans 11-yard line. Cundiff made the game-winner on the next play.
The loss spoiled another stong outing from tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Mark Ingram, who combined for all three Saints touchdowns. Graham caught 10 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns while Ingram ran the ball 11 times for 83 yards and a TD.
Brees and the Saints' offense got off to a slow start as they punted on their first four possessions. But Brees and the offense heated up late in the second quarter when they marched 85 yards in 12 plays in a TD drive that was capped by a 9-yard Graham TD reception.
Brees, who moved into fourth place all time on the passing yardage list, finished 27 of 40 for 237 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. The pick was a critical one as the Browns' Tashaun Gipson returned it for a 62-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
The Saints will play their first home game of the season next Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings at noon at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.