Cleveland - A New Orleans Saints fumble helped the Cleveland Browns take a 7-6 halftime lead Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium in the first preseason game for both teams.
Chase Daniel started at quarterback for the Saints and was an efficient 4 of 6 for 27 yards and almost had a touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. on the team's second drive. The Saints settled for a 23-yard Wil Lutz field goal. Daniel was replaced by Garrett Grayson who was having a decent half before a Browns defender stripped the ball from him with Cleveland recovering at the New Orleans 21.
That turnover led to the Browns' only score, a 1-yard run by Matthew Dayes.
Other than on that short scoring drive the Saints defense, especially the first unit, played solid. Defensive end Hau'oli Kikaha, coming back from his third torn ACL, had a nice pressure in the first half that would have resulted in a sack if he hadn't been held by a Browns lineman. The holding call forced a punt. Linebacker Stephone Anthony registered a sack in the second quarter on a blitz that forced a Browns punt.
The second unit defense had several costly penalties, including a pass interference call on Ken Crawley in the end zone that set up the 1-yard scoring run.
Saints stars Drew Brees, Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson and Cam Jordan didn't play. First-round draft picks Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk also were held out along with a handful of other players.
Rookie Alvin Kamara had a nice first half with several strong carries and a decent punt return. The offense struggled to move the ball once Daniel and the first-team exited the game except for the final drive of the half when Lutz connected on a 42-yard field goal. Grayson had several nice completions to Tommylee Lewis and Brandon Coleman on the drive.
Saints key stats
Chase Daniel, 4 of 6 for 27 yards
Alvin Kamara, four carries for 35 yards
Michael Thomas, two catches for 17 yards
Browns key stats
Brock Osweiler, 6 of 14 for 42 yards.
Isaiah Crowell, six carries for 15 yards
Corey Coleman, two catches for 11 yards
Check out photos as the Saints get warmed up for their 2017 preseason opener in Cleveland.