Saints see highs and lows in preseason loss to Browns

Colton Wood
Sean Payton answers questions after his team's 20-14 loss to the Browns in New Orleans' first preseason game.

Tommylee Lewis certainly showed the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night why he should make the 53-man roster.

The second-year wide receiver grabbed 10 catches for a game-high 124 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough as the Saints fell to the Cleveland Browns on the road, 20-14.

“I’m sure we’re going to have a lot of things to correct on that film,” head coach Sean Payton said. “I think things that come up obviously are some of the situational awareness we lack; some of the substitutions. There were a handful of things penalty-wise that were kind of sloppy. We have to see the tape and make the corrections.”

Garrett Grayson, who is also trying to make the 53-man roster, completed 11-of-16 passes for 126 yards in the loss.

Rookie Alvin Kamara had four carries for 35 yards and rookie linebacker Alex Anzalone logged three tackles in the loss.

DeShone Kizer completed 11-of-18 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown in the win for the Browns.

The Saints’ first-team defense took to the field for the Browns’ first three drives and looked dominant, forcing Cleveland to go three-and-out on all three drives.

They were also able to hold the Browns from recording a first down in the opening quarter.

The Saints managed to get into Browns territory and score the game’s first points on their second drive of the game.

Facing third-and-three on the Browns’ 4-yard line, wide receiver Ted Ginn dropped an easy touchdown pass from Chase Daniel in the end zone, forcing Wil Lutz to kick a 22-yard field goal to take an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Grayson was stripped of the ball and Cleveland’s Carl Nassib recovered.

The Browns capitalized on the turnover as running back Matthew Dayes’ one-yard rush up the middle gave the Browns a 7-3 lead after Zane Gonzalez made the extra point.

New Orleans was able to score once more before the half with a 42-yard field goal by Lutz with just seconds left in the half.

Cleveland, trying to quickly drive down the field, couldn’t increase their lead as they went into the half with a 7-6 lead.

The Saints regained the lead early in the final quarter.

On his first drive in at quarterback, Ryan Nassib went 3-for-3 and completed a two-yard touchdown pass to Lewis to give the Saints a 14-7 lead after the Saints converted the 2-point conversion.

Wide receiver Richard Mullaney, who registered 70 receiving yards in the win, hauled in a 52-yard reception on the proceeding drive to put the Browns at the Saints’ 1-yard line. On the next play, running back Terrence Magee hustled into the end zone to cut the Browns' deficit to a point. Cleveland then attempted to go for the 2-point conversion but failed.

With less than two minutes left in the game, Kizer regained the lead for the Browns with a 45-yard pass to Jordan Payton. After the extra point, the Browns took a 20-14 lead.

“Honestly, it reminded me a lot of the start of my college career,” Kizer said. “That was a game-winning touchdown to Will Fuller (against Virginia) down the same left side right around the same distance where you just let it go and you know you just put it in the right spot. That was a really cool experience there, but I also have had some experiences in college.”

Nassib tried to lead a game-winning drive, but turned the ball over on a fumble, which sealed a Cleveland victory.

“I think it was a disappointing loss,” Nassib said. “Obviously, I wanted to have the ball in my hands at the end of the game. I wanted to come away with a win. We did not accomplish that, which is tough.”

The Saints will continue their road journey as they will face the Los Angeles Chargers on the road on Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. ET.

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