CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns threw everything they had at the New Orleans Saints--two quarterbacks, Todd Philcox and Vinny Testaverde; Eric Metcalf, broken hand and all; risky screen passes, and every blitz in the book.
The Browns sacked Wade Wilson nine times and yielded only 22 second-half yards in beating the Saints, 17-13, Sunday.
Philcox got Cleveland off to one of its best starts all season, going to Michael Jackson with an eight-yard touchdown pass on the Browns' first possession and driving them to Matt Stover's 43-yard field goal on the next.
Cleveland scored only 22 first-quarter points in its previous 11 games but started early this time because of a bad snap that pinned the Saints near their goal line on their first possession. After the punt, the Browns started their first drive at the New Orleans 35.
But after Philcox was intercepted by Renaldo Turnbull on Cleveland's third series, he was benched, and Testaverde came in for the first time since suffering a separated right shoulder against Pittsburgh six weeks earlier.
Testaverde, however, was largely ineffective, getting the Browns to the end zone only once, on a four-yard pass to Jackson that broke a 10-10 tie in the third quarter.
The touchdown was set up by Metcalf's 55-yard run, the longest from scrimmage in his career. Metcalf has a broken bone in his right hand.
Philcox relieved Testaverde midway through the fourth quarter and threw an eight-yard completion to Brian Kinchen for a first down that helped Cleveland consume most of the final four minutes.
Testaverde came out because his shoulder had stiffened.
Philcox was seven of 15 for 91 yards, and Testaverde nine of 20 for 92 yards. Each threw an interception.
The Browns (6-6) ended a four-game losing streak that had nearly destroyed their playoff hopes.
New Orleans (7-5) has lost five of seven since opening the season with five victories.
"I hope it doesn't take as long to get our seventh win as it did to get our sixth," said Bill Belichick, the beleaguered coach of the Browns who endured chants of "Bill must go!" during Cleveland's previous home game.
"I was really proud of the players, the way we fought through a little adversity the past couple of weeks."
The quarterback changes were reminiscent of the first half of the season, when Belichick routinely used Testaverde in relief of Bernie Kosar. The victory was Cleveland's first in four games since Kosar was cut.
Against the Browns' defensive pressure, Wilson completed 15 of 29 passes for 119 yards.
"They dogged, ran blitzes, gambled some, and it worked," Wilson said. "They had man coverage on our receivers and we couldn't take advantage of it because of the pressure. They'd bring an extra man up to the line of scrimmage, leaving them in (single coverage), figuring they can get to you before you're able to make a big play."
The Saints were held to two field goals in the second half, both the result of turnovers. Leroy Hoard fumbled on the Cleveland 20 and Metcalf fumbled a punt at the Cleveland 33.