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CLEVELAND 24, NEW ORLEANS 15

Green Gears Up Browns

November 25, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — The running back scampering across the Superdome field was not Deuce McAllister.

With the injured New Orleans star watching from the sidelines, Cleveland rookie William Green ran for 114 yards and a touchdown to spark the Browns to a 24-15 victory over the Saints on Sunday.

"I really feel this offense is just tapping into what it can do," Brown quarterback Tim Couch said.

It was the fourth victory in the last five games for the Browns (6-5).

It was the third loss in the last four for the Saints (7-4). McAllister, the NFC's leading rusher with 950 yards, was active but did not play because of a sprained right ankle. "You want to make plays, it's hard to sit on the sidelines," McAllister said. "I wanted to help my team."

New Orleans gained only 74 yards rushing and scored only one touchdown in six trips inside the Cleveland 20-yard line. Cleveland forced three red-zone turnovers -- two interceptions and a fumble by Aaron Brooks -- and twice held the Saints to field goals.

"I made three bad decisions," said Brooks, who completed 23 of 40 passes for 318 yards, but had three interceptions and no touchdowns.

Couch was 12 for 21 for 182 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted twice. "I've got that gunslinger mentality," Couch said. "No matter what happens I'm going out there and throwing the ball."

Couch's third pass was intercepted by Dale Carter, who returned it 23 yards to give New Orleans the ball at the Browns' 37. John Carney's 33-yard field goal gave the Saints a 3-0 lead.

Cleveland went ahead, 7-3, on a one-yard touchdown run by Green. The 85-yard drive was fueled by a 46-yard pass from Couch to Quincy Morgan and three penalties against the Saints that gave the Browns 14 yards and two first downs.

New Orleans opened the second quarter with a 27-yard field goal after a drive stalled at the eight. The Saints blew a chance to get the lead when Brooks fumbled at the Cleveland 17.

The Saints stopped the Browns, but Michael Lewis muffed the punt, which Andra Davis recovered for Cleveland. Two plays later, receiver Dennis Northcutt took a handoff and ran 36 yards for the score, making it 14-6 with 3:50 in the half.

On the Saints' next possession, Lewis caught a 59-yard pass as New Orleans drove to the 12 before settling for Carney's 30-yard field goal that made it 14-6.

Late in the half, New Orleans drove to the two before Brooks threw an interception on third down to Anthony Henry.

"I told them we stunk," Saint Coach Jim Haslett said. "We were awful and that's not us. We had a lot of turnovers."

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