Browns 24

(6-5, 4-2 away)

Saints 15

(7-4, 3-2 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, November 24, 2002


1 2 3 4 T
CLE 7 7 7 324
NO 3 3 6 315

McAllister can only watch as Browns run over Saints

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The running back scampering down the Superdome field was not Deuce McAllister.

William Green

Green has scored two of Cleveland's five rushing TDs this season.

With 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,'' Cleveland quarterback Tim Couch said.

It was the fourth victory in five games for the Browns (6-5), who have climbed back into contention in the AFC North after a poor start. Cleveland trails Pittsburgh by a half-game.

"It was a huge step for this football team and organization to go on the road late in the season in a meaningful ballgame and play against a very talented and good football team and be able to win,'' Cleveland coach Butch Davis said.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the Browns: Should we take their bid for a playoff berth seriously if RB William Green keeps this up?
When you look at the standings, you see that the Browns have a chance. They're barely behind division leader Pittsburgh. I love what Green is doing, and WR Dennis Northcutt is also making explosive plays. QB Tim Couch is beginning to play more consistently, and he has weapons to throw to. So you never know.

Question on the Saints: What's happened to the offense the past two weeks?
RB Deuce McAllister's injury is a major factor, because he's such a dominant player. But I think it comes back to the defense. The Saints' D hasn't been stopping people consistently. And if you're playing against the Saints, you want to keep the ball away from their explosive offense. If an opponent's defense can play "keep away" with New Orleans' offense, the Saints will keep struggling.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

The Saints (7-4) have lost three of four to fall into third place in the NFC South. McAllister, the NFC's leading runner with 950 yards rushing, was active but never got into the game 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 struggled without him, gaining just 74 yards rushing and scoring just one touchdown on six trips inside the Cleveland 20. 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,'' Brooks said.

Brooks completed 23 of 40 passes for 318 yards, but threw three interceptions and no touchdowns.

Couch was 12-for-21 for 182 yards and a touchdown for Cleveland. 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 of the game 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 their only lead 3-0.

Cleveland went up 7-3 on a 1-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 their drive stalled at the 8. The Saints then blew a chance to regain 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, wide receiver Dennis Northcutt took a handoff and ran 36 yards for the touchdown, 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 2 before Brooks threw an interception on third down to Anthony Henry.

"I told them we stunk,'' Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "We were awful and that's not us. We turned the ball over and had a lot of turnovers.''

The Saints opened the second half with their only touchdown of the game. The drive was keyed by an 11-yard run on a fake punt by Fred McAfee. James Fenderson capped the drive with a 17-yard run, but the Saints missed on a 2-point conversion and trailed 14-12.

Couch's 24-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Johnson with 4:44 left in the third quarter made it 21-12 Browns.

The Saints then drove to the Cleveland 17, but on third-and-7, Brooks was intercepted by Browns' safety Earl Little in the end zone.

The Saints got the ball back on an interception by Fred Thomas and Carney kicked a 49-yard field goal that made it 21-15 with 10:14 left in the game.

A 28-yard field goal by Phil Dawson with 3:25 remaining provided Cleveland's final margin.

Game notes

The Saints extended their streak of consecutive home sellouts to 19, but it was too late to keep the game from being blacked out locally. ... Only two of Cleveland's games this year have been decided by more than seven points. ... It was the first time this season that Brooks didn't throw a touchdown pass. ... Cleveland entered the game last in the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 79.1 yards per game. They piled up 163 yards against the Saints. ... Injuries_ Browns: CB Daylon McCutcheon, right thumb. Saints: Sedrick Hodge, mild concussion.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

cleTD3:58Dennis Northcutt, 36 yd run
Drive info: 2 plays, 36 yds, 0:07
Drive info: 2 plays, 36 yds, 0:07
noFG10:57John Carney 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 9 yds, 0:18
noFG11:14John Carney 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 22 yds, 1:59
Drive info: 6 plays, 79 yds, 3:29
Drive info: 6 plays, 79 yds, 3:29
noTD8:34James Fenderson, 17 yd run
Drive info: 12 plays, 80 yds, 5:46
noFG14:11John Carney 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 60 yds, 13:29
cleTD4:00William Green, 1 yd run
Drive info: 9 plays, 75 yds, 5:24
Drive info: 9 plays, 75 yds, 5:24
cleFG3:29Phil Dawson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 13 plays, 68 yds, 6:42