The Cleveland Browns stunned the New Orleans Saints, 26-24 on Sept. 14 to win their first home opener in 10 years. It was also the first win of new head coach Mike Pettine.
The Cleveland Browns beat the New Orleans Saints, 26-24, in Week 2 of the 2014 NFL regular season.
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It was Browns head coach Mike Pettine's first win. Cleveland beat a Super Bowl contender without the services of tight end Jordan Cameron and running back Ben Tate, per The Northeast Ohio Media Group's Mary Kay Cabot:
"Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer brought the magic back to FirstEnergy Stadium against the Saints on Sunday.
"He engineered a thrilling 14-play, 85-yard field goal drive to beat the Saints, 26-24, on a 29-yard Billy Cundiff field goal with three seconds remaining.
"Hoyer took over at his 4-yard line with 2:46 to go and all three of his timeouts remaining.
"Overcoming a sack that put him in third-and-12 at his own 32, Hoyer completed 8-of-11 attempts on the drive for 78 yards.
"He orchestrated a Kardiac Kid-like two-minute march that featured a 10-yard pass to Gary Barnidge on fourth-and-6; a 13-yard out to Miles Austin that withstood a replay challenge; and a clutch 28-yard pass to a wide-open Andrew Hawkins to the 11 to set up Cundiff's game-winning kick.
"'It's pretty exciting,' said Hoyer. 'I think it was a total team victory. Shoot, I give the fans some credit. They wre rocking, they prevented Drew Brees from doing some stuff...Coach told us that it was 10 years since the Browns won a home opener. I was in high school at that time. It was a great win and the fans deserve it.'
"The Browns won their first home opener since 2004 -- and only their second one since their rebirth in 1999. They had lost nine straight before the comeback that rocked the refurbished house.
"'I couldn't be prouder, couldn't be happier for all the work (put in), said coach Mike Pettine. 'Just going back to the spring, but the coaches. Paydays don't come very often. You only get them 16 times year in the regular season. We got paid today.'
"The victory marked Pettine's first as Browns head coach, and was punctuated with a Gatorade bath. It came against a team that went 11-5 last season and was picked by many experts to go to the Super Bowl this year.
"'I can't lie, it feels great,' he said. 'I have a big 'ole cigar with my name on it waiting for me. Don't ask unnecessary questions (laughter). It feels great, but again to me, I know I represent this group, but this was a Cleveland Browns win. We wanted it for us, we wanted it for the city. These fans came out, you could just feel the energy in the stadium today. It was awesome.'
"Hoyer (204 yards, 1 TD, 81.7 rating) imroved to 4-1 as the Browns' starter, with two game-winning two-minute drives.
"'When you win games, everyone respects you at that position,' said Hoyer. 'It was a very similar feeling to the Minnesota game last year.'
"Hoyer pulled out the victory despite not having Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron or starting running back Ben Tate."
Kevin Jones of the Browns' official website says win over the Saints means Cleveland has what it takes to make the postseason this year:
"The Cleveland Browns' 26-24 win over the New Orleans Saints only counts for one win in the standings.
"But to the Browns' players, head coach Mike Pettine and even the city of Cleveland, the gutsy, last-second victory over a prominent franchise like New Orleans means so much more than a singular tally in the win column: Beating the Saints showed why the Browns have the right ingredients to compete for a playoff spot this season.
"'We understand we aren't the same Cleveland Browns,' said safety Donte Whitner in a raucous locker room following the win.
"Why did the Browns win the football game? Because for the first time in many years, the players on the field truly thought they could. Season after season, the Browns have been on the Saints' side of the coin -- playing well enough to be in the game at the end, but never being able to consistently bury an opponent in crunch time...
"...Against the Saints, the Browns proved two things to the rest of the NFL:
"1) Cleveland may rely on their defense, but they won't depend on it solely. Hoyer and the offense can make timely plays to win games.
"2) These aren't the same Cleveland Browns. The team will obviously have to prove that next week against Baltimore, but the foundation of expectations for success is now just a phrase plastered on the walls: it really happened. Pettine has talked about ripping off the rearview mirror. Beating the Saints was the equivalent of tossing that mirror into Lake Erie."
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