Could the Cleveland Browns continue the turnover parade against the New Orleans Saints that started against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 of the 2018 regular season?
Well, over the first 30 minutes of football at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the answer to that question was a resounding “Yes.”
One week after forcing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger into six turnovers, the Browns forced and recovered two fumbles in the first half against the Saints on the way to a 6-3 lead over New Orleans’ high-octane offense.
The turnovers started early, as the Browns forced a fumble and recovered on the Saints’ third scrimmage play of the game.
After catching a pass from quarterback Drew Brees on the left side of the field, wide receiver Michael Thomas attempted to turn upfield, but cornerback Terrance Mitchell knocked loose the football and safety Damarious Randall recovered right before sliding out of bounds.
The Browns’ seventh forced turnover of the season and turned a fumble recovery into a 39-yard field goal from kicker Zane Gonzalez and 3-0 lead over the Saints with 8:29 to play in the first quarter of the inter-conference matchup.
After taking possession of the ball in Saints territory, the Browns utilized the running game to move the ball down the field, as wide receiver Antonio Callaway scampered down the field for a gain of 15 yards that took the offense from the New Orleans 39-yard line down to the 24.
Three plays later, Gonzalez converted the field goal attempt.
On New Orleans’ first drive of the second quarter, Brees completed a short pass to wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. as the former Ohio State Buckeyes standout ran a crossing route from the right side of the formation toward the Saints’ sideline.
With the ball pinned against Ginn’s left shoulder pad, the Browns hustled toward him to deliver a hit, and Mitchell once again created a turnover. After forcing the fumble, Mitchell recovered the loose ball at the New Orleans 46-yard line.
The Browns’ ensuing drive stalled after running back Duke Johnson Jr. was stopped for a one-yard loss on fourth-and-one at the Saints’ 37-yard line.
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