Saints/Browns Memorable Game: ‘Big Ben II’ From 1999
This brings back bad memories, but it reminds you of how one franchise has dominated another, even courtesy of some luck, during their all-time series.
The New Orleans Saints are at home for week two of the 2018 NFL season on Sunday, when they play host to the Cleveland Browns in an inter-conference match-up.
Kickoff at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is scheduled for noon, and you can hear all the play-by-play action on ESPN 1420, as well as 97.3 The Dawg.
The Saints are 0-1 on the season, while the Browns will enter at 0-0-1.
The Browns lead the all-time series, 13-4, and have outscored the Saints, 397-290, in the 16 match-ups between the two franchises.
After Art Modell moved the original Browns’ franchise to Baltimore in 1995, and the expansion Browns resumed operations in 1999, Cleveland holds a 4-1 advantage over the Saints.
In the first meeting between the two franchises, back on October 1, 1967, the Browns captured a convincing 42-7.
The last time the two teams met was four years ago, back in 2014, with Cleveland winning that one, 26-24.
Today, we go back to Sunday, October 31, 1999 for a 21-16 Browns win, their first of the year, and first since 1995, when the Browns left Cleveland, moved to Baltimore, and became the Ravens.
New Orleans, who won their season opener, 19-10, over the Carolina Panthers, went into the game at 1-5, after dropping their next five, while Cleveland was winless, at 0-6.
That Saints were looking for only their fourth win in franchise history against the Browns, but had won three of the last four match-ups between the two.
New Orleans scored the only points of the first quarter, when quarterback Billy Joe Hobert threw a short 5-yard touchdown pass to Keith Poole, giving them a 7-0 lead at the 3:59 mark of the first period.
Cleveland tied things at the 7:37 mark of the second quarter, as Marc Edwards caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Tim Couch, making the score 7-7.
The Saints retook the lead with only :08 remaining in the second quarter, when Doug Brien nailed a 49-yard field goal, giving them a 10-7 advantage as the teams went into the locker room at halftime.
The Browns grabbed their first lead of the game at the 8:53 mark of the third quarter, with Couch connecting with Kevin Johnson on a 24-yard scoring strike, giving them a 14-10 advantage.
New Orleans got to within one point at the 1:14 mark of the third quarter when Brien kicked through his second field goal of the afternoon, this one from 22 yards out, making the score 14-13, Cleveland.
After a scoreless fourth quarter, for the first 14:39, Brien looked like he helped the Saints to a win, when he made good on a 46-yard field goal, giving New Orleans a 16-14 lead with only :21 remaining.
After a 25-yard kickoff return, and an incomplete pass on first down, Couch completed a 19-yard pass to Leslie Shepherd, giving the Browns the football at their own 44-yard line with only :02 remaining.
The next play will be forever engrained in the memories of Saints' fans, as Couch dropped back, and threw a Hail Mary that was caught by Kevin Johnson, off of a deflection, as time expired, giving the Browns a 21-16 win, snapping the longest winless streak in NFL history based on calendar days and sending the crowd at the Louisiana Superdome home in a state of shock.
It has been labeled by many Saints fans as "Big Ben II".
New Orleans outgained Cleveland, in terms of total yards, 351-243, including 231-62 advantage on the ground, by turned over the football five time, including three fumbles and two interceptions.
Rickey Williams led the Saints in a losing cause, with 179 yards on 40 carries.
The Saints went on to finish 3-13 in 1999, while the Browns won only one more game, and finished at 2-14.
View the play, at the :40 mark, in the video, below: