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Winners and losers of the Browns' 17-10 loss to the Saints

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Browns were defeated by New Orleans Saints, 17-10Saturday at FirstEnergy Stadium, but that’s exactly what the scoreboard says.

Here are the winners and losers:

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Winner: Carl Granderson

Saints defensive end Carl Granderson made the decisive sack to help improve New Orleans’ record to 6-9. Prior to his sacking, the Browns trailed 17-10 while approaching a fourth-and-10 from the New Orleans 15-yard line in the 18th play of their final practice of the game.

Deshaun Watson contributed 49 of 58 total yards through the air and was looking to make his first regular-season game-winning drive in three years.

His 18-yard completion to David Bell positioned them in the red zone, but the next three plays were incomplete passes, two of which hit the hands of targeted receivers. This led to fourth and 10, and what would become the Browns’ last game.

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Watson went into the pocket for a few seconds, while Saints defensive end Carl Granderson lined up like an edge rusher, only to drop and cover David Njoku of the Browns. After Watson didn’t kick the ball in the opening seconds, Granderson noticed and rushed over to help his teammates pressure Watson.

As he crossed the 15-yard line, the timing couldn’t have been better as Watson tried to get out of the pocket, only to meet Granderson, who took him to the ground by the legs.

Loser: David Bell

The rookie wide receiver received praise for his consistent, sturdy hands that could catch a piano falling from the sky. Heading into Saturday’s game, Bell had caught 22 of his 29 targets, but most of Bell’s targeted passes were uncatchable or thrown into traffic.

That was not the case on Saturday, with just minutes remaining in the third quarter in a tight 10-10 game. A second and 11 saw Bell beat New Orleans’ Alontae Taylor on the oblique, and he dived for the catch thrown by Watson.

Instead, the ball hit the palms of Bell’s hands, only to jump through and into the hands of New Orleans’ Daniel Sorenson, giving Watson his third interception in four games. Sorenson took the pick 36 yards down the field to position New Orleans in the red zone. The Saints eventually scored a rushing touchdown to take a 17-10 lead.

Winner: Grant Delpit

The third-year safety has upped his game in recent games, with a different grit. According to Pro Football Focus, last week against the Ravens, Delpit recorded his highest running defense rating (85.2), one of his highest tackling ratings (82.6) and his second highest defensive rating. highest overall of the season (72.2).

Delpit continued his best game on Saturday in a sluggish attacking first quarter. As New Orleans’ Andy Dalton attempted a pass to Juwan Johnson, he pushed Johnson back and into the air for Delpit to catch.

On his third career interception, he drove 40 yards down the field to position the Browns offense 30 yards from the end zone. The interception led the Browns offense to strike first for a 7-0 lead.

Loser: Browns tackle

The Browns defense entered Saturday with the third-worst tackle rating in the NFL (34.7), according to Pro Football Focus.

No example of that since Saturday’s loss was more apparent than when several Browns defensemen allowed Taysom Hill to run through them for the Saints’ second and final touchdown of the game.

The Saints started the second half with the ball and had already positioned themselves in the red zone after Hill rushed for 13 yards on the seventh play of the series. But it was a few plays later when Hill commanded the pitch he ran into when barely touched. On a second and 6.8 yards from the end zone, Hill broke the ball with a fake pass to take it himself in the middle.

Alex Wright hit first for the tackle, but did a mini ride as Hill chased him away. Greg Newsome II was next as Wright fell to the ground, only to be enlarged and held down for life. As Hill approached the 3 yard line, the last chances to bring him down were Chase Winovich and John Johnson III from behind, only to see Hill pass them in the end zone.

Hill’s role in the Saints offense never came as a surprise. But still, even with Hill right in front of them, they couldn’t bring him down.

Cleveland Browns vs.  New Orleans Saints, December 24, 2022

Cleveland Browns fans donned holiday gear and braved freezing temperatures to watch the Browns lose to the New Orleans Saints, Dec. 24, 2022, at FirstEnergy Stadium.John Kuntz, cleveland.com

Winner: Browns Fans

It was the coldest regular season home game in franchise history, at kickoff the wind chill was negative -16 degrees, but the fans who were there held on and made it noise. Strong gusts of wind rattled streetlights, icy roads delayed any vehicle travel, but they showed up.

Kudos to all the Browns fans who attended the Christmas Eve game on Saturday knowing they were in danger of freezing at the end of the game, like Jack Torrance in “The Shining.” Major respect.

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