The Cleveland Browns dropped the New Orleans Saints to 0-2 this season.
What did we learn: As tough as the season-opening loss to the Atlanta Falcons was, it was kind of excusable because of the rivalry between the teams. But this loss to young Cleveland Browns raises some concerns. The Saints defense has yet to click and the secondary is suspect. The team lacked the early intensity to mentally knock out the Browns.
Did you see that? Ever the basketball player, Saints tight end Jimmy Graham got position in the end zone, leaped high in the air and caught a 9-yard touchdown pass to cut the Browns lead to 16-10 with three seconds left in the first half. Graham set a career mark for most catches in a game.
After further review.... The Saints defense was supposed to be one of the best in the NFC entering the season, but after two games it is VERY apparent that is not the case. Allowing the Brown to drive 80 yards on 14 plays for a touchdown to reclaim the lead at 23-17 in the third quarter was unfathomable. Good defenses don't allow that. The Saints made a young, average Browns offense look pretty good.
Look for the old Metairie cha, cha, cha this week: We have seen this artful dance before. The Saints struggle in a road game. The local reporters ask the players and coaches about it ad nauseam. The players and coaches get mad and frustrated.
Johnny Manziel regular-season debut: The rookie took his first regular-season snap with 14:07 left in the third quarter. The result was a hand off to fellow rookie Isaiah Crowell for a 2-yard gain. He had three handoffs and one incomplete pass. He also threw off the timing of the Cleveland offense.
Calling Mr. Bailey: When the Saints cut veteran cornerback Champ Bailey during the preseason it seemed like the right thing to do, because he seemed injured, hurt and a little slower than normal. Now Bailey has to be somewhere laughing and possibly warming up when he watches the team's cornerbacks play. The Saints' cornerbacks lack confidence and are making bad decisions.
Let's play "NFL Road Team 101": OK, an experienced favorite plays on the road against a team full of young underdogs. So, what is the first thing the coach of the young underdogs wants? If you guessed quick start, then you saw something the Saints failed to see from a galaxy away. The Saints didn't play well early and made dumb mistakes and it led to a long afternoon.
More "NFL Road Team 101": A good running game and a good defense always travel well. The reason why the Saints have struggled on the road is that they are not patient enough with the running game and the defense is prone to mental lapses.
A rare mistake hurts: Another thing a team can't do is force passes. Brees was pressured up front and tried to force a pass over the middle to tight end Jimmy Graham, but the ball floated and Browns safety Tashaun Gipson intercepted it and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown make the score 16-3 with 3:25 remaining.
Coming up: The Saints play host to the Minnesota Vikings in their home opener next week.