Zane Gonzalez blows 4 kicks, costs Browns 8 points, win at New Orleans

A look at the top plays that impacted Sunday’s 21-18 loss to Saints

Daryl Ruiter
September 16, 2018 - 4:10 pm
New Orleans Saints specialist Taysom Hill (7) reacts as Cleveland Browns place kicker Zane Gonzalez (2) misses a game tying field goal during the fourth quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Browns kicker Zane Gonzalez missed 2 extra points and 2 field goals Sunday as the Saints rallied from a 12-3 fourth quarter deficit for a 21-18 victory at the Superdome in New Orleans.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 28 of 35 passes for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns - both to former Ohio State Buckeye Michael Thomas while Alvin Kamara added 99 yards combined from scrimmage in the victory.

Cleveland out-gained New Orleans 327-275 in the loss that saw Tyrod Taylor finish 22 of 30 for 246 yards with a touchdown and interception. 

Here’s a look at the top plays that kept the Browns winless streak alive, now at 19 straight games and counting.

11:38 1st Q: Michael Thomas tried to stretch for additional yardage on a completion from Brees near the sideline but he fumbled for safety Damarious Randall to recover at the New Orleans 46.

10:24 1st Q: Todd Haley broke out a reverse – Taylor handed off to Duke Johnson who ran right & handed off to Antonio Callaway moving left and it goes for 15 yards to the Saints 24. The Browns settled for a 9-yard field goal from Zane Gonzalez for their first lead of the afternoon, and season – 3-0.

2:47 1st Q: Browns catch two huge breaks when Brees threw rare incompletion to wide open Ben Watson on first down in the end zone and then on a shovel pass to Kamara for a TD, it was negated by a pair of holding penalties. Instead of trailing 7-3, the Browns came away tied after Wil Lutz’s 31-yard field goal.

10:46 2nd Q: Brees dumped a pass off to Ted Ginn Jr., but cornerback Terrance Mitchell stripped Ginn and Randall recovered it at the Saints 46. It was the second turnover created by Mitchell and Randall on the afternoon. The Browns have forced 8 turnovers this season after forcing just 16 in all of 2017.

9:17 2nd Q: Running back Duke Johnson was dropped for a loss of 1 on fourth-and-1 and Cleveland came up empty handed once again after a turnover. The Browns offense has punted 3 times, missed a field goal, had a half end and turned it over on downs outside of a touchdown and field goal on the 8 possessions that followed a turnover this season.

6:48 3rd Q: Running back Carlos Hyde took the pitch left from Taylor and raced to the pylon, beating 2 Saints linebackers – Manti Te’o and Demario Davis – for the touchdown to cap a 12-play, 79-yard drive. Gonzalez hit a knuckleball wide left on the PAT keeping it a 12-3 Browns lead.

4:04 3rd Q: On a third-and-1 at the Cleveland 40, Larry Ogunjobi roared in and dropped Brees for his second sack of the afternoon and a 10-yard loss forcing a third consecutive Saints punt. It also ended a drive that started thanks to a 47-yard kickoff return out to the 40 by third-string quarterback Taysom Hill.

12:12 4th Q: An illegal contact penalty on safety Derrick Kindred wiped out what would have been Ogunjobi's third third-down sack of the game and kept the drive alive giving New Orleans new life. Six plays later, Brees found Michael Thomas on a bubble screen for a 2-yard touchdown to cut the Browns lead to 12-10 with 8:41 remaining in the game.

5:10 4th Q: Up 2 from their own 30 on second-and-4, Taylor looked for receiver Jarvis Landry up the seam, but Saints free safety Marcus Williams jumped the route for the interception. Williams returned it 22 yards to the Cleveland 18.

2:44 4th Q: Brees capitalized on the turnover by hitting Thomas in the corner of the end zone for a second time with cornerback Denzel Ward draped all over him for a 16-12 lead. Kamara walked in for the 2-point conversion after a pitch right from Brees.

1:24 4th Q: Tyrod Taylor unloaded a bomb to Antonio Callaway in stride to the end zone on fourth-and-5 for a 47-yard touchdown with 1:24 remaining to tie the game at 18. Kicker Zane Gonzalez shanked his third straight kick, and second PAT, wide left.  

:53 4th Q: Brees found Ginn for 42 yards to the Cleveland 25 on a crossing route with 43 seconds remaining. Lutz booted the game-winning 44-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining to provide the 21-18 final score.

:08 4th Q: Gonzalez is no good on a desperation 52-yard try wide right.

That’s four missed kicks, 8 potential points and a 19th straight winless week in the regular season for the Browns.