NEW ORLEANS – You’ve heard the joke a thousand times.
A New Orleans offensive player noticed a suspicious looking, unknown, white powdery substance on the Louisiana Superdome field.
After a complete field analysis, the FBI determined that the white substance unknown to the players was the goal line.
The game resumed when the FBI decided that the team would not be likely to encounter the substance again.
Yeah, it’s a funny joke, but no one in New Orleans is laughing.
The defending Super Bowl champs looked anything but in a 30-17 loss to the hapless Cleveland Browns on Sunday in front of 70,077 shocked fans in the Louisiana Superdome.
Drew Brees threw four interceptions — one in the red zone, two for Cleveland touchdowns, teammates were picking up yellow flags like they had a prize in them and the Browns went deep into the playbook to dominate the Saints.
“Whenever you throw a pick, you are going to be upset about it,” Brees said. “Anytime you throw two, you are really upset. Anytime you throw three, you are really, really upset. Four, I don’t have days like that.
“I have had one day like that in my career. Despite how they happen, whether they are bad decisions or bad throws or tipped balls, it doesn’t excuse the fact that the ball was turned over.”
Cleveland linebacker David Bowens returned both of his picks for touchdowns, the final one a 64-yarder in which he walked the final 30 yards before flipping into the end zone with 3:33 remaining to extend Cleveland’s lead to 30-10.
“Listen, whether it was an inopportune penalty or a turnover … We wanted to make sure we had balance in this game with the running game,” said Saints coach Sean Payton, whose team collected 98 yards in penalties. “We felt field position was going to be important and obviously the turnovers were critical.
“We had too many and then you get to the point in the game where you are running the football.”
The Browns (2-5) finished with a modest 210 yards of offense.
Colt McCoy, in just his second start, finished with 74 yards passing. Peyton Hillis led the Browns with 69 yards and a 4-yard first-quarter touchdown to give the Browns a 10-0 lead.
Former New Orleans linebacker Scott Fujita, who got the game ball from coach Eric Mangini, and Sheldon Brown also had interceptions for Cleveland. Brees was sacked three times, once by Fujita.
“It felt great to come back today,” Fujita said of his return to New Orleans. “The last time I was here was when we won the NFC championship game.”