Morten Andersen's third field goal of the game, a 53-yard kick into a driving rain with no time left to play, rallied the New Orleans Saints to a 16-14 victory today over the unlucky Cleveland Browns.
The Browns (1-8), in the debut of Coach Marty Schottenheimer, lost their fifth straight, all by five points or fewer. The Saints (4-5) hadn't beaten them in eight previous tries.
Said Andersen, a Danish-born left-footed kicker in his third year out of Michigan State, "I kind of went into a trance after the kick. English, Danish, French and German flashed through my head. I just didn't know how to react for a few seconds." He settled for body English, jumping into the air and pumping his fist as teammates mobbed him.
Counterpart Matt Bahr missed on two tries from inside 40 yards; he has failed eight times this season. "It's a frustrating year," he said, "because on every kick, there's been no case where the kicks haven't been important."
Quarterback Richard Todd, who completed his first 10 passes of the game, drove the Saints into position for two field goals in the final 3:05. He hit Tyrone Young with a 47-yard pass to set up Andersen's 21-yarder, then fired a 36-yard pass to Lindsay Scott to put Andersen in range for a kick that barely cleared the crossbar.
The Browns' hurt themselves badly on their final possession, when a 40-yard pass to the New Orleans' five was called back because of a holding penalty.