Myles Garrett showed flashes of dominance in his NFL exhibition debut, and Cleveland rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer threw a late touchdown pass and the Browns beat New Orleans 20-14 on Thursday night while Saints stars Drew Brees and Adrian Peterson watched.
The No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, Garrett had a tackle for loss and blazed off the edge to pressure Saints backup QB Garrett Grayson in the first half.
The Browns haven’t solved their endless QB dilemma, but Garrett appears to be a long-term answer at defensive end.
Garrett vowed to “send a message” in his first preseason game as a pro, and he did just that in limited time. On one play, Garrett timed the snap perfectly and pushed past third-string tackle Khalif Barnes to hit Grayson.
Kizer completed a 45-yard TD pass to Jordan Payton with 1:52 left as the Browns rallied for their first preseason win in two seasons under coach Hue Jackson.
The Saints lost their 10th straight preseason game.
As expected, Brees didn’t play and neither did Peterson, New Orleans’ new addition who signed with the club as a free agent in April after 10 seasons in Minnesota.
And while New Orleans can count on the 38-year-old Brees to lead them, the Browns’ QB search is still stalled.
Brock Osweiler started and struggled during his four series, Cody Kessler didn’t do much to help his cause and Kizer shook off a slow start, played the entire second half and went 11 of 18 for 184 yards against second- and third-teamers.
Osweiler has been Cleveland’s most consistent quarterback in camp, and while he was picked to start the preseason opener, Jackson cautioned that the competition isn’t over “by any stretch.”
Oswelier finished 6 of 14 for 42 yards, but overthrew several passes and had three incompletions inside the Saints 10-yard line.
Chase Daniel started at quarterback for Brees and completed 4 of 6 passes for 27 yards.
Saints: Brees warmed up but spent the evening on the sideline wearing a baseball cap. He’s expected to play at some point in the preseason as is Peterson, who stayed close to his QB during the first half. Rookie CB Marshon Lattimore, a first-round pick from Ohio State, injured his knee during practice this week and didn’t play.
Browns: Pro Bowler Joe Thomas got the night off. He was replaced at left tackle by Cam Erving, who is battling Shon Coleman for the starting job on the right side. Erving, who failed miserably at center, was called for a false start and hold on consecutive plays to end Cleveland’s first offensive possession.
Saints WR Tommylee Lewis made a diving catch for 32 yards and had 10 for 128 yards. Lewis is battling for a backup job.
Saints: With Mark Ingram also out, RB Alvin Kamara started. The third-round pick from Tennessee ripped off a 22-yard run and had 35 yards on four carries.
Browns: S Jabrill Peppers served as the initial kick returner. He ran back one for 27 yards, returned a punt for 13 and made a fair catch he immediately regretted. RB Matthew Dayes scored the game’s first TD on a 1-yard plunge.
Saints: QB Ryan Nassib was checked for a head injury in the fourth quarter, but came back for the final drive.
Browns: Starting safety Ibraheim Campbell sustained a concussion on the second play from scrimmage.