Browns’ defensive scores have shock value
NEW ORLEANS — David Bowens looks older than he is, with specks of gray in his hair and beard.
So after the 33-year-old Cleveland linebacker intercepted Drew Brees twice yesterday and returned both for touchdowns, teammates celebrating their stunning 30-17 victory over the defending champion New Orleans Saints joked at Bowens’s expense.
“They say I’m the oldest guy to score two touchdowns since Larry Csonka,’’ Bowens said.
Age didn’t seem to be a factor during Bowens’s returns of 30 and 64 yards, the second of which he punctuated by clumsily somersaulting into the end zone. Bowens was not accustomed to scoring touchdowns. In his previous 11 NFL seasons, he had only one, off of a blocked punt.
“You don’t dream of games like that,’’ Bowens said. “You don’t ever think anything is going to happen like that. It’s unbelievable.’’
Incidentally, his career game came not only at Brees’s expense, but just days after the quarterback had welcomed a son named Bowen. Brees was picked off four times for only the second time in his career. He’s been intercepted 10 times this season, one fewer than his 2009 total.
“Whenever you throw a pick, you’re going to be upset . . . Four interceptions are hard to swallow,’’ Brees said.
Scott Fujita and Sheldon Brown also had interceptions for Cleveland. Fujita, a defensive leader for the Saints last season and a former fan favorite in the Louisiana Superdome, snagged his interception at the Cleveland 3 to thwart a likely scoring drive. Fujita also had one of three sacks on Brees.
Afterward, Cleveland coach Eric Mangini gave Fujita a game ball.
“I tried to do my best early this week in practice to prepare our team for what we would face today, as it’s no secret that I am familiar with the Saints,’’ Fujita said.
Rookie Colt McCoy passed for only 74 yards but got his first win as an NFL starter — a desperately needed one for the struggling Browns (2-5). Peyton Hillis rushed for a 4-yard score for Cleveland’s only offensive touchdown.
The Saints (4-3) never led and got no closer in the second half than 20-10 on Brees’s 11-yard touchdown pass to David Thomas early in the fourth quarter.
New Orleans outgained Cleveland, 394-210.