As starting quarterback Brian Hoyer and Cleveland's offense misfired miserably last week in the first half at Pittsburgh, many Browns fans at halftime had one thought: Hurry up!
And they meant for coach Mike Pettine to switch to Johnny Manziel.
But Johnny Football stayed on the sideline and the Browns implemented a no-huddle, up-tempo offense that helped them overcome a 24-point halftime deficit before losing 30-27.
It's possible the Browns (0-1) will push the pace again Sunday and they may have to against the high-powered New Orleans Saints (0-1), who are capable of quickly posting big numbers on the stat sheet and scoreboard.
The Browns will never morph into anything close to Chip Kelly's rapid-fire Philadelphia Eagles, the closest thing the NFL has to a track team in shoulder pads. Pettine intends to use the no-huddle in spurts.
"It's a weapon," Pettine said. "But it's not our lifestyle."
Abandoning the huddle, Hoyer found his rhythm in the second half, completing 15 of 20 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown. The passing game opened up Cleveland's running attack and rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell — filling in for injured starter Ben Tate — combined for 121 yards and two TDs.
In attack mode, the Browns stormed back.
"When you can move fast and you're getting chunk plays whether it's in the running game or the passing game, that gives you a little bit of momentum," Hoyer said. "But we can't just rely on our no-huddle offense because no one can sustain that type of energy for an entire 60 minutes plus 16 games a year."
The Saints have a different sense of urgency this week.
After losing 37-34 in overtime last week in Atlanta, New Orleans can't afford to start 0-2. Since the playoff format was revamped in 1990, only 12 percent of teams which began the season with two losses qualified for the playoffs.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who threw for 333 yards last week, said things aren't as dire as many believe.
"We don't feel like it is doomsday, but there is a sense of urgency to get better," he said. "We can't walk away from that game and exonerate ourselves. We had opportunities to score more points and we didn't do it. Obviously, that can get you beat. We have to make strides as an offense. We want to have our biggest improvement from week one to week two."
Here are some more things to watch for when the Browns host the Saints:
RETURN ENGAGEMENT: The Saints return to the site of the first game of the Payton-Brees era, a 19-14 victory in 2006. The game marked the beginning of the most successful span in franchise history, highlighted by a Super Bowl championship in the 2009 season.
"It is hard to believe that was nine years ago," Brees said. "I remember us going in just saying, 'Hey, can we please get a win today'"
WHERE'S JOHNNY?: Manziel was merely a spectator in his first NFL regular-season game. The Browns have a package of plays designed to use his mobility, but unless Hoyer struggles or gets injured, the former Heisman Trophy winner will spend another Sunday wearing only a baseball cap.
Still, there's always a chance Manziel could play and Pettine is sure Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will be ready for him.
"It could happen, and I know Rob," said Pettine, who coached with Ryan's twin brother, Rex, in New York. "They're preparing for it. I'm sure they are. Ryan's are very paranoid, very detailed in their preparation. If Johnny does go out there, I don't think it will be anything he hasn't prepared himself for."
ROAD BLOCK: The schedule maker didn't do New Orleans any favors. The Saints are playing their first two games on the road for just the fourth time in team history. New Orleans is just 6-11 away from home since 2012, and has dropped four straight road games. In those losses, Brees has thrown more interceptions (five) and TDs (four).
YOUNG LEGS: With Tate out again with a sprained knee, the Browns will count on West and Crowell to move the chains and maybe keep the high-octane New Orleans offense on the sideline. The duo played like seasoned veterans against the Steelers, with both averaging more than 6 yards per carry. West is the first Browns back to hit the century mark in his debut since Larry Mason in 1987.
UNDER PRESSURE: Hurt by 568 yards from the Matt Ryan-led Falcons last week, the Saints' defense will aim to make things much tougher on Hoyer. Defensive end Cam Jordan and pass-rushing linebacker Junior Galette combined for 24½ sacks last season. The Saints had just one sack against Atlanta.
"I've never had that feeling as far as how poorly I feel like I played, personally," Galette said, promising "it's just not going to happen" again.
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