Thanks for the post.
I've been annoyed by this too, but there's a pretty simple workaround for me. Instead of keyboarding into find mode, put a "find" button on the layout that goes to a different layout and enters find mode.
The different layout looks exactly like the first, but the autocompletes and dropdowns are turned off.
Probably not exactly what you're looking for, but I hope it helps...
I will give that a try. Although, sometimes it is nice to have auto-complete in the find mode too.