Browns Season So Far
It has been 635 days since the Cleveland Browns last won their last game, all the way back on Christmas Eve, 2016. At the time, Robert Griffin III was their QB, and the Browns ultimately finished their season with a 1-15 record. In the following 2017 season, the Browns had much the same bad luck—only this time, they didn’t win a single game: they finished the season 0-16. Naturally, many thought during the offseason that Head Coach Hue Jackson was going to be fired. However, the Browns front office stood their ground and and kept Jackson on. Moving into the 2018 season, Browns players and fans alike were saddened to hear that Joe Thomas (73) was planning to retire. Thomas, who was drafted by the Browns as the third overall pick in 2007 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, now holds the record for the most consecutive played snaps by any NFL Player at 10,363. In light of losing their arguable best player, the Browns were given the first overall pick in the 2018 Draft. With that pick, the Browns decided to draft Baker Mayfield, a Quarterback from Oklahoma. The Browns also used the Draft to trade for Jarvis Landry, a Wide Receiver from the Miami Dolphins. During Hard Knocks, an HBO TV show that showcases the NFL preseason, the Browns began to show promise and the possibility of actually winning again.
As Week One rolled around, the Browns named Tyrod Taylor as their starting QB. That decision upset many fans who wanted to see Baker Mayfield get the starting slot. However, the Browns still managed to show promise in their first game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cleveland was down 21-14 when they then scored a pivotal touchdown with 1:58 left in the 4th Quarter. Tied at 21-21 against the Steelers, the Browns’ defense came up big, putting them back on offense with less than 1:30 on the clock. Things were looking up for Cleveland until, with 17 seconds on the clock, Taylor ended up throwing an Interception, giving the ball back to Pittsburgh. The game then went into Overtime. Both teams had chances to score with field goals, but the game ultimately ended at 21-21. The Browns might have won had their placekicker Zane Gonzalez managed to make their game-winning field goal with 11 seconds left.
The Browns continued to show promise after their tie with the Steelers in Week One. Once again Tyrod Taylor was selected as the starting quarterback, much to the distaste of Mayfield fans. This week, the Browns found themselves in New Orleans up against the Saints. Cleveland was down 18-12 in the 4th quarter when they scored yet another pivotal touchdown with 1:16 remaining. Placekicker Zane Gonzalez came in for a PAT and missed the attempt, spoiling the Browns’ chances for victory once again. So here the score sat at 18-18, leaving some Cleveland fans to wonder if a repeat of last week was in the works. That was, at least, until New Orleans raised their score with a 3 point field goal. With their prospect for victory fading fast, the Browns’ hurry-up offense marched down to the 35-yard line—only 8 seconds remained. Gonzalez was put in with the hope he’d make a 52-yard attempt but, once again, he missed. Cleveland lost the game 21-18
At the beginning of Week Three, the Browns promptly released Gonzalez and replaced him with rookie free-agent Greg Joseph. The Browns were set to play the New York Jets at home in Cleveland on Thursday night. With 2:55 left in the first half, Tyrod Taylor was sacked and left the game with a concussion. The Browns promptly turned the ball over, and the Jets were up 14-0. From here, the Browns got the ball back and first overall pick Baker Mayfield made his way out with the offense. The stadium erupted with excitement—so much so, you had to wonder if some Jets fans were cheering, too. Mayfield lead the offense down the field to the 28-yard line. Here, new kicker Greg Joseph had his chance to put the Browns on the board. His 45-yard Field Goal attempt was successful and Cleveland went into the locker room at halftime down 14-3. In the second half, the Browns defense made a big stop to give the offense a red zone opportunity; Joseph then came in with a made nearly missed 27-yard Field Goal. Cleveland was now down 14-6—although, not for long. Before anyone knew it the Browns had just scored a touchdown on a 2-yard run with less than a minute left in the 3rd quarter. Then, beyond all doubt, Cleveland ran a successful trick-play 2-point conversion attempt and tied the game at 14. Early into the 4th quarter, New York kicked a field goal and took the lead 17-14. The Browns offense, once again led by Baker Mayfield, drove down the field to score another touchdown with 2:04 left in the 4th Quarter. The PAT was successful and the Browns now led 21-17. With all of Cleveland on its toes, Jets QB Sam Darnold threw an interception with 1:21 left on the clock with UW-Madison Graduate Joe Schobert completing it. This put New York back on offense with 56 seconds to go. The only problem for the Jets was they had to travel down 94 yards to score. All of FirstEngery Stadium stood in suspense as they watched Darnold threw his next pass. But before anyone knew it, it seemed a miracle had struck for the Browns: Darnold had thrown another interception. The Browns then got the ball with 11 seconds left in the game, and went into Victory Formation for the first time in 635 days. The Cleveland Browns won the game 21-17.
The Browns now have a record of 1 win, 1 loss, and 1 tie as of September 20th 2018 and have a minimum 13 games left in the season. Cleveland is now 2nd in the AFC North and will work towards win number 2 as they travel to Oakland to play the Raiders on September 30th.
Will the Browns win another game? Will they make the playoffs? What will their record be? Send your predictions to The O Spotlight on Twitter (@TheOSpotlight)!