It’s been a tough 14 years since the expansion Browns began play in 1999. No fan base has been forced to endure what we have during that time, but that doesn’t mean all 225 games were completely miserable. With a new era of Browns football underway, I believe we’ll see a lot more games like these, and fewer of the torturous affairs we’re accustomed to seeing on Sundays.
14. October 24, 2010 @ New Orleans. The Browns inexplicably went down South and beat the Saints convincingly 30-14.
13. October 13, 2008 v. New York Giants. There were high expectations going into the season, but the Browns got off to a slow start. But on a warm October Monday night, the Browns blew out the defending champs 35-14.
12. October 11, 2009 @ Buffalo. This game was memorable in that it was one of the ugliest games in modern NFL history. The Browns won 6-3, led by Derek Anderson’s record setting 2-17 for 23 yards.
11. November 7, 2010 v. New England. Coming off the bye week and the win at New Orleans, the Browns pounded the Patriots from start to finish, 34-14. It actually gave us hope that Mangini’s “process” he always told us about was working. He was fired two months later.
10. October 31, 1999 @ New Orleans. Tim Couch connected with Kevin Johnson on a Hail Mary to give the Browns their first win.
9. November 14, 1999 @ Pittsburgh. Couch led the Browns into field goal range and Phil Dawson converted the field goal as time expired to beat the Steelers.
8. December 10, 2009 v. Pittsburgh. On an incredibly cold night in Cleveland on Thursday Night football, the Browns stunned the Steelers 13-6 and essentially eliminated them from playoff contention.
7. October 5, 2003 @ Pittsburgh. Tim Couch had the game of his career and the Browns crushed the Steelers 33-13 on national TV.
6. December 22, 2002 @ Baltimore. The Browns were in a must win game to stay in playoff contention against the hated Ravens. Getting the ball back just before the two minute warning down 13-7, the Browns drove 92 yards, capped off by a Couch to Campbell touchdown to win 14-13 and keep their playoff hopes alive.
5. December 8, 2002 @ Jacksonville. In the playoff hunt, the Browns did not play well and a devastating loss looked like a certainty when they took the final snap down by 6 at the 50-yard line. Couch converted the second game winning Hail Mary of his career, with Quincy Morgan coming down with the catch (which was always a miracle).
4. November 18, 2007 @ Baltimore. The Browns had blown the lead in the 4th quarter, but Phil Dawson had a chance to send the game to OT with a 51-yard field goal. The ball hit the left upright, hit the support bar and bounced back towards the field. The officials called the kick no good, but after a lengthy discussion the referee reversed the call, saying that the ball had gone through the uprights (which was correct) and the Ravens were summoned from the locker room to lose the coin toss and lose the game, 33-30 on a Dawson 33 yard field goal.
3. September 9, 2007 v. Cincinnati. In the opener the previous week, the Steelers annihilated the Browns and starting QB Charlie Frye was traded the next day. Everyone expected the Browns to be blown out by the Bengals, but Anderson threw 5 TDs and Jamal Lewis ran for 216 yards as the Browns racked up 545 total yards of offense. The Browns survived 401 yards and 6 TDs from Carson Palmer to win 51-45. This stunning and historic performance set up an exciting 2007 season.
2. December 16, 2007 v. Buffalo. The Blizzard. White out conditions. The Browns needed a win to stay in control of a playoff spot. I was stunned when the Browns lined up to attempt a 35-yard field goal in the first half. I was mesmerized as Dawson kicked the ball well outside the goal posts and watched it slice hard right and through the uprights. The Browns got a safety and a 49-yard (!!!) field goal from the Wizard of the Blizzard and won 8-0.
1. December 29, 2002 v. Atlanta. The Browns needed a win and some help from the Jets to qualify for the playoffs. The Falcons would clinch a playoff berth with a win. Down 16-10 in the fourth quarter, Tim Couch got hurt and was replaced by Kelly Holcomb. After a fumble recovery by Gerard Warren, Holcomb through a TD to Kevin Johnson to give the Browns the lead with 8:38 to go. The defense held and on the next possession William Green broke 64 yard run for a TD, prompting the famous “Run William” call from Jim Donovan. Down 8, Michael Vick drove the Falcons down to the 4-yard line with under two minutes to go. But the Browns defense, with the Dawg Pound at their back, staged an epic goal line stand that kept Vick and Dunn out of the end zone and preserved the win. The Browns got the help they needed that night and made the playoffs.