Since the Browns re-entered the league in 1999, the Chronicles of the Factory of Sadness have been well-documented.
Ranking the worst losses in Browns history is nothing new, but after the debacle witnessed in Cleveland Browns Stadium this past Sunday, perhaps we could use a refresher.
Redskins 38 – Browns 21
December 16, 2012
For my money this drubbing by the Robert Griffin III-less Redskins qualifies as one of the ten worst defeats in the expansion era. Kirk Cousins embarrassed a hot Browns team in their own house in his first-ever NFL start. It’s rare that you see an entire organization completely undressed to the level the Browns were in this game.
From the damning regression of Brandon Weeden, to being laughably out-coached (and yes, the Redskins were reportedly laughing at the Browns after the game) and the squashing of the entire front office’s organizational philosophies, this was the signature game of the 2012 season and served as the metaphorical nail in the coffin for Pat Shurmur and Tom Heckert. While you could argue that these guys would have been shown the door anyway, they still carried a lot of juice with the fan base into this game, only to completely lose every last ounce of it.
Ravens 37 – Browns 27
November 2, 2008
Like the Redskins game above, this loss crushed an entire organization while signifying the end of Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage, and the rise of Joe Flacco and Ray Rice. The Ravens ripped off 24 unanswered second half points, punctuated by Derek Anderson throwing a screen pass directly to Terrell Suggs, who returned it for a touchdown and then taunted the stunned Dawg Pound.
Before that blunder, Anderson had actually made the greatest throw of his Browns career: a 50-yard bomb to Braylon Edwards on 3rd-and-ten for the would-be game-sealing score, except the ball slipped right through Edwards’ hands. Anderson was replaced by Brady Quinn as the starting quarterback after the game, the Browns would finish 1-7 the rest of the season, Crennel and Savage were both fired and Flacco hasn’t lost to Cleveland since (video).
Ravens 34 – Browns 3
September 27, 2009
After new head coach Eric Mangini spends the entire preseason trying to mask who his starting quarterback is to gain a competitive advantage, his 0-2 team rolls into Baltimore and is totally embarrassed. Brady Quinn started the game and threw a pick-six on just his third pass. At halftime, the score is 20-0 and Mangini makes the switch to Derek Anderson, undermining any deception accomplished to that point and effectively wrecking both quarterbacks for the season.
Steelers 28 – Browns 10
October 17, 2010
Colt McCoy’s first start as a member of the Browns. The former third-stringer is pressed into service as both Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace have high ankle sprains. Asking a rookie quarterback to play his first-ever game in Pittsburgh is one thing, but of course, the Steelers have also convinced themselves they owe us one after the Browns defeated them for the first time in five years a season earlier.
James Harrison goes on a killing spree – see below the famous, league-altering hit on Mohamed Massaquoi, which Harrison was actually not penalized for during the game (the flag thrown was actually on Alex Mack for delay of game). Seeing as the Browns also defeated the Steelers this season, I’d like us to keep this game in mind as they prepare for their final game in Pittsburgh.
Jets 26 – Browns 20, OT
November 14, 2010
Cleveland loses a heartbreaker to the headlining New York Jets after Chansi Stuckey fumbles the ball away in overtime with the Browns in field goal range. This was Eric Mangini’s revenge game against his former team, and also Braylon Edwards‘ return to Cleveland, which he referred to as his personal war, the day after Memorial Day. This may go down as Colt McCoy’s best start as a pro, and at the time, gave the fans some hope that he would become the man. The Browns never recovered from this one, however, and Mangini was gone two months later.
And here are five additional losses there shouldn’t be any debate over. All epic, hallmark failures so famous there’s really no need to explain them all:
Dwayne Rudd’s Helmet
September 8, 2002
For as much as we cry about how absurdly awful the Browns have been, and how tortured we feel, we haven’t seen anything close to the Rudd helmet game in the ten years since. Enjoy.
December 16, 2001
I attended this game with my younger sister and it was her first-ever NFL game. Needless to say, she thinks Cleveland fans are preposterous drunks. She also lives in Philadelphia now and has accepted that this behavior is not confined to just Cleveland.
December 24, 2005
If the day ever comes where the tables are turned, Ben Roethlisberger has slipped off into retirement or prison, and the Browns are on something like a ten-year run of complete domination, and Steelers fans like Cindy start to complain that Cleveland fans have infested Pittsburgh and are rubbing it in too much – just point to this game in Cleveland to remind them we will never be square (recap).
The Only Playoff Game
January 5, 2003
Ohio University is a great place to follow the AFC North, as the school is composed of Bengals, Browns and Steelers fans in equal parts. I watched this game at the Pigskin in Athens with a friend of mine who was a Steelers fan and I learned the golden rule all Browns fans have to learn at some point in their life: Never, never, never, never, NEVER, never start celebrating a win until the clock reads 0.0 (recap).
September 14, 2003
For perspective’s sake: when Jamal Lewis set the single-game NFL rushing record of 295 yards on this day against the Browns, and then added 205 yards in their follow-up meeting, his season total of 2,066 (which is currently good for second in league history) was built on 500 yards in two games against the Browns, or 24.2% of his total.
This year, Adrian Peterson has a legitimate shot at breaking the all-time single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards, set by Eric Dickerson in 1984. Peterson has punished his divisional opponents to the tune of 273 yards in two games vs. the Lions, 262 yards in two games vs. the Bears, and 210 yards in one game against the Packers. Despite a great season, the odds of him going for 290 in his second meeting against Green Bay are unlikely, and tremendous proof that Lewis’ record-breaking 2003 season should have an asterisk of Browns horribleness by it forever (recap).