The 1994 season was the high point of Bill Belichick’s tenure as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
After posting losing records in the first three seasons under Belichick, the Browns rode a strong defense and the arm of quarterback Vinnie Testaverde to an 11-win season and the team’s first playoff appearance in five years.
The Browns hosted the New England Patriots, who were led by Belichick’s mentor in Bill Parcells, in the AFC Wild Card game.
Cleveland opened the scoring when Matt Stover converted a 30-yard field goal on the opening drive. The Browns found the end zone in the second quarter when Testaverde hit Mark Carrier with a five-yard touchdown pass.
After staring the second half tied at 10, Cleveland’s defense took over in holding the Patriots to just three points the rest of the game while intercepting New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe three times on the day. The Browns took the lead near the end of the third quarter on a 10-yard touchdown run by Leroy Hoard.
Cleveland added another Stover field goal and withstood a late New England rally to earn a 20-13 victory. The offense had a season-high 379 total yards, while Testaverde completed 20-of-30 passes for 268 yards and a touchdown.
As the Browns ran off the field at Municipal Stadium it seemed like the dawning of a new, but that win remains the last playoff victory for the Browns, who have only posted two winning seasons since 1994. – TM
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