5. Divisional Playoffs vs Buffalo Bills — Jan. 6, 1990
Eric Metcalf’s rookie season ended with a trip to the playoffs, something Browns’ fans were accustomed to during that time period. The Browns were winners of the Central division. Sadly, it was the last time the Browns were Central division champions.
In the divisional round of the playoffs, Cleveland drew the pre-surging Buffalo Bills. After this season, the Bills would go on to play in four straight super bowls. Luckily for Cleveland, this would be a home game, an advantage that the Browns would desperately need.
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Metcalf’s offensive workload would be low for this game, as he would see only five touches on the offensive side of the ball. This was consistent with the final two games of the regular season, as the Browns recently had workhorse running back Kevin Mack return from a 12-game hiatus. Metcalf was still able to find a way to be invaluable to the Browns.
With the score sitting at 24-21, Cleveland was in danger of letting what at one point was a 10-point lead slip away. The Bills were an extremely potent offense, and the Browns needed to answer if they had any hope of advancing.
Cleveland didn’t have to wait long. Metcalf returned the following kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. The rookie looked like he was shot out of a cannon, taking the kickoff up the middle of the field and then braking to the right sideline after he gashed through the first wave of would-be tacklers. Not a single Buffalo Bill had a chance in the world at bringing Metcalf down.
While Metcalf had better overall games for Cleveland, sometimes timing is everything and the timing of this game-breaking play lands at number five on this list.