4. Blowing out the Bengals in Week 1
Even with all the moves, the Browns weren't going to be given respect until they earned it. That was evident with Cincinnati Bengals fans spending the majority of the offseason making fun of Cleveland while claiming their team was going to handle them easily in Week 1.
Then when the 2023 campaign kicked off, the Bengals were the ones who were embarrassed. Cleveland hosted their AFC North rivals and continued to hand Joe Burrow losses. This time, it was a 24-3 blowout and what made the win more encouraging was how poorly the Browns played on offense — well, that and the fact that Ja'Marr Chase was so mad at the loss he started complaining about elves.
In the win, Deshaun Watson threw for just 154 yards with a touchdown and a pick — although he did run one in as well for a score. Nick Chubb kept the chains moving with 106 yards but it was the defense that led the way. Myles Garrett recorded a late sack on Burrow who was held to just 82 yards on 14-of-31 passing.
Afterward, those same confident Bengals fans returned to their mocking ways. They shrugged this off by saying a calf injury suffered by Burrow was the only reason for the win. They also congratulated the Browns for winning their "Super Bowl."
Fast forward to New Year's Day and the Browns will be trying to make it to the real Super Bowl. Cincinnati, however, will be trying to figure out how to get back on track next year. They'll also have to spend the entire offseason coming up with new excuses for why Burrow is 1-5 against Cleveland in his career.