Top 5 Browns games in 2023: Beating the best the league has to offer

A successful campaign left Browns fans hungry for more heading into 2024

Cleveland Browns, David Njoku
Cleveland Browns, David Njoku / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Week 17: New York Jets at Cleveland Browns, 37-20

As if it could've been anything else.

The Browns entered the Thursday Night Football game just one win away from securing a playoff berth. What was once expected to be a matchup of Deshaun Watson facing off against future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers, fans instead got Joe Flacco versus Trevor Siemian. The change in quarterbacks did little to thwart the excitement of the home crowd, especially after Flacco led the offense on a 75-yard touchdown drive to start the game against his former team.

After a couple of nervy moments early on, which saw the Jets immediately respond with a touchdown drive of their own for a 7-7 tie, the Browns settled down and began to take charge. Flacco led another long drive capped by a Kareem Hunt TD run, then, a few minutes later, rookie safety Ronnie Hickman intercepted a pass and returned it all the way, giving the Browns a 20-7 lead.

The first-half fireworks had barely hit their stride, however, as three more touchdowns and a field goal would be scored before the Browns went into halftime with a 31-17 advantage.

Things slowed in the second half, with the teams combining for just six points from the third quarter on. Nonetheless, the Browns skated away with a lopsided victory and cemented their place in the postseason on what would be the final time this season that they would play in front of their home fans. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, in a show of appreciation, sent his players on a postgame lap around the stadium to hand out celebratory high-fives for all of Browns faithful, and the team began its official march to the playoffs.

Between the absurd amount of injuries, Flacco Fever, the PJ Walker experience, and wild victories against some of the best teams in the league, this season had it all from a drama perspective. Looking forward to 2024, the Browns hope to be right back in contention and desire to make it further than the first round of the playoffs, perhaps even a potential run toward the Super Bowl. While that may be a foreign concept to fans, as the past four and a half months have shown, anything is possible.

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