February 27, 2024

The 2001 Season
Record: 7-9

Out the door was Chris Palmer and in was new Coach Butch Davis. Davis was previously the head coach for the Miami Hurricanes and led them to a 51-20 record over 6 years. Davis was able to fight through heavy NCAA sanctions that banned Miami from bowl games and cut scholarships. Still, Davis was able to build one of the strongest teams in NCAA history. His last year at Miami, he led the Hurricanes to an 11-1 record and a #2 ranking. Miami would go on to win the National Title the next year, but Davis was already the coach of the Browns. It was Davis who built the powerhouse Hurricanes of the early 2000’s. Needless to say, he had some high expectations in his first year in the NFL. In the draft the Browns had the 3rd overall pick and decided to strengthen their defensive line, when they drafted DT Gerard Warren out of Florida. The hope was, that paired with Courtney Brown, the Browns would have one of the best young D-line’s in the league. Other notable players drafted were, WR Quincy Morgan (2nd round), RB James Jackson (3rd round), and CB Anthony Henry (4th round). Since their return, this was probably the strongest draft the Browns had.
The season started on September 9th, at home against the Seattle Seahawks. The Browns would end up losing in a field goal kicking contest 9-6, when Rian Lindell kicked the game winning field goal with 3 seconds left. All of week 2’s games would end up getting canceled due to the September 11 attacks. Football returned for Cleveland on September 23rd, at home against the Detroit Lions. The Browns would win by a score of 24-14, the highlights (or lowlights depending on how you look at it) of the game included Ty Detmer (Detroit’s QB) throwing 7 interceptions, with Browns rookie CB Anthony Henry picking off 3 throws by himself. Browns running back James Jackson was able to register the first 100 game by a Browns running back, when he ran for 124 yards on 31 carries. In week 4, Tim Couch was able to lead a 4th quarter comeback over the San Diego Chargers, when he threw a 19 yard touchdown pass to Kevin Johnson to give the Browns a 20-16 lead with 1:15 left. The win would move the Browns to a record of 3-1 and would also give them a 3-game win streak. In week 8, the Browns blew a 21-7 lead in the final seconds of the game. With 28 seconds left the Bears scored on a 9 yard pass from Shane Matthews to cut the lead to 21-14. Then with 8 seconds left, the Bears scored again when Shane Matthews threw a 34 yard touchdown to tie the game at 21. In Overtime, Tim Couch was intercepted by Mike Brown (not the Cavs former coach), who returned it for a touchdown and the Browns lost by a score of 27-21 as their record fell to 4-3. The next week the Browns dropped another game in overtime, when they lost to the Steelers 15-12, in a game where Pittsburgh kicked 6 field goals. The Browns got back on the winning track in week 10, when they beat the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 27-17, pushing their record to 5-4. Rookie CB Anthony Henry recorded his second 3-interception game of the season in the win. Week 11 marked the first Browns shutout since their return when they beat the Bengals 18-0, improving their record to 6-4.
December 16th is a day that will live in infamy. Browns receiver Quincy Morgan had caught a pass for a first down on 4th and 1. After Tim Couch spiked the ball on the next play, referee Terry McAulay reviewed Morgan’s catch, claiming that the replay officials had buzzed him before Couch spiked the ball. (NFL Rules state that once the next play is completed, the officials cannot under any circumstances review any previous plays.) Upon reviewing the play, McAulay determined that Morgan never had control of the ball, thus the pass was incomplete, and the Jaguars were awarded the ball. Fans in the Dawg Pound began throwing plastic beer bottles and other objects on the field. McAulay declared the game over and sent the teams to the locker rooms. Here’s the link to one of the worst officiated moments in sports history: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5e3Bw_yLSY This was a game that the Browns desperately needed to win, and the officials took the game away from them. A win would have given the Browns a 7-6 record and they still would have been in the thick of the playoff race, instead, they dropped to 6-7 and needed a lot of help to get to the playoffs. The last Browns win on the season came in week 16, when they beat the Tennessee Titans in a game devoid of defense, by a score of 41-38. The Browns ended the season with a 28-7 loss to the Steelers, and finished with a record of 7-9. Tim Couch threw for over 3,000 yards on the season, Kevin Johnson had over 1,000 receiving yards, rookie Anthony Henry led the NFL in interceptions with 10, and the Browns defense led the NFL in turnovers.
Pro Bowl: Jamir Miller
All-Pro: Jamir Miller

Offensive Stats
Total Points: 285 (25th)
Total Yards: 4152 (31st)

Passing Yards: Tim Couch – 3,040
Passing TD: Tim Couch – 17
Passing Int: Tim Couch – 21
QB Rating: Tim Couch – 73.1

Rush Att: James Jackson – 195
Rush Yards: James Jackson – 554
Rush TD: Jamel White – 5

Rec: Kevin Johnson – 84
Rec Yards: Kevin Johnson – 1,097
Rec TD: Kevin Johnson – 9

Defensive Stats
Total Points allowed: 319 (15th)
Total Yards allowed: 5297 (22nd)

Tackles: Jamir Miller – 81
Sacks: Jamir Miller – 13.0
Int: Anthony Henry – 10

–Chris Sladoje (@CST_Doje)

Photo via Cleveland.com

Cleveland Browns: Season in Review
















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