The 2003 Season
Record: 5-11

Coming off a season in which the they made the playoffs, the Browns were expected to take the next step. However, controversy started right away with the QB situation. With Tim Couch injured for the playoff game against Pittsburgh, Kelly Holcomb stepped in and threw for 429 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Browns needed to decide who would start the opener. One thing was for sure though, whoever was under center would be taking snaps from the 21st pick in the draft, Center Jeff Faine (Notre Dame). Other Notable picks were DB Chris Crocker (3rd round, Marshall), RB Lee Suggs (4th round, Virginia Tech), and long snapper (yes that’s right the Browns drafted a guy specifically for snapping the ball to the placeholder) Ryan Pontbriand (5th round, Rice). The Browns were supposed to be loaded with offensive weapons for whoever the quarterback was. William Green was looking to build off a strong rookie year, and Dennis Northcutt, Kevin Johnson, Andre Davis, and Quincy Morgan made for a deep receiving core.

Butch Davis decided to give the starting QB gig to Kelly Holcomb in week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts. If I say the names Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, and Reggie Wayne, you would have expected the Colts to put up at least 40 points in this game, right? Wrong, the Browns held the mighty Colts offense to 9 points, and lost. Colts Kicker Mike Vanderjagt hit a 45 yard field goal with one second left to give the Colts a 9-6 win over the Browns. Week 2 was a game many Browns fan would like to forget (so I’m sorry about bringing it up) (actually there are probably 15 years’ worth of games fans would like to forget). Ravens running back (and future Browns running back and possible drug dealer) Jamal Lewis ran for an at the time record of 295 yards. Lewis had touchdown runs of 82 and 63 yards in the game, as the Ravens won by a score of 33-13, giving the Browns a record of 0-2. The next week, against the San Francisco 49ers, the Browns only gave up 75 total rush yards, as Kelly Holcomb threw 2 fourth quarter touchdowns to Andre Davis, as the Browns came back from a 12-0 deficit to win by a score of 13-12. In week 4, Tim Couch returned as the starting quarterback and performed decently, throwing for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the Cincinnati Bengals would be able to prevail by a score of 21-14. Tim Couch and William Green showed why the Browns were expected to contend in a 33-13 win over the Steelers, Couch threw for 208 yard and 2 touchdowns, while Green rushed for 115 yards. The Browns seemed to dust off their slow start win week 6 against the Raiders, as William Green ran for 145 yards and a touchdown in a 13-7 win, as they got back to .500 at 3-3.

The momentum was all lost in week 7, when ineffectiveness from Tim Couch, forced Kelly Holcomb back into the starting role. Holcomb provided the Browns with a spark, but LaDainain Tomlinson was too much, as he ran for 200 yards in a 26-20 Chargers win. This would be the last game of the season for William Green, as he was later suspended 4 games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. While serving his suspension, Green was stabbed in the back by his fiancé; Green would later be suspended for the rest of the year by the NFL. The highlight of the season for the Browns came in week 11, when the Browns would rout the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 44-6. Kelly Holcomb racked up 392 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, and Andre Davis and Quincy Morgan had 117 and 116 receiving yards respectively. The win gave the Browns a 4-6 record. The Browns would go on to lose their next 5 games, dropping their record to 4-11 with both Holcomb and Couch splitting time at the QB position; neither would play well (thank you Captain Obvious) . In Jamal Lewis’ second matchup against the Browns he was able to run for another 206 yards in a 35-0 drubbing by the Ravens. However, the Browns were able to end the season on a very positive note. The Browns decided to give the Cincinnati Bengals a healthy dose of rookie running back Lee Suggs. Suggs eviscerated the Bengals defense for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns, as the Browns ended the season with a 22-14 win. A season that started in promised ended with disappointment, as the Browns needed to find an answer a QB (raise your hand if you heard that before).

Pro Bowl: None
All-Pro: None

Offensive Stats
Total Points: 254 (29th)
Total Yards: 4504 (26th)

Passing Yards: Kelly Holcomb – 1,797
Passing TD: Kelly Holcomb – 10
Passing Int: Kelly Holcomb – 12
QB Rating: Tim Couch – 77.6

Rush Att: William Green – 142
Rush Yards: William Green – 559
Rush TD: James Jackson – 3

Rec: Dennis Northcutt – 62
Rec Yards: Dennis Northcutt – 729
Rec TD: Andre Davis – 5

Defensive Stats
Total Points allowed: 322 (12th)
Total Yards allowed: 4959 (15th)

Tackles: Andra Davis – 136
Sacks: Kenard Lang – 8.0
Int: Earl Little – 6

**Season-in-Review will return on Monday

–Chris Sladoje (@CST_Doje)

Photo via cleveland.com

Cleveland Browns: Season in Review

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

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