The 2007 Season
Record: 10-6

2007 was a high point in Cleveland sports, the Cavs made it to the NBA finals, the Indians won the AL Central and just missed out on making it to the World Series, and the Browns were the most surprising team in the NFL, winning 10 games. However, the Cavs and Indians were expected to win, the Browns were not, predicted by many to be the worst team in the NFL. The front office knew this, and executed another offseason overhaul. The offseason started with the signing of offensive lineman Eric Steinbach, one of the most versatile and steady lineman in the league. Later in the offseason the Browns signed disgruntled Ravens running back Jamal Lewis (and former Browns killer), the signing led to the trade of Reuben Droughns. In the draft, the Browns held the 3rd overall pick; many expected the Browns to take QB Brady Quinn or RB Adrian Peterson, but the Browns decided to make the safe pick and drafted OT Joe Thomas. Thomas was considered by many to be the best tackle in the draft since Orlando Pace. Later in the 1st round, with Brady Quinn still in a draft free fall, the Browns made a trade with the Dallas Cowboys.  The Browns dealt a 2nd round pick and next year’s 1st round pick to Dallas for the 22nd pick. The Browns drafted Brady Quinn, and the thought was that Quinn would eventually take the reins and be the franchise quarterback the Browns had desperately coveted. With the Browns looking to move back into the 2nd round, they made another trade with the Cowboys, this time sending their 3rd and 4th round pick to the Cowboys for a 2nd round pick, which they used to draft CB Eric Wright. All-in-all it seemed like a very successful offseason for the Browns.

The season started off just like any other, with a loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers, by a score of 34-7. Charlie Frye was pulled at halftime due overall terribleness, and in came Derek Anderson, who led the team on their only scoring drive. On the Tuesday following the loss, the Browns traded Charlie Frye to the Seattle Seahawks, becoming the first team since 1970 to trade their starting quarterback before week 2. The trade made Derek Anderson the starter, and Brady Quinn moved to the backup role. After a horrid offensive performance in week 1, the Browns decided to drop 51 points and 554 yards on the Bengals, in a 51-45 win. Derek Anderson threw for 328 yards and 5 touchdowns, Jamal Lewis ran for 216 yards and a touchdown, while Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow had 8-146-2 and 6-100-1 respectively. The Browns brought their new found offense to Oakland in week 3. The Browns were in position to win the game, but Phil Dawson’s potential game winning field goal was blocked, and the Browns would lose by a score of 26-24. Week 6 saw Derek Anderson and Braylon Edwards connect for 3 touchdowns in a 41-31 win over the Miami Dolphins, as the Browns went into the bye week with a 3-3 record. Edwards continued his torrid season in week 8, when he totaled 8 receptions for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 27-20 win over the St. Louis Rams. The win pushed the Browns over the .500 mark with a 4-3 record. In week 9, Jamal Lewis ran for 4 touchdowns, and Phil Dawson hit a game winning field goal in overtime to give the Browns a 3-game win streak and a 5-3 record.

The rematch against Pittsburgh in week 10 was a fry cry from the first match up, as the game had division title implications on it, as the Browns entered with 5-3 record, while the Steelers sported a 6-2 record. The Browns raced out to a 21-9 halftime lead, but couldn’t hold it, as the Steelers took a 24-21 lead early in the 4th quarter. After the Steelers scored to take the lead, Josh Cribbs mishandled the ensuing kickoff, as the ball rolled to the 1-yard line; Cribbs picked it up and was able to maneuver his way 99-yards for the score. The return gave the Browns the lead again at 28-24. The Steelers then went on a 14-play drive, consuming 8 minutes of game time, leading to a touchdown, giving the Steelers the lead at 31-28. Multiple times during the drive the Steelers faced a 3rd-and long, but Roethlisberger was able to convert every time. The Browns had a chance to tie the game with a last second 52-yard field goal, but Phil Dawson just couldn’t get enough leg in it, as the Browns dropped to 5-4. Week 11 seemed like it would be a copy of the Steelers game, as again the Browns raced out 27-14 lead by the 4th quarter. The Ravens would come back, and even took the lead with 26 seconds left. Josh Cribbs gave the Browns great field position, and the offense was able to set Phil Dawson up with the potential tying (and redeeming) 51-yard field goal. Dawson let it fly, as the ball hit off the left post, then hit the crossbar and bounced back on the field; no good. The Browns would lose by a, wait, what are the refs talking about? Did that ball go over the crossbar and comeback? It did! Tie game! Here’s the link to the miracle bounce: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en65Ws1FNxE. Overtime would start with another great Josh Cribbs kick return, a few plays later, Phil Dawson kicked a drama free 33-yard field goal for the win. In week 12, the Browns would go on to beat the Houston Texans by a score of 27-17 to push their record to 7-4.

After a controversial loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the Browns were able to rebound with a win over the New York Jets. Jamal Lewis sealed the win with 31-yard touchdown run with 1:22 left in the game, as the Browns would win by a score of 24-18; the win gave the Browns a record of 8-5. As the weather began to take a turn for the worse, the Browns began to rely more and more on Jamal Lewis. Against the Buffalo Bills, Lewis ran for 163 yards in blizzard conditions, as the Browns pitched a 8-0 shutout. The Browns entered week 16 only needing a win over the Bengals to clinch a playoff spot. In classic Cleveland fashion, Derek Anderson would throw 4 interceptions, as the Bengals got out to a 19-0 lead. The Browns were able to come back, thanks to two Braylon Edwards touchdowns, but ultimately ended up losing by a score of 19-14. The Browns entered week 17 needing to win against the San Francisco 49ers and also needing the Tennessee Titans to lose against the Colts. The Browns would win by a score of 20-7, and would head to the locker room awaiting the Titans game. With the Colts having already clinched a playoff spot, Tony Dungy decided to rest his starters, which allowed the Titans to win by a score of 16-10, propelling them to the playoff, not the Browns. The Browns became the first 10-win team ever to not qualify for the postseason. Despite not making the playoffs, the Browns enjoyed their most successful season since their return, posting a 10-6 record. Braylon Edwards set the Browns season receiving yards and touchdown records with 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns. The 402 total points the Browns scored on the season were the most since the 1966 Browns scored 403 total points. The Browns also sent 6 players to the Pro Bowl, the most since the 1995 season.

Pro Bowl: Derek Anderson, Josh Cribbs, Braylon Edwards, Ryan Pontbriand, Joe Thomas, Kellen Winslow
All-Pro: None

Offensive Stats
Total Points: 402 (8th)
Total Yards: 5,621 (8th)

Passing Yards: Derek Anderson – 3,787
Passing TD: Derek Anderson – 29
Passing Int: Derek Anderson – 19
QB Rating: Derek Anderson – 82.5

Rush Att: Jamal Lewis – 298
Rush Yards: Jamal Lewis – 1,304
Rush TD: Jamal Lewis – 9

Rec: Kellen Winslow – 82
Rec Yards: Braylon Edwards – 1,289
Rec TD: Braylon Edwards – 16

Defensive Stats
Total Points allowed: 382 (21st)
Total Yards allowed: 5,753 (30th)

Tackles: D’Qwell Jackson – 101
Sacks: Kamerion Wimbley – 5.0
Int: Leigh Bodden – 6

— Chris Sladoje (@CST_Doje)

Photo via cleveland.com

Cleveland Browns: Season in Review

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