November 23, 2020

The History Of The Browns Vs. The Colts

The Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts have played 34 times with both teams winning 17 of those matchups. This includes four playoff games, two NFL Championship Games and two AFC Divisional Playoff Games.

The teams split both.

In 1950, the Colts, the San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns joined the reorganized National Football League from the old All American Football Conference. Upon entering the league, the Browns and the Colts were pretty evenly matched. However, between 1978 and 1991 the Browns won 9/11 games, including a 1988 Divisional Playoff Game.

Since 1991, the Browns have only won two of the next 12 meetings.

The last victory by the Browns came in 2011, with the Browns winning, 27-19. Browns quarterback Colt McCoy was 22 of 32 for 211 yards and a touchdown. The Browns rushing attack was powered by fan-favorite RB Peyton Hillis, who had 27 carries for 94 yards and two touchdowns. This game also featured Browns Mr. Everything, WR Josh Cribbs. Three catches for 41 yards, two kick returns for 80 yards and two punt returns for 26 yards. The Browns led at halftime, 14-9, and never trailed the rest of the game. Here are the highlights!

The most important game between these two teams occurred in the 1964 NFL Championship Game, the Browns’ last NFL Championship. The game featured nine future NFL Hall of Famers. It was also the first NFL Championship Game televised on live TV. The Colts had finished the season 12-2 in the Western Conference and were heavy favorites over the 10-3-1 Eastern Conference Champion Browns. The Colts were coached by the NFL Coach of the Year Don Shula and quarterbacked by Johnny Unitas. The Brown countered with second-year coach Blanton Collier and quarterback Frank Ryan. Or should I say, Dr. Frank Ryan, because he already had his Ph.D. in mathematics from Rice University. Because the game was played in December and in Cleveland, the Lake Erie winds were a factor to help stop the Colts’ potent passing attack. If one ever watched a game in the old Municipal Stadium, that person knows what I’m talking about.

The game was scoreless at the half and with the wind at their backs, the Browns capitalized in the third quarter. After forcing the Colts to punt into the strong wind, the Browns kicked a field goal for a 3-0 lead. The Browns defense forced another short Baltimore punt and scored on a Ryan to WR Gary Collins touchdown pass. On the issuing kickoff, the Colts RB Tory Lorick made a bad decision to bring the ball out of the end zone and only returned it to the Colts 11. A Baltimore clipping penalty and the Browns defense forced another punt into a stiff wind. The Browns again scored on a touchdown pass from Ryan to Collins. After a Colts fumble, the Browns kicked a field goal and added a 51-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter for a 27-0 win. Unitas finished the game 12 of 20 for 95 yards and two interceptions. Frank Ryan finished 11 of 18 for 206 yards and three TDs, all to Gary Collins. At the time, Collins’ three TD receptions were a playoff game record. Of course, Jim Brown had his usual game with 27 carries for 114 yards.

The highlights from this game were a major production by NFL films. They feature their new technology of slow motion and several camera angles. It was narrated by Chris Schenkel who became famous for the ABC Saturday sports show “The Wide World Of Sports” and The Olympics. These highlights are a fun watch, but it’s extremely overdramatic and very campy.     Enjoy Here

With the series tied at 17-17, it’s time for the Browns to grab the series lead and to start a new winning streak against the Colts.


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