Browns fans are suffering through a historically bad season, as Cleveland is a franchise-worst 0-10 heading into Sunday's game against Pittsburgh. Sixteen other teams have been that bad in modern NFL history; here's how six of those 0-10 teams were able to get their first win.
The Browns will be at home, and that helps; five of the six teams snapped their skid at home. Cold temperatures work in the home team's favor, too, and Sunday's game has a high chance of rain, snow and strong winds.
If you have a rookie QB, like they do, he may be a future Hall of Famer, or you may draft one with the No. 1 pick next year. You can be 0-10 and beat a defending champion that's headed back to the Super Bowl; you also can be 0-10 and have the best record in your conference just two years later.
You also could go 0-10 again next year.
These are all lessons from the past, so try to cheer up, Browns fans, and glean some hope from history.
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1971 Buffalo Bills
Buffalo, playing at home, jumped on a struggling New England team early with two TD passes from Dennis Shaw to J.D. Hill, then added a fourth-quarter score by O.J. Simpson to hold off a second-half rally, 27-20. Shaw, who had a league-leading 26 interceptions in 1971, played turnover-free ball and the Bills won with only 264 total yards, in part because of three Patriots turnovers, including two interceptions by Robert James.
1983 Houston Oilers
Oliver Luck — Andrew’s dad — helped Houston rally at home with 17 unanswered points to beat Detroit, 27-17. Luck threw 3 TD passes in his first career win — he had only two more — and Willie Tullis had two of the Oilers’ four interceptions. That 1983 Oilers team also featured Archie Manning – Peyton’s dad.
1984 Houston Oilers
A 28-year-old rookie QB from the CFL named Warren Moon threw for a TD and ran for one to escape a 33-degree day in Kansas City with a 17-16 win, and halt an 0-10 start to the season for the second straight year. It was the first of Moon’s 102 career victories in the NFL.
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1993 Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals defense blanked the Los Angeles Raiders for three quarters on a 29-degree day in Cincy, then held them off 16-10. The Bengals won with a lousy QB, David Klingler, by running the ball and dominating the time-of-possession battle, while limiting the Raiders receivers.
1997 Indianapolis Colts
Talk about home cookin’! How else do you explain a winless Colts team led by the not-so-immortal Paul Justin beating Brett Favre and a defending champion Green Bay Packers team that was headed back to the Super Bowl? Well, Justin threw for 340 yards and Marshall Faulk ran for 116, the Colts scored a 50-yard TD on a lateral and also took advantage of three turnovers. But they won the back-and-forth shootout, 41-38, on Cary Blanchard’s 20-yard field goal. The next year they drafted Peyton Manning, and the rest is history.
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2014 Oakland Raiders
Before Derek Carr and Latavius Murray were challenging for AFC West supremacy, they were taking their licks as rookies. Murray ran for two first-half TDs, including a 90-yarder, before Alex Smith rallied the visiting Chiefs with 17 unanswered points. But Carr threw the game-winning TD to James Jones with 1:42 left for a 24-20 win over a 7-3 Chiefs team that went into free-fall, losing 4 of 6 games to miss the playoffs.