Browns staring at dubious set of numbers in NFL history
BALTIMORE (AP) — Getting off to the worst start in franchise history is one thing.
Being historically bad on a grand scale is quite another, and the winless Cleveland Browns now have only six games left to avoid that kind of infamy.
Facing the team that once called Cleveland home, this Browns team stayed competitive for a half before falling 28-7 to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night.
That left the Browns at 0-10, their worst start to a season since Cleveland joined the NFL in 1950.
It can't get much worse than that, can it? Well, perhaps. Because the Browns are now staring at one of the most dubious set of numbers in NFL history: 0-16.
The 2008 Detroit Lions are the only team in NFL history that went winless over a 16-game schedule. And now the Browns are hot on their trail.
“The mindset is you have to stay positive,” 10-year offensive tackle Joe Thomas said. “We're going to have to try to find a way to get a win here.”
It appeared the Browns had a shot in this one after they took a 7-3 lead in the second quarter and were still ahead 7-6 at halftime — despite starting the game with a timeout on the first play from scrimmage because there were 12 men on the field.
The second half was littered with turnovers and sacks, along with another quarterback change. Josh McCown proved to be even worse than starter Cody Kessler, and the result was another lopsided loss.
Cleveland has gone through six different quarterbacks this season. On this night, neither the starter nor his replacement could put a dent in the Baltimore defense.
“I know I made the statement before about playing musical chairs. I wasn't playing musical chairs today,” coach Hue Jackson insisted. “I was trying to give our offense a chance to function at a fast rate. … That's the decision I thought I needed to make and I made it. I don't regret it at all.”
The Browns have made the playoffs only once since the team rebooted in 1995 after the original franchise moved to Baltimore and left the records behind.
This team, however, is the worst of them all.
“It's tough, there's no way around it,” McCown said. “When you go through something like this. Nobody expects things to go this way. It can get heavy but the group in there, the way they're fighting and the way they come to work every day, those are the things we can draw on.”
It sure would be a lot easier to go to work with a victory to talk about.