NFL’s longest losing streak ended in week 1 of the 2018 season. The Cleveland Browns have not won a game since Dec. 24 2016 vs. (at the time) San Diego Chargers. Robert Griffin III was the starting quarterback at the time, Isaiah Crowell was the running back and Gary Barnidge was their top receiver that game.
The Browns seemed to turn their team around during the off-season. They signed Tyrod Taylor, and all-star receiver Jarvis Landry. Cleveland had the first and fourth pick in the draft and used them wisely picking Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward.
In the first week of the 2018 season, the Browns faced the Pittsburgh Steelers at home. Running back Le’Veon Bell was not set to play, but the Steelers were still picked to win (-3.5).
Wide receiver Josh Gordon went to rehab for a while then returned with limited practice two weeks before the season began. When healthy, or not suspended, Gordon is a top receiver in the NFL, no matter the QB targeting him.
The Game to Remember
The game that ended NFL’s longest losing streak started off slow. In the first quarter Damerious Randall, the new defensive back the Browns received in a trade with the Green Bay Packers, recorded his first interception with the Browns, but the team couldn’t do anything with it. Randall picked off Steelers’s quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the second quarter again, but the Browns couldn’t do anything with it.
Pittsburgh led 7-0 at halftime.
The Browns came out strong and scored a touchdown on their first drive of the second half. But it went downhill from there. The Steelers came back to score two more touchdowns, leading 21-7.
Heading into the fourth quarter the Browns caused two fumbles, capitalizing off of one of the takeaways. With little time left, Taylor threw a dime to Gordon for a touchdown to tie the game.
Going into overtime, suspense started to build. Browns fans have seen this before, high hopes squashed because of a loss.
The rules of overtime are simple, the team that goes first has the advantage. Scoring a touchdown means the game is over, but scoring a field goal means a chance for the other team. If no points are scored at the end of OT, it is a tie. Ties are rare, but they happen.
A couple of punts from each team led to a boring OT. Pittsburgh set up for a field goal and missed the kick is wide left. With minimal time left, all the Browns had to do is get close enough for a field goal. They didn’t, and they had to punt. But the Steelers fumbled their next possession. The Browns recovered and set up at the Pittsburgh 26 for a 43-yard field goal. The field goal was blocked by TJ Watt. Time expires and it is still a tie.
The Browns didn’t win, but they didn’t lose. The Browns have their best start since 2004.