The 2002 Browns had a little bit of the Kardiac Kids in them.
That is, just like that 1980 team led by quarterback Brian Sipe, the Browns of 11 years ago were involved in a lot of close games, many of which they found a win on the way to earning an AFC wild-card playoff berth.
One of their more impressive -- and nerve-racking -- performances occurred Dec. 22 at Baltimore when quarterback Tim Couch threw a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mark Campbell with just 38 seconds remaining to provide a 14-13 victory over the Ravens.
Couch was superb down the stretch, needing just 1:40 to direct the Browns on the game-winning, eight-play, 92-yard drive. He completed six of seven passes for 78 yards, and on the scoring throw, he hung in the pocket until the last possible moment to allow Campbell to work his way free. In fact, he was doubled over after a hit from a defender as he delivered the ball.
Overall, Couch had one of the most efficient days of his four-year career, hitting on 22-of-31 attempts for 209 yards and the touchdown with an interception for an 86.6 passing rating.
More importantly, the win put the Browns at 8-7 with a game left and kept them in contention. Baltimore dropped to 7-8.
The Browns struck first on Jamel White’s three-yard touchdown run, then former Brown Matt Stover kicked a 31-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Jeff Blake’s 17-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Travis Taylor with 4:44 left in the second quarter gave Baltimore a 10-7 advantage at halftime.
Stover’s 43-yard field goal at 5:12 was the only scoring of the third quarter and pushed the Ravens’ lead to 13-7.
The Browns had their backs against the wall when they took over at the Cleveland 8 with only 2:18 remaining in the game. They had been shut out for nearly 3½ quarters, and unless they could find a way to get jump-started offensively and score a touchdown, they were going to lose the game and as such lose out on a shot at the postseason.
Couch started the drive with two completions to wide receiver Andre King, for 11 and nine yards, to put the ball at the 28. He went to another wide receiver, Quincy Morgan, for 17 yards on the next play.
After misfiring to Morgan, Couch found White for 28 yards. The Browns picked up 15 additional yards to the Baltimore 13 with 1:26 left when cornerback Chris McAlister was called for unnecessary roughness on the tackle.
The red-hot Couch then threw a 12-yarder to wide receiver Kevin Johnson on the next play, and the Browns had a first-and-goal at the 1.
William Green’s run was stopped short of the goal line, so Couch went back to the air and flipped the game-winner to Campbell.
The Ravens’ last-ditch effort was thwarted by defensive back Michael Jameson’s interception at the Cleveland 28 with six seconds left.