This Day in Browns History - 12/16

Posted Dec 15, 2012

In this series, looks back to a victory over the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 16, 2007.

The final score was more suitable for a baseball game.

But the weather was more suitable for the Iditarod.

When it was all said and done on Dec. 16, 2007, the Browns had shut out the Buffalo Bills, 8-0, before a freeze-dried crowd of 73,196 at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Only one other time in Browns history have they scored eight points in a game, and they won that one, too, 8-3 over the New York Giants in a special American Conference playoff game almost 57 years before to the day, on Dec. 17, 1950, also at Cleveland.

Just as was the case that day, the 2007 game was played in brutal conditions -- a near-blizzard. In fact, it was one of the worst conditions in which the Browns -- the original franchise or the expansion-era version – have ever played.

A steady snow began falling several hours before gametime and continued throughout the afternoon, laying a heavy, thick white blanket onto the field. The conditions were made much worse by a temperature of 31 degrees and a 19 mph wind that lowered the wind-chill factor to 19 degrees.

The weather made passing extremely difficult in the first quarter and next-to-impossible as the game went on. Derek Anderson, on the way to becoming the first Browns quarterback to make the Pro Bowl in 20 years, was just 9-of-24 passing for 137 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, and the Bills’ Trent Edwards was 13-of-33 for 124 yards, also for no scores or picks.

But two Browns, kicker Phil Dawson and running back Jamal Lewis, played as if it were 80 degrees and sunny with a completely dry and fast track.

With the passing game ineffective, the Browns turned to Lewis to move the chains, and he responded in fine fashion, rushing 33 times for 163 yards and averaging 4.9 yards a carry. He even snow-shoed his way for 26 yards on one run.

But as good as Lewis was that day -- and he was very good, somehow finding a way to keep his feet while all the players around him were losing theirs -- Dawson was even better. Dawson hit both of his field-goal attempts, a 35-yarder midway through the first quarter and a 49-yarder just before halftime.

At first glance, that hardly seems like a big deal. But considering the weather conditions, those kicks defy explanation.

The wind was blowing on a straight line that day, from south to north, or from the Bills sideline to the Browns sideline. For Dawson to navigate those winds, aiming for a spot that was not even close to being between the uprights, and then letting Mother Nature do the rest, was quite a feat.

On the 49-yarder, Dawson actually aimed at the left pylon at the back of the end zone on the south side. The wind took it right through the goal post, making it one of the most amazing kicks in Browns history.

This Day in Browns History is presented by Cleveland Clinic.

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