Only three months after breaking his ankle, Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar broke a team record.
Although the weather at Cleveland Stadium on Dec. 6, 1992 was ice-cold – 25 degrees, with a wind-chill of just 13 – Kosar was red-hot. He set a team record at the time by completing 82.6 percent of his passes (19-of-23) for 239 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, to key a 37-21 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals before a crowd of 68,368.
It was the second game back for Kosar, who missed nine contests after getting hurt Sept. 14 in a 27-23 loss to the Miami Dolphins on “Monday Night Football.” After throwing for a career-low 59 yards in a 27-14 triumph over the Chicago Bears the week before, Kosar looked like his old self as he systematically picked apart the Bengals.
Kosar threw his touchdown passes – a 35-yarder to running back Eric Metcalf and then a 45-yarder to wide receiver Michael Jackson – in a span of only 1:19 early in the third quarter. Only 16 seconds after Jackson’s touchdown, the Browns scored again when linebacker Mike Johnson recovered a fumble by quarterback David Klingler in the end zone.
The 21-point outburst in only 1:35 turned a close game into a runaway, as the Browns took a 13-7 halftime lead and extended it to 34-7, improving their record to 7-6 and remaining in the playoff chase with three games to go.
For the Bengals, who defeated the Browns, 30-10, on Nov. 1 at Riverfront Stadium, it was their fourth straight loss and dropped them to 4-9 on their way to a 5-11 finish in David Shula’s first year as coach.
Shula is the son of Don Shula, the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and Northeast Ohio native who played at Painesville Harvey High School, John Carroll University, and as a defensive back with the Browns in 1951.
The Browns recorded season highs with 381 total yards and 149 rushing yards. Metcalf amassed 210 all-purpose yards, including 53 yards rushing in just nine attempts, 73 yards on six pass receptions and 75 yards on five punt returns.
Kevin Mack ran 10 times for 40 yards, Jackson had three catches for 64 yards and fullback Tommy Vardell caught four passes for 37 yards.
The Browns got off to a great start, leading 10-0 after one quarter on Mack’s seven-yard run and a 34-yard field goal by second-year pro Matt Stover.
The Bengals got a 26-yard TD pass from Klingler to tight end Rodney Holman, but Stover’s 30-yard field goal made it 13-7 at halftime.
After the Browns’ aforementioned three TDs in rapid-fire fashion blew the game wide open, the Bengals ended the third quarter with the first of two TD passes to wide receiver Jeff Query, this one a 10-yarder from Klingler, to put the score at 34-14.
Then in the fourth quarter, Stover made another field goal, of 27 yards, and Hollas went to Query for 24 yards to complete the scoring – and a great day for Kosar and the Browns.