The Cleveland Browns finish the home portion of their regular-season schedule Sunday by hosting the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Browns carry a 4-9 record into the game after a 27-26 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium last weekend. At 7-6, the Bears broke a two-game losing streak with a 45-28 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in front of a national-television audience on Monday Night Football at Soldier Field.
Despite consistent preseason games, the two teams have met just three times since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999, and Chicago is 2-1 in those meetings.
Over the last four meetings, the Browns and Bears have alternated victories, with each team earning home wins. When the Browns and Bears last shared the field in the regular season, Chicago earned a 30-6 victory at Soldier Field in 2009.
Overall, the Browns are 9-5-0 all-time against the Bears, and 7-1-0 in home games during the regular season.
As this year’s game unfolds, there are several things to keep an eye on:
Browns wide receiver
After breaking and resetting the franchise record for receiving yards over the last two games, Gordon totaled 151 yards and one touchdown, an 80-yard score, against the Patriots last Sunday. In doing so, Gordon broke Braylon Edwards’ team record for receiving yards in a single season (1,289).
On the year, Gordon has turned 71 receptions into an NFL-best 1,400 yards and eight touchdowns. He set the franchise’s receiving record in 11 games after missing the first two contests of the regular season because of a league-mandated suspension.
In the last month, Gordon has gained 774 yards, the most in NFL history over a four-game stretch. He now owns the NFL records for the most yards in back-to-back games (498), and in a three-game stretch (623). And his back-to-back 200-yard receiving games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars are a first in NFL history.
In 27 games with the Browns, Gordon has gained 2,205 yards. This season, he has seven 100-yard receiving games. Both are Browns records.
With a touchdown Sunday, Gordon could become the first Browns player since Paul Warfield in 1976 to have a receiving score in five straight games. The only Browns player to have 100 or more yards receiving in four straight games, Gordon could join Houston’s Charley Hennigan (1961) as the only players in NFL-AFL history to record three 200-plus yard games in a single season.
Cleveland tight end
Cameron’s 72 receptions and 825 yards are the second-most in the NFL among tight ends this season. His seven touchdowns are tied for fourth and 44 first-down receptions are third in the NFL among tight ends.
The seven touchdowns are the second-most by a Browns tight end in a single season. With the four-yard touchdown reception against the Patriots, Cameron passed Pro Football Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome for the second-most touchdowns by a tight end in a single season. Newsome holds the record of nine touchdowns, which he set in 1979.
Browns Pro Bowl left tackle
Bears running back Matt Forte. When the Bears are not passing the football, they are relying on Forte’s rushing prowess. Forte has rushed for 1,073 yards and seven touchdowns on 234 attempts. He has averaged 4.6 yards per carry, and proven to be a dual threat in the passing game.
Out of the backfield, Forte has been on the receiving end of 65 passes, third-most on the team, and turned those receptions into 518 yards and two scores.
Chicago wide receivers Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall. Despite injuries at the quarterback position, the Bears have a tandem of weapons at wide receiver in Marshall and Jeffery. Marshall leads the team with 84 catches, which he has turned into 1,090 yards and nine touchdowns, while Jeffery has gained 1,193 yards and scored six touchdowns on 75 receptions.
Bears defensive end Julius Peppers. Peppers has registered 6.5 of the Bears’ 26 sacks this season. In his 12-year career with the Bears and Carolina Panthers, Peppers has registered 118 career sacks.
The Browns end the 2013 regular season with two road games, starting next week against the New York Jets (6-7) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Bears will continue their march toward the NFC North Division championship with next Sunday’s trip to Lincoln Financial Field to play the NFC East Division leading Philadelphia Eagles (8-5).
Browns special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor was an assistant special-teams coach for the Bears from 2008-10.
Browns quarterback Jason Campbell spent the 2012 season with the Bears, where he completed 32 of 51 attempts for 265 yards and two touchdowns against two interceptions. He appeared in six games and made one start.
Browns punter Spencer Lanning was signed by the Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2011 and spent training camp with the team.
Browns defensive line coach Joe Cullen served as the University of Illinois’ defensive assistant in 2005.
Browns offensive line coach Mike Sullivan (Chicago) and rookie offensive lineman
Bears coach Marc Trestman served as the Browns’ quarterbacks coach in 1988. He was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 1989, and mentored quarterback Bernie Kosar, whom he also coached at the University of Miami.
Chicago defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, an Ohio native, was the Browns’ defensive backs coach from 2005-07 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2008. During Tucker’s tenure in Cleveland, the Browns ranked fifth in the league with 73 interceptions. He also coached at The Ohio State University from 2001-04.
Chicago defensive backs coach Jon Hoke is from Kettering, Ohio, and coached Kent State’s defensive backs from 1989-93, while assistant offensive line coach Pat Meyer was a four-year starter at Girard High School in Eastern Ohio, and also participated in wrestling, basketball, baseball and track.
Bears linebacker/special-teams contributor Blake Costanzo registered 21 total tackles and two forced fumbles in 26 games with the Browns from 2009-2010.
Fans can watch Sunday’s game at 1 p.m./ET on local FOX affiliate, WJW-TV 8 as Thom Brennaman (play-by-play), former Super Bowl-winning coach of the Baltimore Ravens, Brian Billick (color analyst) and sideline reporter Laura Okmin call the action.
The game is also available along the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network with Jim Donovan, former Browns left tackle Doug Dieken, and Jamir Howerton on the call.
Compass Media Networks is carrying the game with Matt Smith and Tony Hill on the call. Their broadcast is available on Sirius XM channel 807.
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