History

History: 1951


Team Photo

The 1951 season for the Browns was just like the one in 1953.

After all, they had an 11-game winning streak and finished 11-1, earned the conference - in this case, the American Conference - title and then were defeated by a close margin in the NFL Championship Game.

In 1951, that title game defeat was to the Los Angeles Rams, who gained a 24-17 decision with a late 73-yard touchdown pass to avenge their tough loss (30-28) to the Browns in the previous year's title contest.

It was the first league championship game defeat for the Browns after five straight victories dating back to the team's inception in 1946 in the All-America Football Conference.

But that was not the only reason it was a little hard for the Browns to take. They had rolled past Los Angeles 38-23 in the second game of the regular season and felt going into the rematch that they were definitely the superior team.

The only difference in 1951 from '53 for the Browns was that their lone regular-season defeat was at the beginning of the season, not the end, as the '51 Browns fell 24-10 to the San Francisco 49ers in the opener.

But that loss was quickly forgotten, as the Browns shut out two of their next three foes, winning 45-0 over the Washington Redskins and 17-0 over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns would blank the Steelers later in the year, 28-0, gaining a rare season series shutout.

They recorded four shutouts in all on the season, also beating the New York Giants 10-0. That win was huge for several reasons. Coupled with an earlier 14-13 victory, it allowed the Browns to sweep the season series from the Giants after losing twice to them in the 1950 regular season.

The 1950 Giants, who tied the Browns for first place in the American Conference and then lost to Cleveland in a special playoff game, finished second again in 1951, this time with a 9-2-1 record. The Giants thought they might be able to catch the Browns down the stretch, but Cleveland crushed its last two foes by a combined 52-9 margin to put a stranglehold on the conference title.

Dub Jones led the Browns in rushing with 492 yards and seven TDs, while Ken Carpenter added 402 yards and four scores.

Dante Lavelli was the top receiver with 43 catches and six TDs, while Jones had five scores on 30 receptions.

Quarterback Otto Graham had an OK year, throwing for 2,205 yards and 17 scores with 16 interceptions for a 79.2 rating.

Cornerback Warren Lahr and safety Cliff Lewis each had five interceptions, and Don Shula -- yes, THAT Don Shula -- added four.

But in the end, it wasn't quite enough. So for the first time, the Browns did not sit atop the league.

Steve King,
Staff Writer


YEAR RESULTS
Preseason Results
National Football League: 4-1
College All-Stars (92,180) 33-0
New York Yankees at Akron (25,820) 52-0
at Detroit Lions (35,165) 20-21
at Chicago Bears (67,342) 32-21
Los Angeles Rams (38,851) 7-6
 
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 11 1 0 .917 0 1 0 .000 11 2 0 .846
 
Postseason Results
NFL Championship Game
Date Opponent Result Score
12/23 at Los Angeles Rams Loss 24-17
 

Date Result Opponent Att.
9/30 L 10-24 at San Francisco 49ers 52,219
10/7 W 38-23 at Los Angeles Rams 67,186
10/14 W 45-0 Washington Redskins 33,968
10/21 W 17-0 Pittsburgh Steelers 32,409
10/27 W 14-13 New York Giants 56,947
11/4 W 34-17 at Chicago Cardinals 19,742
11/11 W 20-17 Philadelphia Eagles 36,571
11/18 W 10-0 at New York Giants 52,215
11/25 W 42-21 Chicago Bears 40,969
12/2 W 49-28 Chicago Cardinals 30,550
12/9 W 28-0 at Pittsburgh Steelers 24,229
12/16 W 24-9 at Philadelphia Eagles 16,263
NFL Championship
12/23 L 17-24 at Los Angeles Rams 57,540

Score By Periods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 80 79 100 72 0 --- 331
Opponents 34 19 44 55 0 --- 152

Team Statistics Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 203 201
Rushing 92 88
Passing 99 81
Penalty 12 32
Total Net Yards 3,847 3,002
Avg. Per Game 320.6 250.2
Total Plays 702 758
Avg. Per Play 5.5 4
Net Yards Rushing 1,708 1,454
Avg. Per Game 142.3 121.2
Total Rushes 415 428
Net Yards Passing 1,902 1,548
Avg. Per Game 158.5 129
Sacked/Yards Lost 0/371 0/430
Gross Yards 2,273 1,978
Attempts/Completions 271/151 330/151
Completion Pct. 55.70% 45.80%
Had Intercepted 17 22
Punts/Avg. 73/45.5 69/39.8
Net Punting Avg. 73/40.8 69/36.5
Penalties/Yards Lost 117/1,017 59/505
Fumbles/Ball Lost 25/18 35/29
Touchdowns 43 20
Rushing 20 8
Passing 18 10
Returns 5 2

Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Groza, Lou 0 0 0 0 43/43 0 0 10/23 0 73
Jones, Dub 7 5 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 72
Carpenter, Ken 4 2 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 36
Lavelli, Dante 0 6 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 36
Graham, Otto 3 0 0 1 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 24
Browns 20 18 1 4 43/43 0 0 10/23 0 331
Opponents 8 10 2 0 18/20 0 0 4/14 1 152

Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Jones, Dub 104 492 4.7 43t 7
Carpenter, Ken 85 402 4.7 30 4
Motley, Marion 61 273 4.5 26 1
Cole, Emerson 46 252 5.5 23 1
Bumgardner, Rex 45 126 2.8 20 1
Browns 415 1,708 4.1 43t 20
Opponents 428 1,454 3.4 35 8

Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Lavelli, Dante 43 586 13.6 47 6
Speedie, Mac 34 589 17.3 51 3
Jones, Dub 30 570 19 81t 5
Carpenter, Ken 12 183 15.3 45t 2
Gillom, Horace 11 164 14.9 24 0
Browns 151 2,273 15.1 81t 18
Opponents 151 1,978 13.1 61 10

Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Lahr, Warren 5 95 19 29 2
Lewis, Cliff 5 46 9.2 20 0
Shula, Don 4 23 5.8 16 0
Thompson, Tommy 2 23 11.5 17 0
Agase, Alex 2 7 3.5 6 0
Browns 22 235 10.7 29 2
Opponents 17 95 5.6 36 1

Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Gillom, Horace 73 3,321 45.5 0 8 66 0
Browns 73 3,321 45.5 0 8 66 0
Opponents 69 2,746 39.8 0 3 75 1

Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
Carpenter, Ken 14 0 173 12.4 49 0
Lewis, Cliff 14 0 48 3.4 11 0
Taseff, Carl 1 0 6 6 6 0
Phelps, Don 1 0 3 3 3 0
Browns 30 0 230 7.7 49 0
Opponents 49 0 340 6.9 30 0

Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Carpenter, Ken 9 196 21.8 48 0
Bumgardner, Rex 3 75 25 33 0
Phelps, Don 3 66 22 25 0
Taseff, Carl 3 56 18.7 20 0
Jagade, Harry 2 36 18 19 0
Browns 27 496 18.4 48 0
Opponents 34 763 22.4 41 0

Field Goals
1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ Tot

Passing
Att Cmp Yds Pct Av/At TD Td% Int Int% LG Tkld Rating
Graham, Otto 265 147 2,205 55.5 8.32 17 6.4 16 6 81t 0/371 79.2
Lewis, Cliff 6 4 68 66.7 11.33 1 16.7 1 16.7 20 0/0 104.9
Browns 271 151 2,273 55.7 8.39 18 6.6 17 6.3 81t 0/371 79.5
Opponents 330 151 1,978 45.8 5.99 10 3 22 6.7 61 0/430 47.5