History

History: 1952


Team Photo

By Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Paul Brown's standards -- especially at that point of time -- his 1952 Browns were not a great club.

They finished just 8-4, the worst record of any of Brown's first 10 Cleveland teams. But like those other nine squads, the club still made it to the league championship game.

Beating out both the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, who tied at 7-5, by only a game, the Browns finished in first place in the American Conference (it would be renamed the Eastern Conference the following year) for the third straight time in as many seasons.

But the Browns then fell 17-7 to the Detroit Lions in the league title game. It would be the first of three championship contest losses to the Lions during the decade, and it also represented the second consecutive year in which the Browns had fallen in the title game.

They had been defeated 24-17 by the Los Angeles Rams the year before, ending a string of five straight championship game victories dating back to their days in the All-America Football Conference from 1946-49.

After the loss to the Rams, an infuriated Brown said his players had gotten complacent and soft, and vowed he would toughen up the training regimen in 1952 so the Browns could win back the championship. As evidenced by everything that happened in 1952, it didn't work.

The club finished three games worse than it had in the 1951 regular season, when it won its final 10 contests to post an 11-1 record.

But it wasn't as if the Browns got blown out in any of their regular-season losses in 1952. Hardly.

They fell 17-9 and 37-34 to the Giants, 17-6 to the Lions and 28-20 to the Eagles. That four defeats by a combined total of just 30 points.

But on the other hand, these were some of the toughest teams on their schedule -- the teams the Browns had to beat if they wanted to be a champion. -- and the fact his club was falling short in them had to be troubling to Brown.

However, the Browns did manage to score two impressive wins, crushing the Eagles 49-7 in the teams' first meeting and the Rams 37-7 in the opener. Los Angeles would go on to finish 9-3, the same as the Lions, and then lose to Detroit in a special National Conference playoff to advance to the league championship game.

Some of the Browns' other victories weren't nearly so impressive and decisive, though. The Browns swept the season series from the Pittsburgh Steelers - but only barely, escaping by a point both times, 21-20 and 29-28. They beat the Washington Redskins by only four points, 19-15, and the Chicago Cardinals by just 10-0.

The Cardinals, Redskins and Steelers were teams the Browns had generally handled with ease the previous two seasons since entering the NFL in 1950. So, were these clubs getting better, or were the Browns sliding -- or a little of both?

Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham did not have a great year, particularly by his standards, as he completed only 49.7 percent of his passes while throwing for 20 touchdowns and 24 interceptions, giving him a quarterback rating of just 66.6.

Another Hall of Famer, running back Marion Motley, was the leading rusher -- but with only 444 yards. Ken Carpenter was right behind him with 408.

Wide receiver Mac Speedie, who has gotten HOF consideration over the years, had probably the best season of anyone on the offense, catching an NFL-leading 62 passes for 911 yards and five TDs. Dub Jones added 43 receptions.

Horace Gillom, one of the best punters the game has ever known, averaged over 45 yards per kick for the second straight year, finishing with a career-high 45.7.

What Brown needed was for all of his players to emulate Gillom, Jones and Speedie and continue the excellence they had shown in previous years. If so, then the Browns could easily get back on track.

But if not, then their reign in the conference would be in serious jeopardy.

Steve King,
Staff Writer


YEAR RESULTS
Preseason Results
National Football League: 2-2
at Green Bay Packers (22,215) 21-14
Chicago Bears (37,976) 14-7
Detroit Lions at Syracuse (26,000) 21-28
San Francisco 49ers at Akron (30,119) 31-35
 
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 8 4 0 .677 0 1 0 .000 8 5 0 .615
 
Postseason Results
NFL Championship Game
Date Opponent Result Score
12/28 Detroit Lions Loss 7-17
 

Date Result Opponent Att.
9/28 W 37-7 Los Angeles Rams 57,832
10/4 W 21-20 at Pittsburgh Steelers 27,923
10/12 L 9-7 New York Giants 51,858
10/19 W 49-7 at Philadelphia Eagles 27,874
10/26 W 19-15 Washington Redskins 32,496
11/2 L 6-7 at Detroit Lions 56,029
11/9 W 28-13 Chicago Cardinals 34,097
11/16 W 29-28 Pittsburgh Steelers 34,973
11/23 L 20-28 Philadelphia Eagles 28,948
11/30 W 48-24 at Washington Redskins 22,679
12/7 W 10-0 at Chicago Cardinals 24,541
12/14 L 34-37 at New York Giants 41,610
NFL Championship
12/28 L 7-17 Detroit Lions 50,934

Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 81 62 108 59 0 --- 310
Opponents 47 53 42 71 0 --- 213

Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 228 186
Rushing 105 78
Passing 119 95
Penalty 4 13
Total Net Yards 4,551 3,075
Avg. Per Game 379.3 256.3
Total Plays 786 759
Avg. Per Play 5.8 4.1
Net Yards Rushing 1,784 1,386
Avg. Per Game 148.7 115.5
Total Rushes 391 411
Net Yards Passing 2,566 1,689
Avg. Per Game 213.8 140.8
Sacked/Yards Lost 0/273 0/339
Gross Yards 2,839 2,028
Attempts/Completions 374/184 348/141
Completion Pct. 49.20% 40.50%
Had Intercepted 26 22
Punts/Avg. 61/45.7 84/40.6
Net Punting Avg. 61/40.7 84/35.7
Penalties/Yards Lost 85/744 46/425
Fumbles/Ball Lost 21/11 23/14
Touchdowns 36 29
Rushing 12 11
Passing 22 17
Returns 2 1

Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Groza, Lou 0 0 0 0 32/32 0 0 19/33 0 89
Jones, Dub 2 4 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 36
Carpenter, Ken 3 1 1 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 30
Speedie, Mac 0 5 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 30
Lavelli, Dante 0 4 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 24
Browns 12 22 1 1 35/36 0 0 19/33 1 310
Opponents 11 17 1 0 25/29 0 0 4/11 1 213

Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Motley, Marion 104 444 4.3 59 1
Carpenter, Ken 72 408 5.7 37 3
Jones, Dub 65 270 4.2 35 2
Jagade, Harry 57 373 6.5 30 2
Graham, Otto 39 128 3.3 21 4
Browns 391 1,784 4.6 59 12
Opponents 411 1,386 3.4 69 11

Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Speedie, Mac 62 911 14.7 50 5
Jones, Dub 43 651 15.1 63t 4
Lavelli, Dante 21 336 16 41 4
Carpenter, Ken 16 136 8.5 41t 1
Motley, Marion 13 213 16.4 68t 2
Browns 184 2,839 15.4 68t 22
Opponents 141 2,028 14.4 70t 17

Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Rechichar, Bert 6 79 13.2 25 0
Lahr, Warren 5 51 10.2 14 0
James, Tommy 4 40 10 18 0
Michaels, Walt 4 26 6.5 7 0
Bumgardner, Rex 2 33 16.5 33 0
Browns 22 250 11.4 33 0
Opponents 26 389 15 46 1

Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Gillom, Horace 61 2,787 45.7 0 6 73 1
Browns 61 2,787 45.7 0 6 73 1
Opponents 84 3,408 40.6 0 3 60 0

Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
Renfro, Ray 22 0 169 7.7 34 0
Carpenter, Ken 10 0 139 13.9 54t 1
Rechichar, Bert 8 0 47 5.9 16 0
Bumgardner, Rex 10 0 35 3.5 10 0
Phelps, Don 5 0 15 3 10 0
Browns 55 0 410 7.5 54t 1
Opponents 39 0 307 7.9 38 0

Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Carpenter, Ken 11 234 21.3 40 0
Renfro, Ray 8 130 16.3 26 0
Bumgardner, Rex 5 89 17.8 21 0
Cole, Emerson 4 71 17.8 22 0
Rechichar, Bert 4 70 17.5 19 0
Browns 47 830 17.7 40 0
Opponents 47 1,107 23.6 43 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 364 181 2,816 49.7 7.74 20 5.5 24 6.6 68t 0/242 66.6
Ratterman, George 6 2 20 33.3 3.33 1 16.7 2 33.3 11t 0/18 43.8
Jones, Dub 2 1 3 50 1.5 1 50 0 0 3t 0/13 95.8
Motley, Marion 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 39.6
Browns 374 184 2,839 49.2 7.59 22 5.9 26 7 68t 0/273 65.4
Opponents 348 141 2,028 40.5 5.83 17 4.9 22 6.3 70t 0/339 50.1