OK, so the Browns didn't win at all in 1953, falling by just a point, 17-16, to the Detroit Lions to absorb their third straight NFL Championship Game defeat.
However, the Browns accomplished about every other goal imaginable.
They captured their first 11 regular-season games before suffering a meaningless 42-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the finale. The Browns had long since clinched the Eastern Conference title by then, as their final 11-1 record put them well ahead of the runnerup Eagles (7-4-1).
The Browns had just three close calls during that winning streak, beating the New York Giants 7-0, the San Francisco 49ers 23-21 and the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-16.
Cleveland almost got another crack at the 49ers in the league title game, but San Francisco finished second in the Western Conference at 9-3, just a game behind the 10-2 Lions.
The Browns did well against Eastern rivals New York and Pittsburgh in their other meetings with them, crushing the Giants 62-14 and rolling past the Steelers 34-16.
In their first six games, the Browns recorded two shutouts and kept four foes in single-digits scoring, outscoring those opponents by a whopping 155-37 margin.
Dante Lavelli, Darrel Brewster and Ray Renfro combined for 14 touchdown receptions, with Lavelli making a team-high 45 catches.
Otto Graham had his best quarterback rating in the NFL, 99.7, on the strength of 2,722 yards passing and 11 TDs with nine interceptions.
With running back Marion Motley winding down his Pro Football Hall of Fame career, the Browns didn't have a dominant rusher, but they made up for it by having three pretty good ones in wingback Renfro (352 yards), Harry "Chick" Jagade (344) and Billy Reynolds (313).
The Browns had 25 interceptions, with cornerbacks Warren Lahr and Tommy James, along with safety Ken Konz, getting five each. The other safety, Ken Gorgal, had four.
It once again underscores just how talented the Browns defense was back then, but few people noticed because of all the big names the team had on offense.
Great defense. Great offense. Great specialists in punter Horace Gillom and kicker Lou Groza, who made 23-of-26 field-goal attempts.
That would all seem to be enough to get a championship. But it wasn't. It fell just short -- agonizingly so for a Browns team that had gotten close for the third year in a row only to come away empty once again.
|9/27||W 27-0||at Green Bay Packers||22,604|
|10/4||W 27-7||at Chicago Cardinals||24,374|
|10/10||W 37-13||Philadelphia Eagles||45,802|
|10/18||W 30-14||at Washington Redskins||33,963|
|10/25||W 7-0||at New York Giants||30,773|
|11/1||W 27-3||Washington Redskins||47,845|
|11/8||W 34-16||Pittsburgh Steelers||35,592|
|11/15||W 23-21||San Francisco 49ers||80,698|
|11/22||W 20-16||at Pittsburgh Steelers||32,904|
|11/29||W 27-16||Chicago Cardinals||24,499|
|12/6||W 62-14||New York Giants||40,235|
|12/13||L 27-42||at Philadelphia Eagles||38,654|
|12/27||L 16-17||at Detroit Lions||54,577|
|Score By Periods|
|Total First Downs||213||206|
|Total Net Yards||4,534||3,575|
|Avg. Per Game||377.8||297.9|
|Avg. Per Play||6.6||4.7|
|Net Yards Rushing||1,577||1,560|
|Avg. Per Game||131.4||130|
|Net Yards Passing||2,814||2,015|
|Avg. Per Game||234.5||167.9|
|Net Punting Avg.||63/41.3||72/38.3|
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