History

History: 1954


Team Photo

Just like they would do the following season, the 1954 Browns won the NFL title but started slowly, losing two of their first three regular-season games, one of which -- a 28-10 decision to Philadelphia - came in the opener against the club that would finish second to them in the Eastern Conference.

The other defeat was by a humiliating 55-27 count to Pittsburgh, giving the Steelers, who would finish just 5-7 that year, their first victory over the Browns in nine tries dating back to 1950 when the series between the teams began with Cleveland's arrival in the NFL. It is also the most points Pittsburgh has ever scored against the Browns.

But then the Browns got rolling, winning eight in a row before falling 14-10 to those pesky Detroit Lions in a meaningless regular-season finale (9-3 Cleveland had already clinched the conference crown over the 7-4-1 Eagles).

Included in that stretch were revenge victories over the Eagles (6-0) and Steelers (42-7), and a 62-3 crushing of the Washington Redskins, tying a team mark set the year before against the New York Giants for most points scored in a game.

The next week, the Browns thumped the Western Conference runner-up (8-4) Chicago Bears 39-10, giving them the most points - 101 - in consecutive games in their history.

The Browns won those eight straight by an average score of 32.3 to 7.3 -- a whopping 25-point spread. They also surrendered an average of just 13.5 points per game on the season.

In the first quarter alone, the Browns outscored their opponents 92-17.

Each member of their starting secondary, a key part of a fine defensive unit that never got its due, had at least three interceptions, led by safety Ken Konz with seven.

Offensively, quarterback Otto Graham, who would retire -- temporarily -- following the season, didn't have his usual Pro Football Hall of Fame statistics. He had just 11 TD passes and 17 interceptions for a 73.5 rating.

Hall of Fame wide receiver Dante Lavelli was Graham's top target with 47 receptions and seven TDs.

Running back Maurice Bassett, for whom the award is named that goes to the top Browns rookie in training camp every year, led the way in rushing with 588 yards and six scores.

But the thing that's really impressive about this team is the way it handled the Lions in the league title game. The Browns, who had lost to Detroit in the championship contest the previous two years, rolled to a 56-10 win, giving them their second NFL crown -- and first since 1950 -- and their sixth league championship overall dating back to their days in the All-America Football Conference from 1946-49.

Along with that, the 46-point spread represents the largest for the Browns in a playoff game.

The key to that victory was a secret players-only meeting of the offense in the team hotel the night before the game. The players were of the belief that Browns HOF head coach Paul Brown, who called all the plays, had been too conservative in those earlier contests against Detroit. They said the Browns were playing not to lose instead of playing all out to win, and that was keeping them from being able to take full advantage of their wide range of offensive weapons.

So the players finally decided that if Brown sent in a play they didn't like, Graham would audible to another play -- a bold move considering the no-nonsense personality of the coach.

They never told Brown of the meeting, but he always had a good read on his teams and must have known something was up. He was much more aggressive with his play-calling the next day, and Graham never had to use an audible.

It all worked like a charm, because the Browns, in roaring to a 35-10 halftime lead, scored 12 more points than they had in four quarters in the last two title game losses to Detroit combined.

Steve King,
Staff Writer


YEAR RESULTS
Preseason Results
National Football League: 2-3
at Green Bay Packers (15,747) 14-13
at Los Angeles Rams (58,567) 10-38
at San Francisco 49ers (46,877) 21-38
Detroit Lions at Dallas (42,000) 31-56
Chicago Bears (17,631) 35-7
 
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 9 3 0 .750 1 0 0 1.000 10 3 0 .769
 
Postseason Results
NFL Championship Game
Date Opponent Result Score
12/26 Detroit Lions Win 56-10
 

Date Result Opponent Att.
9/26 L 10-28 at Philadelphia Eagles 26,546
10/10 W 31-7 Chicago Cardinals 24,101
10/17 L 27-55 at Pittsburgh Steelers 33,262
10/24 W 35-3 at Chicago Cardinals 23,823
10/31 W 24-14 New York Giants 30,448
11/7 W 62-3 Washington Redskins 25,158
11/14 W 39-10 at Chicago Bears 48,773
11/21 W 6-0 Philadelphia Eagles 41,537
11/28 W 16-7 at New York Giants 45,936
12/5 W 34-14 at Washington Redskins 21,761
12/12 W 42-7 Pittsburgh Steelers 28,064
12/19 L 10-14 Detroit Lions 34,168
NFL Championship
12/26 W 56-10 Detroit Lions 43,827

Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 92 95 88 61 0 --- 336
Opponents 17 54 42 49 0 --- 162

Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 238 147
Rushing 113 56
Passing 112 73
Penalty 13 18
Total Net Yards 4,238 2,658
Avg. Per Game 353.2 221.5
Total Plays 771 672
Avg. Per Play 5.5 4
Net Yards Rushing 1,793 1,050
Avg. Per Game 149.4 87.5
Total Rushes 476 372
Net Yards Passing 2,331 1,608
Avg. Per Game 194.3 134
Sacked/Yards Lost 0/226 0/176
Gross Yards 2,557 1,784
Attempts/Completions 295/174 300/126
Completion Pct. 59.00% 42.00%
Had Intercepted 22 23
Punts/Avg. 52/42.9 84/40.1
Net Punting Avg. 52/40.4 84/36.3
Penalties/Yards Lost 83/796 58/608
Fumbles/Ball Lost 25/17 26/19
Touchdowns 41 22
Rushing 23 4
Passing 14 15
Returns 4 3

Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Groza, Lou 0 0 0 0 37/38 0 0 16/24 0 85
Graham, Otto 8 0 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 48
Lavelli, Dante 0 7 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 42
Bassett, Maurice 6 0 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 36
Brewster, Darrel 0 4 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 24
Browns 23 14 0 4 40/41 0 0 16/24 1 336
Opponents 4 15 3 0 21/22 0 0 3/9 0 162

Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Bassett, Maurice 144 588 4.1 22 6
Reynolds, Billy 64 180 2.8 33 2
Graham, Otto 63 114 1.8 14 8
Hanulak, Chet 59 296 5 24 4
Morrison, Fred 54 234 4.3 26 2
Browns 476 1,793 3.8 35 23
Opponents 372 1,050 2.8 47 4

Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Lavelli, Dante 47 802 17.1 64 7
Brewster, Darrel 42 676 16.1 57 4
Bassett, Maurice 20 205 10.3 33 0
Jones, Dub 19 347 18.3 48t 2
Renfro, Ray 13 228 17.5 64t 1
Browns 174 2,557 14.7 64t 14
Opponents 126 1,784 14.2 83t 15

Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Konz, Ken 7 133 19 54t 2
Lahr, Warren 5 44 8.8 27t 1
James, Tommy 4 57 14.3 36 0
Paul, Don 3 42 14 23 0
Gorgal, Ken 1 53 53 53t 1
Browns 23 369 16 54t 4
Opponents 22 368 16.7 81t 2

Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Gillom, Horace 52 2,230 42.9 0 4 80 0
Browns 52 2,230 42.9 0 4 80 0
Opponents 84 3,371 40.1 0 2 70 0

Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
Reynolds, Billy 25 0 138 5.5 39 0
Hanulak, Chet 27 0 92 3.4 43 0
Paul, Don 1 0 57 57 57 0
Konz, Ken 7 0 37 5.3 13 0
Gorgal, Ken 1 0 0 0 0 0
Browns 61 0 324 5.3 57 0
Opponents 38 0 128 3.4 48t 1

Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Reynolds, Billy 14 413 29.5 51 0
Hanulak, Chet 9 213 23.7 30 0
Konz, Ken 2 53 26.5 28 0
Paul, Don 1 31 31 31 0
Renfro, Ray 1 24 24 24 0
Browns 31 783 25.3 51 0
Opponents 51 1,064 20.9 50 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 240 142 2,092 59.2 8.72 11 4.6 17 7.1 64t 0/197 73.5
Ratterman, George 53 32 465 60.4 8.77 3 5.7 3 5.7 48t 0/18 84.2
Renfro, Ray 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 100 0 0/0 0
Lahr, Warren 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 100 0 0/0 0
Jones, Dub 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/11 39.6
Browns 295 174 2,557 59 8.67 14 4.7 22 7.5 64t 0/226 72.1