The 1955 season began in rough fashion for the Browns, with the defending world champions losing 27-17 at home in the opener to the Washington Redskins, who would have their best season in a decade by finishing second in the Eastern Conference at 8-4.
But once Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham got back on track, so did the Browns.
With Graham, who had been lured out of retirement when the team experienced problems at that position in training camp, leading the way, the Browns then went on to win six in a row and nine of their last 11 to finish 9-2-1 and capture the conference title for the sixth straight year.
The Browns then blasted the host Los Angeles Rams 38-14 in the league title game, after which Graham retired again - this time for good, ending the club's remarkable first decade of existence in which it played in the league championship contest all 10 times and won seven crowns.
The Browns really caught fire offensively in the last five games. Including the title contest, they averaged 37.8 points per outing during that span, in which they won four times and played to a 35-35 tie with the New York Giants.
Also, earlier in the year, they won the important rematch with the Redskins, 24-14.
On the season, Graham threw for 15 touchdowns with just eight interceptions for a 94.0 quarterback rating, the second-best mark of his six-year NFL career.
The Browns had three receivers with 29 or more catches, combining for 18 TDs. Darrel Brewster was tops in receptions with 34, with Ray Renfro leading the way in scores with eight.
Plus the Browns had something they hadn't had since their first year in the NFL -- that is, a big-yardage running back. Fred "Curly" Morrison rushed for 824 yards, the most by a Brown since the team joined the league in 1950. Hall of Famer Marion Motley had 810 yards that year.
But as good as the Browns were offensively, they were just as good -- or maybe even better -- defensively. They gave up 218 points, or an average of 18.2 per game. During the aforementioned six-game winning streak that got the team jump-started, they surrendered an average of just 13 points per contest.
The Browns averaged more than two interceptions per game on the year, getting 25 in all. Three players - linebacker and later Pittsburgh Steelers HOF head coach Chuck Noll, cornerback Warren Lahr and safety Ken Konz -- had five each, with cornerback Don Paul adding four.
After all that, then, it was fitting that the Browns end the season -- and their remarkable decade of accomplishments -- with the resounding win over the Rams. Like he had done the year before in the championship game in the 56-10 rout of the Detroit Lions, Graham took over, passing for two TDs and running for two more.
That gave him a combined total of 10 TDs -- split evenly between passes and runs -- in those two contests and helped pave the way for him to be a shoo-in selection to the HOF 10 years later.
|9/25||L 17-27||Washington Redskins||30,041|
|10/2||W 38-3||at San Francisco 49ers||46,150|
|10/9||W 21-17||Philadelphia Eagles||43,974|
|10/16||W 24-14||at Washington Redskins||29,168|
|10/23||W 41-10||Green Bay Packers||51,482|
|10/30||W 26-20||at Chicago Cardinals||29,471|
|11/6||W 24-14||New York Giants||46,524|
|11/13||L 17-33||at Philadelphia Eagles||39,303|
|11/20||W 41-14||Pittsburgh Steelers||53,509|
|11/27||T 35-35||at New York Giants||45,699|
|12/4||W 30-7||at Pittsburgh Steelers||31,101|
|12/11||W 35-24||Chicago Cardinals||25,914|
|12/26||W 38-14||at Los Angeles Rams||87,695|
|Score By Periods|
|Total First Downs||224||171|
|Total Net Yards||3,978||2,841|
|Avg. Per Game||331.5||236.8|
|Avg. Per Play||5.2||4.2|
|Net Yards Rushing||2,020||1,189|
|Avg. Per Game||168.3||99.1|
|Net Yards Passing||1,950||1,652|
|Avg. Per Game||162.5||137.7|
|Net Punting Avg.||58/38.0||71/34.4|
Cleveland holds 11 draft picks
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