History

History: 1958


Team Photo

By the end of the 1958 season, the Browns had to be shaking their heads.

For the second straight year, one of their rivals had gotten revenge for something that had happened earlier in the decade.

After the Detroit Lions whipped the Browns 59-14 in the 1957 NFL Championship Game to atone for the 56-10 pounding they had absorbed from Cleveland in the title contest three years earlier, the 1958 New York Giants took their turn. The Giants shut out the Browns 10-0 in a special playoff game at Yankee Stadium to determine the Eastern Conference champion.

The last time the teams met in such a special playoff contest was 1950, when Cleveland edged New York 8-3 to win the title in the American Conference, the forerunner of the Eastern Conference, and advance to the league championship game.

As was the case in 1950, the 1958 Giants also beat Cleveland twice during the regular season, 21-17 and 13-10, as the teams tied for first with a 9-3 record. The Browns went into the latter game at 9-2, needing only a victory to clinch the division crown, and led 7-0 early in the first quarter and 10-3 in the fourth quarter. But Pat Summerall - yes, that Pat Summerall - kicked a 49-yard field goal in a snowstorm to provide the win even though he made barely 50 percent (12-of-23) of his attempts during the regular season.

Then in the playoff, Summerall added a 26-yard field goal in a game highlighted by the fact the Giants held Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown to a career-low eight yards rushing on seven carries, and limited the Browns to just 86 yards of total offense.

The Giants went on to lose 23-17 to the Baltimore Colts in overtime in the league championship contest, later dubbed "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

Aside from the Giants, the only team to beat the Browns in 1958 was those pesky Lions, who gained a 30-10 decision midway through the year. Otherwise, the Browns cruised through their schedule, notching their first five wins by an average of almost 15 points per contest and then putting together a four-game winning streak down the stretch.

The Browns' two best games of the year came in their season sweep of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had their second-best year in franchise history to that point by finishing third in the conference at 7-4-1. The Browns won 45-12 and 27-10, outscoring their rivals 72-22.

Even though Brown struggled in the playoff game, he otherwise had a magnificent season. As good as he had been as a rookie in 1957, he was even better - much better, in fact - in 1958. He rushed for 1,527 yards, or 585 more than he had compiled the year before. He also ran for a whopping total of 17 touchdowns, an increase of eight over 1956.

The Browns needed Brown to produce. Just as had been the case in 1957, the quarterback play in '58 was spotty. Milt Plum, who had taken over the job after playing some the year before, threw for just 11 TDs with 11 interceptions. He was still a season away from beginning to really blossom.

Rookie Bobby Mitchell's six TDs came in four different ways - by rushing, receiving, a kickoff return and a punt return. It was that kind of versatility that would eventually land him in the HOF.

Preston Carpenter had a team-leading 29 receptions, but it was Ray Renfro who really stood out, getting six - or exactly half -- of the team's 12 TD catches despite having only 24 grabs overall. The defense did a great job, not surrendering more than 14 points in any of the final six games, including the playoff.

Steve King,
Staff Writer


YEAR RESULTS
Preseason Results
National Football League: 3-3
Pittsburgh Steelers at Akron (27,202) 10-0
at Detroit Lions (36,662) 7-17
at Los Angeles Rams (41,387) 13-10
at San Francisco 49ers (31,339) 16-21
at Chicago Bears (52,669) 31-42
Detroit Lions (35,343) 41-7
 
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 0 1 0 .000 9 4 0 .692
 
Postseason Results
Conference Championship Game
Date Opponent Result Score
12/21 at New York Giants Loss 0-10
 

Date Result Opponent Att.
9/28 W 30-27 at Los Angeles Rams 69,993
10/5 W 45-12 at Pittsburgh Steelers 31,130
10/12 W 35-28 Chicago Cardinals 65,403
10/19 W 27-10 Pittsburgh Steelers 66,852
10/26 W 38-24 at Chicago Cardinals 30,933
11/2 L 17-21 New York Giants 78,404
11/9 L 10-30 Detroit Lions 75,563
11/16 W 20-10 at Washington Redskins 32,372
11/23 W 28-14 Philadelphia Eagles 51,319
11/30 W 21-14 Washington Redskins 33,240
12/1 W 21-14 at Philadelphia Eagles 36,773
12/14 L 10-13 at New York Giants 63,192
Playoff
12/21 L 0-10 at New York Giants 61,174

Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 90 82 42 88 0 --- 302
Opponents 41 89 48 39 0 --- 217

Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 206 201
Rushing 127 82
Passing 71 104
Penalty 8 15
Total Net Yards 4,107 3,660
Avg. Per Game 342.3 305
Total Plays 681 681
Avg. Per Play 6 5.4
Net Yards Rushing 2,526 1,448
Avg. Per Game 210.5 120.7
Total Rushes 475 369
Net Yards Passing 1,581 2,212
Avg. Per Game 131.8 184.3
Sacked/Yards Lost 0/177 0/175
Gross Yards 1,758 2,387
Attempts/Completions 206/110 312/162
Completion Pct. 53.40% 51.90%
Had Intercepted 14 16
Punts/Avg. 51/41.2 55/42.7
Net Punting Avg. 51/39.3 55/36.9
Penalties/Yards Lost 59/554 37/347
Fumbles/Ball Lost 14/8 27/18
Touchdowns 40 26
Rushing 24 6
Passing 12 20
Returns 4 0

Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Brown, Jim 17 1 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 108
Groza, Lou 0 0 0 0 36/38 0 0 8/19 0 60
Mitchell, Bobby 1 3 2 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 36
Renfro, Ray 0 6 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 36
Plum, Milt 4 0 0 0 2/2 0 0 0/0 0 26
Browns 24 12 3 1 38/40 0 0 8/19 0 302
Opponents 6 20 0 0 26/26 0 0 11/23 1 217

Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Brown, Jim 257 1,527 5.9 65t 17
Mitchell, Bobby 80 500 6.3 63t 1
Carpenter, Lew 73 308 4.2 30 2
Plum, Milt 37 127 3.4 22 4
Bolden, Leroy 15 55 3.7 15 0
Browns 475 2,546 5.4 65t 24
Opponents 369 1,448 3.9 40 6

Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Carpenter, Preston 29 474 16.3 74 1
Renfro, Ray 24 573 23.9 52 6
Brewster, Darrel 16 294 18.4 38 1
Brown, Jim 16 138 8.6 46 1
Mitchell, Bobby 16 131 8.2 25 3
Browns 110 1,758 16 74 12
Opponents 162 2,387 14.7 91t 20

Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Konz, Ken 4 123 30.8 46t 1
Paul, Don 4 80 20 36 0
Wren, Junior 3 36 12 29 0
Freeman, Bob 3 21 7 19 0
Lahr, Warren 1 25 25 25 0
Browns 16 285 17.8 46t 1
Opponents 14 134 9.6 31 0

Opponents
Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Deschaine, Dick 50 2,063 41.3 0 1 63 0
Wren, Junior 1 38 38 0 0 38 0
Browns 51 2,101 41.2 0 1 63 0
55 2,349 42.7 0 1 63 0

Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
Mitchell, Bobby 14 0 165 11.8 68t 1
Konz, Ken 18 0 143 7.9 38 0
Shofner, Jim 4 0 10 2.5 10 0
Paul, Don 2 0 0 0 0 0
Wren, Junior 1 0 0 0 0 0
Browns 39 0 318 8.2 68t 1
Opponents 38 0 95 2.5 23 0

Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Mitchell, Bobby 18 454 25.2 98t 1
Bolden, Leroy 14 362 25.9 102t 1
Brown, Jim 3 74 24.7 35 0
Carpenter, Lew 1 18 18 18 0
McClung, Willie 1 0 0 0 0
Browns 38 908 23.9 102t 2
Opponents 48 1,045 21.8 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
Plum, Milt 189 102 1,619 54 8.57 11 5.8 11 5.8 74 0/145 77.9
Ninowski, Jim 17 8 139 47.1 8.18 1 5.9 3 17.6 34 0/32 55.4
Browns 206 110 1,758 53.4 8.53 12 5.8 14 6.8 74 0/177 73.2
Opponents 312 162 2,387 51.9 7.65 20 6.4 16 5.1 91t 0/175 77.2