History

History: 1959


Team Photo

The fact the Browns finished just 7-5 in 1959 certainly didn't set well with Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Paul Brown.

After all, it was his second-worst record with the Browns to that time. And it was good only for a second-place tie in the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia Eagles, a full three games behind the champion New York Giants.

But when Brown looked at the season more closely, he no doubt quickly realized things could have turned out better -- much, much better -- for the Browns had they just been able to win some of those games.

For instance, the Browns lost 10-6 to the Giants in Week 3 and then, in back-to-back games near the end of the year, dropped 21-20 decisions to both the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers.

Three defeats by just six points. Ouch.

And those last two defeats were season-wreckers. The Browns entered those games in good shape, owning a five-game winning streak and a 6-2 mark after starting just 1-2.

The Browns were an offensive juggernaut in the last four of those five victories. Following a 17-7 win over the Cardinals, who were in their last year in Chicago before moving to St. Louis, the Browns beat the Washington Redskins 34-7, the defending NFL champion Baltimore Colts (who would win it again in 1959) 38-31, the Eagles 28-7 and the Redskins again 31-17.

The two one-point losses to the Steelers -- who swept the season series from Cleveland for the first time after beating them 17-7 in the opener -- and the 49ers staggered the Browns, but then, in the next-to-last game of the year, the arch rival Giants delivered the knockout blow by recording their most lopsided victory ever over the Browns, 48-7.

It had been the Giants who, in 1958, denied the Browns a second straight trip to the NFL Championship Game by defeating them three times -- twice during the regular season to force a tie a first place, and then again in a special conference playoff game.

Only a 28-21 season-ending win over the Eagles kept the 1959 Browns from finishing with a .500 record (6-6).

Here's something noteworthy: For the 10th consecutive season, the Browns outscored their foes by a wide margin in the first quarter -- in this case, 65-17.

Those quick starts were no doubt made possible by the fact the Browns' strong legacy preceded them. Knowing it was the Browns they were playing, teams would be tentative and a little awe-struck at the beginning of the game, and Brown's clubs took full advantage by getting out to big leads.

Jim Brown was Jim Brown. The Hall of Fame running back rushed for 1,329 yards, leading the league for the third straight year, and 14 touchdowns.

But the biggest thing to come out of the season for the Browns was the emergence of Milt Plum as a solid quarterback. The Browns had been looking for a replacement for Otto Graham ever since the Hall of Famer retired - for the second time - following the 1955 season. They finally found him when Plum, a second-round draft pick in 1957, threw for 14 TDs with just six interceptions.

But in the end, it was simply the second in what would turn out to be a string of six straight seasons in which the Browns had decent to very good teams but never made the playoffs.

Steve King,
Staff Writer


YEAR RESULTS
Preseason Results
National Football League: 2-4
at Pittsburgh Steelers (27,432) 20-34
Detroit Lions at Akron (22,654) 3-9
at San Francisco 49ers (24,737) 14-17
at Los Angeles Rams (55,883) 27-24
at Detroit Lions (33,435) 28-31
Chicago Bears (25,316) 33-31
 
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 7 5 0 .853 0 0 0 .000 7 5 0 .853
 

Date Result Opponent Att.
9/26 L 7-17 at Pittsburgh Steelers 33,844
10/4 W 34-7 at Chicago Cardinals 19,935
10/11 L 6-10 New York Giants 65,534
10/18 W 17-7 Chicago Cardinals 46,422
10/25 W 34-7 Washington Redskins 42,732
11/1 W 38-31 at Baltimore Colts 57,557
11/8 W 28-7 Philadelphia Eagles 58,275
11/15 W 31-17 at Washington Redskins 32,266
11/22 L 20-21 Pittsburgh Steelers 68,563
11/29 L 20-21 San Francisco 49ers 56,854
12/6 L 4-48 at New York Giants 68,436
12/13 W 28-21 at Philadelphia Eagles 45,952

Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 65 72 44 89 0 --- 270
Opponents 17 94 65 38 0 --- 214

Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 234 205
Rushing 118 75
Passing 109 115
Penalty 7 15
Total Net Yards 4,015 3,764
Avg. Per Game 334.6 313.7
Total Plays 733 679
Avg. Per Play 5.5 5.5
Net Yards Rushing 2,149 1,422
Avg. Per Game 179.1 118.5
Total Rushes 457 360
Net Yards Passing 1,866 2,342
Avg. Per Game 155.5 195.2
Sacked/Yards Lost 0/167 0/115
Gross Yards 2,033 2,457
Attempts/Completions 276/159 319/168
Completion Pct. 57.60% 52.70%
Had Intercepted 9 18
Punts/Avg. 50/37.1 50/42.4
Net Punting Avg. 50/36.3 50/38.2
Penalties/Yards Lost 36/329 32/285
Fumbles/Ball Lost 5-Aug 20/12
Touchdowns 37 28
Rushing 20 9
Passing 14 17
Returns 3 2

Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Brown, Jim 14 0 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 84
Mitchell, Bobby 5 4 1 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 60
Groza, Lou 0 0 0 0 33/37 0 0 5/16 0 48
Renfro, Ray 0 6 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 36
Carpenter, Preston 0 2 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 12
Browns 20 14 1 2 33/37 0 0 5/16 0 270
Opponents 9 17 2 0 28/28 0 0 6/13 0 214

Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Brown, Jim 290 1,329 4.6 70t 14
Mitchell, Bobby 131 743 5.7 90t 5
Plum, Milt 21 20 1 17 1
Modzelewski, Ed 6 18 3 5 0
Bolden, Leroy 4 11 2.8 9 0
Browns 457 2,149 4.7 90t 20
Opponents 360 1,422 4 65 7

Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Howton, Billy 39 510 13.1 36t 1
Mitchell, Bobby 35 351 10 76t 4
Renfro, Ray 30 528 17.6 70t 6
Carpenter, Preston 24 372 15.5 43t 2
Brown, Jim 24 190 7.9 25 0
Browns 159 2,033 12.8 76t 14
Opponents 168 2,457 14.6 71 17

Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Parrish, Bernie 5 83 16.6 37t 1
Wren, Junior 5 39 7.8 22 0
Shofner, Jim 2 50 25 30 0
Noll, Chuck 2 5 2.5 5 0
Konz, Ken 1 35 35 21 0
Browns 18 242 13.4 37t 1
Opponents 9 139 15.4 32 1

Opponents
Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Wren, Junior 27 996 36.9 0 1 55 0
Shofner, Jim 23 860 37.4 0 1 48 0
Browns 50 1,856 37.1 0 2 55 0
50 2,121 42.4 0 5 62 0

Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
Mitchell, Bobby 17 0 177 10.4 78t 1
Konz, Ken 9 0 34 3.8 11 0
Browns 26 0 211 8.1 78t 1
Opponents 32 0 39 1.2 11 0

Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Mitchell, Bobby 11 236 21.5 31 0
Bolden, Leroy 9 170 18.9 38 0
Brown, Jim 4 88 22 29 0
Modzelewski, Ed 4 37 9.3 19 0
Noll, Chuck 1 20 20 20 0
Browns 29 551 19 38 0
Opponents 38 734 19.3 46 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 266 156 1,992 58.6 7.49 14 5.3 8 3 76t 0/157 87.2
Ninowski, Jim 10 3 41 30 4.1 0 0 1 10 20 0/10 4.6
Browns 276 159 2,033 57.6 7.37 14 5.1 9 3.3 76t 0/167 84.1
Opponents 319 168 2,457 52.7 7.7 17 5.3 18 5.6 71 0/115 72.3