History

History: 1965


Team Photo

When they returned to Cleveland in 2004 for the 40th anniversary celebration of their NFL title, members of the 1964 Browns said something surprising.

They pointed out they thought their 1965 team was even better than the one in '64.

That's a debatable point, obviously, but one thing is for sure: There's considerable evidence to substantiate the players' claim.

With an NFL-best 11-3 mark, the 1965 club finished just a shade better than the '64 team (10-3-1). And, like they had in 1964, the Browns went back to the NFL Championship Game. Only this time, they lost 23-12 to the Green Bay Packers in the last title contest held before the advent of the Super Bowl.

It would be the first of three straight NFL crowns for the Packers, who went on after the later two titles to capture victories in the first two Super Bowls as well.

With his partner at wide receiver, Paul Warfield, the 1964 rookie sensation, missing almost all of the season with a broken collarbone, Gary Collins stepped up and led the Browns with 10 touchdown receptions, just less than half of the team's total of 23.

Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, in what would turn out to be his final year before his unexpected retirement in the offseason, rushed for 1,544 yards, 98 more than the year before, and exceeded his TD total by 10 by scoring 17 times.

The Browns had a stretch in which they won nine of 10 games, something the 1964 team didn't come close to matching. And whereas the 1964 team needed to capture its regular-season finale to clinch the Eastern Conference title, the '65 Browns claimed the championship with several weeks left, which explains why they were clobbered 42-7 in the next-to-last game by a Los Angeles Rams team that finished last in the Western Conference at 4-10. The Browns rested a lot of their starters and were just trying to get out of that game with no injuries. They went through the motions.

Thus, the Browns could have very easily been 12-2. However, there was no such explanation for the Browns' only other one-sided loss, a 49-13 home decision to the St. Louis Cardinals. Although the Cards finished tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for next-to-last place in the East at 5-9, they were arguably the Browns' fiercest rival throughout the entire 1960s.

Other than those two games, though, the Browns just kept piling up the wins. They were challenged at times, winning six games by eight points or less.

Maybe the most satisfying victory was a 27-24 decision at St. Louis in the regular-season finale. Although it didn't really mean anything in the standings, it did allow the Browns to extract a bit of revenge for the 36-point the loss Cards had handed them.

Quarterback Frank Ryan, who had thrown 25 TD passes in both 1963 and '64, had just 18 in 1965 with 13 interceptions. His yardage was down considerably, too, to 1,751, as was his rating (75.3).

An interesting side note from the 1965 season occurred during the 27-17 home loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the only blemish in that aforementioned nine-victories-in-10-games stretch. Parts of the movie, "The Fortune Cookie," starring Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, were shot during that game.

The Browns' fortunes, though better in many respects than in 1964, still didn't net them a league title.

Steve King,
Staff Writer


YEAR RESULTS
Preseason Results
National Football League: 5-1
College All-Stars (68,000) 24-16
at San Francisco 49ers (22,000) 37-21
at Los Angeles Rams (29,508) 21-19
at Detroit Lions (28,803) 28-14
Green Bay Packers (83,118) 14-30
Pittsburgh Steelers at Akron (23,162) 28-16
 
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 11 3 0 .786 0 1 0 .000 11 4 0 .733
 
Postseason Results
NFL Championship Game
Date Opponent Result Score
1/02 at Green Bay Packers Loss 12-23
 

Date Result Opponent Att.
9/19 W 17-7 at Washington Redskins 48,208
9/26 L 13-49 St. Louis Cardinals 80,161
10/3 W 35-17 at Philadelphia Eagles 60,759
10/9 W 24-19 Pittsburgh Steelers 80,187
10/17 W 23-17 Dallas Cowboys 80,432
10/24 W 38-14 at New York Giants 62,864
10/31 L 17-27 Minnesota Vikings 83,505
11/7 W 38-34 Philadelphia Eagles 72,807
11/14 W 34-21 New York Giants 82,426
11/21 W 24-17 at Dallas Cowboys 76,251
11/28 W 42-21 at Pittsburgh Steelers 42,757
12/5 W 24-16 Washington Redskins 77,765
12/12 L 7-42 at Los Angeles Rams 49,048
12/19 W 27-24 at St. Louis Cardinals 29,348
NFL Championship
1/2 L 12-23 at Green Bay Packers 50,852

Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 60 114 85 104 0 --- 363
Opponents 55 112 68 90 0 --- 325

Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 257 265
Rushing 133 104
Passing 97 135
Penalty 27 26
Total Net Yards 4,398 4,712
Avg. Per Game 314.1 336.6
Total Plays 836 869
Avg. Per Play 5.3 5.4
Net Yards Rushing 2,331 1,866
Avg. Per Game 166.5 133.3
Total Rushes 476 412
Net Yards Passing 2,067 2,846
Avg. Per Game 147.6 203.3
Sacked/Yards Lost 31/272 38/307
Gross Yards 2,339 3,153
Attempts/Completions 329/160 419/204
Completion Pct. 48.60% 48.70%
Had Intercepted 16 24
Punts/Avg. 69/45.7 69/41.1
Net Punting Avg. 69/41.9 69/34.9
Penalties/Yards Lost 84/976 62/586
Fumbles/Ball Lost 20/9 14/9
Touchdowns 45 43
Rushing 19 11
Passing 23 31
Returns 3 1

Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Brown, Jim 17 4 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 126
Groza, Lou 0 0 0 0 45/45 0 0 16/25 0 93
Collins, Gary 0 10 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 60
Green, Ernie 2 2 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 24
Roberts, Walter 0 4 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 24
Browns 19 23 2 1 45/45 0 0 16/25 0 363
Opponents 11 31 1 0 40/42 0 0 9/18 0 325

Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Brown, Jim 289 1,544 5.3 67 17
Green, Ernie 111 436 3.9 41 2
Kelly, Leroy 37 139 3.8 16 0
Ryan, Frank 19 72 3.8 18 0
Scales, Charley 11 59 5.4 20 0
Browns 476 2,331 4.9 67 19
Opponents 412 1,866 4.5 54t 11

Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Brown, Jim 289 1,544 5.3 67 17
Green, Ernie 111 436 3.9 41 2
Kelly, Leroy 37 139 3.8 16 0
Ryan, Frank 19 72 3.8 18 0
Scales, Charley 11 59 5.4 20 0
Browns 476 2,331 4.9 67 19
Opponents 412 1,866 4.5 54t 11

Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Benz, Larry 5 78 15.6 31 0
Fichtner, Ross 4 98 24.5 48 1
Parrish, Bernie 4 45 11.3 35 0
Costello, Vince 3 33 11 23 0
Houston, Jim 2 32 16 28 0
Browns 24 349 14.5 48 1
Opponents 16 275 17.2 96t 1

Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Collins, Gary 65 3,035 46.7 0 10 71 0
Franklin, Bobby 4 118 29.5 0 0 31 0
Browns 69 3,153 45.7 0 10 71 0
Opponents 69 2,838 41.1 0 4 69 0

Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
Kelly, Leroy 17 6 265 15.6 67t 2
Roberts, Walter 18 13 162 9 51 0
Scales, Charley 1 0 0 0 0 0
Browns 36 19 427 11.9 67t 2
Opponents 36 7 269 7.5 67 0

Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Kelly, Leroy 24 621 25.9 51 0
Roberts, Walter 18 493 27.4 88 0
Scales, Charley 4 88 22 24 0
Howell, Mike 2 3 1.5 3 0
Hutchinson, Tom 2 0 0 0 0
Browns 53 1,209 22.8 88 0
Opponents 58 1,334 23 65 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
Ryan, Frank 243 119 1,751 49 7.21 18 7.4 13 5.3 80t 23/202 75.3
Ninowski, Jim 83 40 549 48.2 6.61 4 4.8 3 3.6 32 8/70 70.8
Brown, Jim 2 1 39 50 19.5 1 50 0 0 39t 0/0 135.4
Groza, Lou 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 39.6
Browns 329 160 2,339 48.6 7.11 23 7 16 4.9 80t 31/272 75.3