History

History: 1967


Team Photo

The 1967 season was a bittersweet one for the Browns.

The sweet part was the fact they were back in the playoffs after a one-year absence. They went 9-5, the same as in 1966, but this time, it was good enough for them to get in as they won the Century Division championship in the first year of play after the NFL split the Eastern and Western conferences into two divisions each.

The division race wasn't even close, as the Browns finished two games ahead of the runnerup New York Giants (7-7), their old arch rival in the 1950s and early '60s.

But despite that, things sure didn't start out well for the Browns in 1967. They struggled offensively in their first two games, losing to the Dallas Cowboys (21-14) and Detroit Lions (31-14).

Then the Browns caught fire, winning four in a row and nine of their next 11 to breeze to the crown.

The only two stumbles for the Browns during that stretch were a 38-34 loss to the Giants at the Yankee Stadium and an embarrassing, record-setting 55-7 defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers, who were headed to their second straight Super Bowl title.

But in the big picture, that afternoon was an aberration, for otherwise, the Browns were pretty much able to come up with just what they needed to win games.

For example, when they had to have offense, such as in a 42-37 win over Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Sonny Jurgensen and the Washington Redskins, they got it. The Browns, who matched that point total in their first win of the year, a 42-7 decision over the New Orleans Saints in Week 3, were led against the Redskins by Leroy Kelly's 163 yards rushing.

When they needed defense, such as in a 14-10 win over the up-and-coming Minnesota Vikings the previous week, they got it. The Browns fell behind 10-0 in the first half and then shut out the Vikings the rest of the way. Their game-winning touchdown drive was set up by defensive tackle Jim Kanicki's forced fumble late in the game.

And when they needed to be consistent, they were, beating the St. Louis Cardinals twice by the same 20-16 score.

The second win over the Cardinals, at Busch Stadium in the next-to-last game of the regular season, clinched the division title for the Browns. The week before that, the Browns took a huge step toward the crown -- and avenged their earlier loss -- when they beat the Giants 24-14.

But the playoffs were a disaster for the Browns, and that's where the bitter part of the season comes in. The Cowboys, on their way to a second consecutive appearance - and a second consecutive excruciating loss to the Packers -- in the NFL Championship Game, blew out the Browns 52-14 in the Eastern Conference title contest. It wasn't even that close, as the Cowboys dominated every facet of the game from start to finish.

Then, to add even more disappointment for the Browns, they were bounced 30-6 by the Los Angeles Rams in something called the Playoff Bowl, a game in Miami between the second-place teams in each conference.

Kelly went over 1,000 yards rushing for the second straight time, getting 1,205 to go along with 11 TDs, while Ernie Green, now out of the shadow of the great Jim Brown, went over 700 yards for the second time in a row, getting 710.

Quarterback Frank Ryan, the architect of the 27-0 1964 NFL title game victory over the Baltimore Colts, played pretty well in his last full season as a starter. He had 20 TD passes and 16 interceptions. But Ryan, with his body, especially his shoulder, beat up, would give way to Bill Nelsen early the next year.

The devastating playoff loss to Dallas caused Browns head coach Blanton Collier to re-shape his team at other positions as well, as new players were brought in to replace some of the fading stars who had carried the club for years. For instance, this was the last season for Hall of Fame place kicker Lou Groza, who retired for the second time - this time for good - after making 11-of-23 field-goal tries.

Groza, the last member of the original Browns from the team's inception in 1946, would be followed in 1968 by another great kicker, Don Cockroft.

Steve King,
Staff Writer


YEAR RESULTS
Preseason Results
National Football League: 1-5
Philadelphia Eagles at Canton (17,500) 13-28
at San Francisco 49ers (27,482) 14-42
at Los Angeles Rams (36,942) 17-24
at Atlanta Falcons (52,240) 31-34
Green Bay Packers (84,236) 21-30
at Minnesota Vikings (40,012) 42-14
 
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 9 5 0 .643 0 1 0 .000 9 6 0 .600
 
Postseason Results
Conference Championship Game
Date Opponent Result Score
12/24 at Dallas Cowboys Loss 14-52
Playoff Bowl
Date Opponent Result Score
1/7 Los Angeles Rams Loss 6-30
 

Date Result Opponent Att.
9/17 L 14-21 Dallas Cowboys 81,039
9/24 L 14-31 at Detroit Lions 57,383
10/1 W 42-7 at New Orleans Saints 77,045
10/7 W 21-10 Pittsburgh Steelers 82,949
10/15 W 20-16 St. Louis Cardinals 77,813
10/22 W 24-0 Chicago Bears 83,183
10/29 L 34-38 at New York Giants 62,903
11/5 W 34-14 at Pittsburgh Steelers 47,131
11/12 L 7-55 at Green Bay Packers 50,074
11/19 W 14-10 Minnesota Vikings 68,431
11/26 W 42-37 Washington Redskins 72,798
12/3 W 24-14 New York Giants 78,594
12/10 W 20-16 at St. Louis Cardinals 47,782
12/17 L 24-28 at Philadelphia Eagles 60,658
Playoff
12/24 L 14-52 at Dallas Cowboys 70,786
Playoff Bowl
1/7 L 6-30 Los Angeles Rams 37,102

Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 93 83 72 86 0 --- 334
Opponents 55 101 66 75 0 --- 297

Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 238 281
Rushing 119 115
Passing 102 153
Penalty 17 13
Total Net Yards 4,316 4,848
Avg. Per Game 308.3 346.3
Total Plays 821 956
Avg. Per Play 5.3 5.1
Net Yards Rushing 2,139 1,767
Avg. Per Game 152.8 126.2
Total Rushes 444 459
Net Yards Passing 1,942 2,877
Avg. Per Game 138.7 205.5
Sacked/Yards Lost 44/372 44/354
Gross Yards 2,314 3,231
Attempts/Completions 333/160 454/250
Completion Pct. 48.00% 55.10%
Had Intercepted 18 22
Punts/Avg. 67/37.1 62/39.9
Net Punting Avg. 67/36.0 62/34.2
Penalties/Yards Lost 72/773 57/655
Fumbles/Ball Lost 24/17 29/14
Touchdowns 43 37
Rushing 15 15
Passing 22 19
Returns 6 3

Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Kelly, Leroy 11 2 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 78
Groza, Lou 0 0 0 0 43/43 0 0 11/23 0 76
Warfield, Paul 0 8 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 48
Collins, Gary 0 7 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 42
Green, Ernie 4 2 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 36
Browns 15 22 2 4 43/43 0 0 11/23 0 334
Opponents 15 19 3 0 36/37 0 0 13/25 0 297

Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Kelly, Leroy 235 1,205 5.1 42t 11
Green, Ernie 145 710 4.9 59t 4
Ryan, Frank 22 57 2.6 12 0
Conjar, Larry 20 78 3.9 16 0
Pietrosante, Nick 10 73 7.3 31 0
Browns 444 2,149 4.8 59t 15
Opponents 459 1,767 3.8 37 15

Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Green, Ernie 39 369 9.5 41t 2
Warfield, Paul 32 702 21.9 49t 8
Collins, Gary 32 500 15.6 33 7
Kelly, Leroy 20 282 14.1 48 2
Smith, Ralph 14 211 15.1 49t 1
Browns 160 2,314 14.5 49t 22
Opponents 250 3,231 12.9 60t 19

Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Fichtner, Ross 4 113 28.3 88 0
Barnes, Erich 4 47 11.8 40 0
Houston, Jim 3 97 32.3 79t 2
Howell, Mike 3 20 6.7 20 0
Brewer, Johnny 2 75 37.5 70t 1
Browns 22 375 17 88 3
Opponents 18 290 16.1 42 1

Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Collins, Gary 57 2,078 36.5 0 2 52 2
Kelly, Leroy 10 407 40.7 0 0 51 0
Browns 67 2,485 37.1 0 2 52 2
Opponents 62 2,475 39.9 0 2 57 0

Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
Davis, Ben 18 7 229 12.7 52t 1
Ward, Carl 6 3 62 10.3 24 0
Kelly, Leroy 9 4 59 6.6 32 0
Harraway, Charley 1 0 7 7 7 0
Youngblood, George 1 0 0 0 0 0
Browns 35 14 357 10.2 52t 1
Opponents 29 21 70 2.4 12 0

Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Davis, Ben 27 708 26.2 63 0
Ward, Carl 22 546 24.8 104t 1
Kelly, Leroy 5 131 26.2 32 0
Barney, Eppie 1 11 11 11 0
Browns 55 1,396 25.4 104t 1
Opponents 59 1,288 21.8 87t 2

Field Goals
1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ Tot
Groza, Lou 2/2 2/5 6/8 1/7 0/1 11/23
Browns 2/2 2/5 6/9 1/8 0/2 11/24
Opponents 2/2 5/6 2/5 4/9 0/3 13/25

Passing
Att Cmp Yds Pct Av/At TD Td% Int Int% LG Tkld Rating
Ryan, Frank 280 136 2,026 48.6 7.24 20 7.1 16 5.7 49t 38/318 72.7
Lane, Gary 43 21 254 48.8 5.91 2 4.7 1 2.3 23 4/30 73.2
Shiner, Dick 9 3 34 33.3 3.78 0 0 1 11.1 21 2/24 6
Kelly, Leroy 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 39.6
Browns 333 160 2,314 48 6.95 22 6.6 18 5.4 49t 44/372 70.6
Opponents 454 250 3,231 55.1 7.12 19 4.2 22 4.8 60t 44/354 71.4