History

Year by Year Results: 1982

Much was made at the time of the 1985 Browns winning the AFC Central title with just an 8-8 record.

But what many people probably don't remember is that the Browns' last playoff team before the one in 1985 did that club one better -- or in this case, one worse.

The 1982 Browns, despite finishing a game below .500 at 4-5, managed to get into the postseason. It marked the first -- and only -- time in Browns history that a team made the playoffs with a losing record.

That oddity seems to fit, for 1982 was definitely a one-of-a-kind season.

Seven of the scheduled 16 regular-season games were lost due to a players' strike that began three weeks into the year and lasted nearly two months. Because of that and the subsequent inability to balance out the schedule enough to make division races possible, the AFC and NFC dissolved division play and combined all of their respective teams into two large groupings. At the end of the season, the eight top teams in each conference qualified for what was called the Super Bowl Tournament.

The teams were seeded one through eight in each conference based on their record, and the Browns, by virtue of tie-breakers, edged out the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks, also both 4-5, for the No. 8 spot in the AFC.

Their reward for that was a place opposite the top-seeded Los Angeles Raiders (8-1) in a first-round playoff game. The Raiders, with former Browns Lyle Alzado and Greg Pruitt helping to lead the way, broke a 10-10 second quarter tie and scored 17 unanswered points to win 27-10 in the Coliseum and eliminate Cleveland from the postseason for the second straight time.

The Raiders, then based in Oakland, also held off the Browns 14-12 in the famous Red Right 88 game in the 1980 AFC divisional playoffs.

But that 1982 contest, because of the strangeness of the season, is almost a footnote to everything else that happened.

The 1982 Browns were kind of an in-between bunch -- the last vestige of the Kardiac Kids of 1980 before the club began to make the transformation to the Bernie Kosar years in the last half of the decade. Although quarterback Brian Sipe was still the kingpin of this era, he lost his starting job to third-year pro Paul McDonald late in the 1982 season after having thrown twice as many interceptions -- eight -- as touchdown passes (four).

To be sure, McDonald wasn't much better, with eight picks and five scoring throws, but Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano, in trying to find a spark for his struggling team, especially the sputtering offense, surprisingly -- and probably reluctantly as well, since he was a big Sipe fan -- started the Southern Cal product in a key late-season home game against Pittsburgh. McDonald was good enough to help engineer a 10-9 win -- the biggest of the year for club, thus cementing his place as the starter for the rest of the year.

Although Sipe would re-gain his job in the 1983 training camp, his last with the Browns before jumping to Donald Trump's New Jersey Generals of the USFL the following year, he was on the downside of his career, as were most of the rest of the Kardiac Kids.

After floundering in 1981 with a 5-11 record, the Browns came out in '82 trying to recapture the magic they had had in that memorable 1980 campaign, when they went 11-5 and claimed the AFC Central crown for the first time in nine years. They seemed to be on track to doing just that, finishing the 1982 preseason with a 4-0 mark before winning at Seattle 21-7 in the regular-season opener.

Even though they suffered a last-second 24-21 loss the next week to a Philadelphia Eagles club that had been to the Super Bowl just two years before, the Browns were still feeling very positive about themselves. But that was the last game before the strike.

That they did not play for two months, along with the fact their players were very active and involved during the strike, caused the Browns to lose their focus -- and that momentum. They returned to the field in November a shadow of their former selves, edging the so-so New England Patriots 10-7 the first time out and then losing three straight games -- to the Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals - by a combined 84-37 score.

They never really recovered from that, although the win over the Steelers pumped some life back into the Browns temporarily and helped catapult them into the playoffs, where their stay was short-lived.

Steve King,
Staff Writer

Year Results
Preseason Results
National Football League: 4-0
at Detroit Lions (54,275) 17-16
Los Angeles Rams (60,794) 26-23
at New Orleans Saints (55,689) 20-17
at Los Angeles Raiders (38,840) 27-10
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 4 5 0 .444 0 1 0 .000 4 6 0 .400
Postseason Results
Divisional Playoff Game
Date Opponent Result Score
1/8 at Los Angeles Raiders Loss 10-27
Date Result Opponent Att.
9/12 W21-7 at Seattle Seahawks 55,907
9/19 L21-24 Philadelphia Eagles 78,830
11/21 W10-7 New England Patriots 51,281
11/25 L14-31 at Dallas Cowboys 46,267
12/5 L13-30 San Diego Chargers 54,064
12/12 L10-23 at Cincinnati Bengals 54,305
12/19 W10-9 Pittsburgh Steelers 67,139
12/26 W20-14 at Houston Oilers 36,559
1/2 L21-37 at Pittsburgh Steelers 52,312
Playoff
1/8 L10-27 at Los Angeles Raiders 56,555
Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 20 34 24 62 0 --- 140
Opponents 28 60 38 56 0 --- 182
Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 176 189
Rushing 64 82
Passing 96 94
Penalty 16 13
3rd Down: Made/Att 43/127 52/106
3rd Down Pct. 33.90% 49.10%
4th Down: Made/Att 5/6 3/8
4th Down Pct. 83.30% 37.50%
Total Net Yards 2,708 3,141
Avg. Per Game 300.9 349
Total Plays 616 594
Avg. Per Play 4.4 5.3
Net Yards Rushing 873 1,292
Avg. Per Game 97 143.6
Total Rushes 256 306
Net Yards Passing 1,845 1,822
Avg. Per Game 205 202.4
Sacked/Yards Lost 26/212 22/145
Gross Yards 2,057 1,967
Attempts/Completions 334/174 266/144
Completion Pct. 52.10% 54.10%
Had Intercepted 16 17
Punts/Avg. 48/39.3 40/38.8
Net Punting Avg. 48/34.8 40/35.5
Penalties/Yards Lost 59/461 57/436
Fumbles/Ball Lost 15/8 20/11
Touchdowns 17 23
Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Bahr, Matt 0 0 0 0 17/17 0 0 7/15 0 38
Feacher, Ricky 0 3 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 18
Newsome, Ozzie 0 3 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 18
Pruitt, Mike 3 0 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 18
White, Charles 3 0 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 18
Browns 7 9 0 1 17/17 0 0 7/16 0 140
Opponents 13 9 1 0 21/23 0 0 7/11 1 182
Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Pruitt, Mike 143 516 3.6 17 3
White, Charles 69 259 3.8 18t 3
Miller, Cleo 16 61 3.8 17 0
Sipe, Brian 13 44 3.4 12 0
McDonald, Paul 7 -3 -0.4 10 0
Browns 256 883 3.4 18t 7
Opponents 306 1,292 4.2 34 13
Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Newsome, Ozzie 49 633 12.9 54 3
White, Charles 34 283 8.3 36 0
Feacher, Ricky 28 408 14.6 46 3
Logan, Dave 23 346 15 56t 2
Pruitt, Mike 22 140 6.4 13 0
Browns 174 2,057 11.8 56t 9
Opponents 144 1,967 13.7 60 9
Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Dixon, Hanford 4 22 5.5 22 0
Johnson, Lawrence 4 17 4.3 17 0
Scott, Clarence 3 29 9.7 24 0
Banks, Chip 1 14 14 14 0
Burrell, Clinton 1 14 14 14t 1
Browns 17 102 6 24 1
Opponents 16 164 10.3 37 0
Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Cox, Steve 48 1,887 39.3 11 6 52 1
Browns 48 1,887 39.3 11 6 52 1
Opponents 40 1,552 38.8 9 2 54 0
Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
Walker, Dwight 19 6 101 5.3 14 0
Hall, Dino 4 0 33 8.3 10 0
Browns 23 6 134 5.8 14 0
Opponents 30 2 216 7.2 24 0
Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Hall, Dino 22 430 19.5 32 0
Walker, Dwight 13 295 22.7 36 0
Nicolas, Scott 2 16 8 10 0
Green, David 1 13 13 13 0
Browns 38 754 19.8 36 0
Opponents 23 424 18.4 30 0
Field Goals
1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ Tot
Bahr, Matt 1/1 3/4 1/3 2/7 0/0 7/15
Cox, Steve 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/1 0/1
Browns 1/1 3/4 1/3 2/7 0/1 7/16
Opponents 0/0 2/2 2/4 3/4 0/1 7/11
Passing
Att Cmp Yds Pct Av/At TD Td% Int Int% LG Tkld Rating
Sipe, Brian 185 101 1,064 54.6 5.75 4 2.2 8 4.3 40t 13/117 60.7
McDonald, Paul 149 73 993 49 6.66 5 3.4 8 5.4 56t 13/95 59.5
Browns 334 174 2,057 52.1 6.16 9 2.7 16 4.8 56t 26/212 60.2
Opponents 266 144 1,967 54.1 7.39 9 3.4 17 6.4 60 22/145 62.7