History

Year by Year Results: 1987

Of the five Browns teams that have gotten to the doorstep of the Super Bowl, the 1987 club was the one that had the most tools.

It was the most talented on both sides of the ball, which is why it made it to the AFC Championship Game for the second straight time, losing once more to the Denver Broncos, 38-33 in a game known simply as The Fumble because of Earnest Byner's pivotal cough up late in the contest. Denver was thumped again in the Super Bowl, falling 42-10 to the Washington Redskins.

The Browns survived a month-long players' strike to go 10-5 (every team lost one game) and win the Central Division crown for the third straight year, finishing a game in front of the wild card-qualifying Houston Oilers (9-6). Even the Browns' replacement players were good, going 2-1 in the three games during the strike.

Four of the Browns' five losses were to playoff clubs. They fell 15-10 to the Oilers during the strike, 28-21 in the opener to a New Orleans Saints team that finished 12-3 and made the playoffs for the first time in its history, 9-7 to the AFC East champion Indianapolis Colts, whom they later defeated 38-21 in the divisional playoffs, and 38-24 on Sunday Night Football to the NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers, who finished with a league-best 13-2 record.

The loss to the Colts and 49ers came in back-to-back weeks, which represented the only real negative part of the season. The other defeat was by 27-24 in overtime to the San Diego Chargers.

The Browns thrashed the Oilers 40-7 in the return match later in the year after the strike ended and the regular players had returned. That was the Browns' most complete performance of the season, and represents the progress the 1987 Browns made over '86.

They didn't have nearly as many close games in 1987 as they had had the previous year. Instead, when they won - which was obviously often - they did so by decided margins. That's evidenced by the fact the Browns outscored their foes in the second and third quarters by a combined count of 266-110.

As good as quarterback Bernie Kosar had been in 1986, he was even better - much better - in '87, throwing for 22 touchdowns with just nine interceptions for a 95.4 passing rating. Kosar was able to spread the ball around. Six Browns had 20 or more receptions, led by running back Earnest Byner's 52.

What Byner lacked in rushing as the emphasis of the offense went to the pass, thus limiting him to just 432 yards, he more than made up for in the aerial game.

Webster Slaughter had seven TD catches, while fellow wide receiver Brian Brennan added six.

Kevin Mack led in rushing with 735 yards. Defensively, the Browns faltered in the regular season only against the 49ers, and that's no shame, since San Francisco had the top offense in the league and was making a lot of defenses look bad.

They also faltered against the Broncos in the conference title game, keeping them on the doorstep of the Super Bowl instead of being able to finally walk through the door.

Steve King,
Staff Writer

Year Results
Preseason Results
National Football League: 3-1
St. Louis Cardinals (78,650) 31-16
at New York Giants (41,008) 10-24
at Atlanta Falcons (35,960) 23-3
Green Bay Packers at Milwaukee (37,707) (OT) 30-24
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 10 5 0 .667 1 1 0 .500 11 6 0 .647
Postseason Results
Divisional Playoff Game
Date Opponent Result Score
1/9 Indianapolis Colts Win 38-21
Conference Championship Game
Date Opponent Result Score
1/17 at Denver Broncos Loss 33-38
Date Result Opponent Att.
9/13 L21-28 at New Orleans Saints 59,900
9/20 W34-10 Pittsburgh Steelers 79,543
10/4 W20-10 at New England Patriots 14,830
10/11 L10-15 Houston Oilers 38,927
10/18 W34-0 at Cincinnati Bengals 40,179
10/26 W30-17 Los Angeles Rams 76,933
11/1 L24-27 at San Diego Chargers (OT) 55,381
11/8 W38-3 Atlanta Falcons 71,135
11/15 W27-21 Buffalo Bills 78,409
11/22 W40-7 at Houston Oilers 51,161
11/29 L24-38 at San Francisco 49ers 60,248
12/6 L7-9 Indianapolis Colts 70,661
12/13 W38-24 Cincinnati Bengals 77,331
12/20 W24-17 at Los Angeles Raiders 40,275
12/26 W19-13 at Pittsburgh Steelers 56,394
AFC Playoffs
1/9 W38-21 Indianapolis Colts 78,586
AFC Championship
1/17 L33-38 at Denver Broncos 75,993
Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 49 160 106 75 0 --- 390
Opponents 41 56 54 85 3 --- 239
Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 310 251
Rushing 110 86
Passing 171 134
Penalty 29 31
3rd Down: Made/Att 86/204 72/204
3rd Down Pct. 42.20% 35.30%
4th Down: Made/Att 5/11 6/14
4th Down Pct. 45.50% 42.90%
Total Net Yards 5,200 4,269
Avg. Per Game 346.7 284.6
Total Plays 985 902
Avg. Per Play 5.3 4.7
Net Yards Rushing 1,745 1,433
Avg. Per Game 116.3 95.5
Total Rushes 474 401
Net Yards Passing 3,455 2,836
Avg. Per Game 230.3 189.1
Sacked/Yards Lost 29/170 34/257
Gross Yards 3,625 3,093
Attempts/Completions 482/291 467/246
Completion Pct. 60.40% 52.70%
Had Intercepted 12 23
Punts/Avg. 57/37.1 79/38.4
Net Punting Avg. 57/35.4 79/32.3
Penalties/Yards Lost 100/856 120/1,013
Fumbles/Ball Lost 33/17 25/13
Touchdowns 47 26
Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Jaeger, Jeff 0 0 0 0 33/34 0 0 14/22 0 75
Byner, Earnest 8 2 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 60
Slaughter, Webster 0 7 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 42
Brennan, Brian 0 6 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 36
Mack, Kevin 5 1 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 36
Browns 16 27 0 4 45/47 0 0 21/31 0 390
Opponents 7 15 4 0 26/26 0 0 17/25 3 239
Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Mack, Kevin 201 735 3.7 22t 5
Byner, Earnest 105 432 4.1 21 8
Mason, Larry 56 207 3.7 22 2
Everett, Major 34 95 2.8 16 0
Manoa, Tim 23 116 5 35 0
Browns 474 1,745 3.7 35 16
Opponents 401 1,433 3.6 27t 7
Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Byner, Earnest 52 552 10.6 37 2
Slaughter, Webster 47 806 17.1 54t 7
Brennan, Brian 43 607 14.1 53t 6
Newsome, Ozzie 34 375 11 25 0
Mack, Kevin 32 223 7 17 1
Browns 291 3,625 12.5 54t 27
Opponents 246 3,093 12.6 83t 15
Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Wright, Felix 4 152 38 68 1
Minnifield, Frank 4 24 6 27 0
Matthews, Clay 3 62 20.7 36 1
Dixon, Hanford 3 5 1.7 6 0
Rockins, Chris 2 25 12.5 15 0
Browns 23 366 15.9 68 2
Opponents 12 173 14.4 48t 2
Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Gossett, Jeff 19 779 41 3 4 55 0
Winslow, George 18 616 34.2 5 2 45 0
Walters, Dale 11 400 36.4 2 1 56 0
Johnson, Lee 9 317 35.2 3 1 66 0
Browns 57 2,112 37.1 13 8 66 0
Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
McNeil, Gerald 34 9 386 11.4 40 0
Wilson, Troy 10 3 101 10.1 17 0
Browns 44 12 487 11.1 40 0
Opponents 16 10 93 5.8 21 0
Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Young, Glen 18 412 22.9 44 0
McNeil, Gerald 11 205 18.6 33 0
Fontenot, Herman 9 130 14.4 24 0
Tinsley, Keith 2 26 13 13 0
Manoa, Tim 2 14 7 13 0
Browns 48 841 17.5 44 0
Opponents 72 1,343 18.7 39 0
Field Goals
1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ Tot
Jaeger, Jeff 0/0 6/6 3/6 5/9 0/1 14/22
Bahr, Matt 0/0 2/2 2/3 0/0 0/0 4/5
Franco, Brian 0/0 3/3 0/1 0/0 0/0 3/4
Browns 0/0 11/11 5/10 5/9 0/1 21/31
Opponents 0/0 7/8 7/10 3/6 0/1 17/25
Passing
Att Cmp Yds Pct Av/At TD Td% Int Int% LG Tkld Rating
Kosar, Bernie 389 241 3,033 62 7.8 22 5.7 9 2.3 54t 22/129 95.4
Christensen, Jeff 58 24 297 41.4 5.12 1 1.7 3 5.2 34 5/37 42.1
Danielson, Gary 33 25 281 75.8 8.52 4 12.1 0 0 23 2/4 140.3
Fontenot, Herman 1 1 14 100 14 0 0 0 0 14 0/0 118.8
Jaeger, Jeff 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 39.6
Browns 482 291 3,625 60.4 7.52 27 5.6 12 2.5 54t 29/170 92
Opponents 467 246 3,093 52.7 6.62 15 3.2 23 4.9 83t 34/257 63.8