History

Year by Year Results: 1988

In some ways, 1988 was about as disastrous of a season as the Browns have ever had.

But in other respects, it was one of the best.

It all just depends on how you look at things.

The 1988 Browns had more injuries at quarterback than they've had not just in one year, but in any group of five years combined in their history.

Get this: Bernie Kosar went down twice. Gary Danielson, Mike Pagel and Don Strock, who was coaxed out of retirement and signed on a golf course by the desperate Browns, each went down once.

By the end, the Browns were about to the point where they would begin checking on the status of Brian Sipe, Bill Nelsen, Frank Ryan and Otto Graham.

Losing that many players at any position would be devastating for any team. But losing that many players at quarterback, the most important position on either side of the ball, is the ultimate death knell.

The Browns were so good at all of the other positions, however, that they managed to overcome those problems and finish 10-6, good enough for second place in the AFC Central, two games behind the Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) -- and, more importantly, good enough to earn them a wild-card playoff berth.

They punched their ticket to the postseason in dramatic fashion, beating the Houston Oilers 28-23 at Cleveland in the regular-season finale after trailing 23-7 in the third quarter and appearing to be hopelessly out of it.

The fact the Browns returned six days later to lose 24-23 to the Oilers - again at Cleveland Stadium - in the wild-card playoffs, is almost inconsequential in the big picture. The tremendous accomplishments of that regular season were already cast in concrete.

What is sad, though, is that Marty Schottenheimer, despite doing unquestionably his best job as a head coach in Cleveland, was fired three days after the season ended.

Kosar got hurt for the first time in the season-opening 6-3 win at Kansas City, and his absence caused the Browns, picked by many to make it to the Super Bowl after losing to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game in heartbreaking fashion the previous two seasons, to start a lackluster 3-3.

Then came a three-game winning steak in which the Browns played their best - and most consistent - football of the season. They manhandled eventual NFC East champion Philadelphia 19-3, turned back the Super Bowl-bound Bengals 23-16 and handed a 29-21 loss to a Cardinals team that was all revved up about its first year in Phoenix after moving from St. Louis.

Another three-game winning streak later in the year also helped immensely. Included in that was a 17-13 road decision over the defending Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins. Despite the revolving-door situation at quarterback, the Browns passed for nearly 3,700 yards and 19 touchdowns with just 17 interceptions.

To further illustrate just how much of a wacky season it was, Earnest Byner led the team in rushing yards (576) and receptions (59), yet was traded to Washington in the offseason for running back Mike Oliphant.

Go figure.

But you can't, because 1988 was unbelievable.

Steve King,
Staff Writer

Year Results
Preseason Results
National Football League: 3-1
Detroit Lions (78,065) 13-10
at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (50,074) 23-3
New York Jets at Montreal (39,112) 7-11
New York Giants (71,129) 17-13
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 10 6 0 .625 0 1 0 .000 10 7 0 .588
Postseason Results
Wild Card Playoff Game
Date Opponent Result Score
12/24 Houston Oilers Loss 23-24
Date Result Opponent Att.
9/4 W6-3 at Kansas City Chiefs 55,654
9/11 L3-23 New York Jets 74,434
9/19 W23-17 Indianapolis Colts 75,748
9/25 L17-24 at Cincinnati Bengals 54,943
10/2 W23-9 at Pittsburgh Steelers 56,410
10/9 L10-16 Seattle Seahawks 78,605
10/16 W19-3 Philadelphia Eagles 78,787
10/23 W29-21 at Phoenix Cardinals 61,261
10/30 W23-16 Cincinnati Bengals 79,147
11/7 L17-24 at Houston Oilers 51,467
11/13 L7-30 at Denver Broncos 75,806
11/20 W27-7 Pittsburgh Steelers 77,131
11/27 W17-13 at Washington Redskins 51,604
12/4 W24-21 Dallas Cowboys 77,683
12/12 L31-38 at Miami Dolphins 61,884
12/18 W28-23 Houston Oilers 74,610
AFC Wild Card
12/24 L23-24 Houston Oilers 74,977
Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 46 81 63 114 0 --- 304
Opponents 46 137 44 61 0 --- 288
Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 294 301
Rushing 93 114
Passing 177 162
Penalty 24 25
3rd Down: Made/Att 92/213 67/197
3rd Down Pct. 43.20% 34.00%
4th Down: Made/Att 4/15 8/17
4th Down Pct. 26.70% 47.10%
Total Net Yards 5,011 4,767
Avg. Per Game 313.2 297.9
Total Plays 1,013 1,009
Avg. Per Play 4.9 4.7
Net Yards Rushing 1,575 1,920
Avg. Per Game 98.4 120
Total Rushes 440 498
Net Yards Passing 3,436 2,847
Avg. Per Game 214.8 177.9
Sacked/Yards Lost 36/250 37/255
Gross Yards 3,686 3,102
Attempts/Completions 537/313 474/245
Completion Pct. 58.30% 51.70%
Had Intercepted 17 20
Punts/Avg. 67/38.5 69/39.4
Net Punting Avg. 67/33.9 69/34.7
Penalties/Yards Lost 110/875 100/789
Fumbles/Ball Lost 32/16 23/11
Touchdowns 33 30
Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Bahr, Matt 0 0 0 0 32/33 0 0 24/29 0 104
Langhorne, Reggie 1 7 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 48
Byner, Earnest 3 2 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 30
Slaughter, Webster 0 3 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 18
Mack, Kevin 3 0 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 18
Browns 10 19 2 2 32/33 0 0 24/29 1 304
Opponents 13 13 4 0 30/30 0 0 26/34 0 288
Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Byner, Earnest 157 576 3.7 27t 3
Mack, Kevin 123 485 3.9 65 3
Manoa, Tim 99 389 3.9 34 2
Fontenot, Herman 28 87 3.1 17 0
Kosar, Bernie 12 -1 -0.1 13 1
Browns 440 1,575 3.6 65 10
Opponents 498 1,920 3.9 41t 13
Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Byner, Earnest 59 576 9.8 39t 2
Langhorne, Reggie 57 780 13.7 77t 7
Brennan, Brian 46 579 12.6 33 1
Newsome, Ozzie 35 343 9.8 28 2
Slaughter, Webster 30 462 15.4 41 3
Browns 313 3,686 11.8 77t 19
Opponents 245 3,102 12.7 54 13
Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Wright, Felix 5 126 25.2 53 0
Minnifield, Frank 4 16 4 13 0
Washington, Brian 3 104 34.7 75t 1
Johnson, Mike 2 36 18 31 0
Dixon, Hanford 2 24 12 24 0
Browns 20 319 15.9 75t 1
Opponents 17 190 11.2 36t 2
Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Runager, Max 48 1,935 40.3 13 2 52 0
Johnson, Lee 17 643 37.8 6 1 61 0
Team, Stat 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
Browns 67 2,578 38.5 19 3 61 2
Opponents 69 2,722 39.4 17 8 62 2
Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
McNeil, Gerald 38 6 315 8.3 32 0
Weathers, Clarence 2 0 10 5 9 0
Browns 40 6 325 8.1 32 0
Opponents 32 11 304 9.5 73t 1
Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Young, Glen 29 635 21.9 34 0
Fontenot, Herman 21 435 20.7 84 0
McNeil, Gerald 2 38 19 22 0
Braggs, Stephen 1 27 27 27 0
Perry, Michael Dean 1 13 13 13 0
Browns 55 1,159 21.1 84 0
Opponents 58 973 16.8 29 0
Field Goals
1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ Tot
Bahr, Matt 1/1 10/12 8/10 5/6 0/0 24/29
Browns 1/1 10/12 8/10 5/6 0/0 24/29
Opponents 2/2 7/7 12/15 5/7 0/3 26/34
Passing
Att Cmp Yds Pct Av/At th th% Int Int% LG Tkld Rating
Kosar, Bernie 259 156 1,890 60.2 7.3 10 3.9 7 2.7 77t 25/172 84.3
Pagel, Mike 134 71 736 53 5.49 3 2.2 4 3 28 1/9 64.1
Strock, Don 91 55 736 60.4 8.09 6 6.6 5 5.5 41 4/26 85.2
Danielson, Gary 52 31 324 59.6 6.23 0 0 1 1.9 26 6/43 69.7
Fontenot, Herman 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 39.6
Browns 537 313 3,686 58.3 6.86 19 3.5 17 3.2 77t 36/250 77.9
Opponents 474 245 3,102 51.7 6.54 13 2.7 20 4.2 54 37/255 64