History

Year by Year Results: 1990
Team Photo

Nothing lasts forever, and neither did the Browns' great run through the last half of the 1980s.

After five straight playoff appearances, four Central Division titles and three trips to the AFC Championship Game from 1985-89, compiling a regular-season record of 49-29-1, including 41-21-1 the last four years, in the process, the Browns came crashing down to earth in 1990.

Hard.

They finished 3-13, then a franchise-worst, and gave up 462 points, still the most in club history. They allowed 58 points in one game, in a 44-point loss to the Houston Oilers, which ties for the most in Browns annals. That ended a string of five contests in which the Browns surrendered at least 30 points an outing.

The offense had its issues, too, as the Browns were shut out three times in a season for the first time in history.

The season began with both great optimism and great pessimism. After having had such great success the previous five years, the Browns were looking to do it again. And they got off to a good start, shutting down the Pittsburgh Steelers 13-3 in the opener.

But there were dark clouds surrounding that win. A host of key defensive players held out until a week before the game in a contract dispute. They came in and played well against the Steelers, but many people were worried that those players' lack of preparation and practice would catch up with the defense.

And it did.

That, combined with the advancing age of some of the longer-tenured defensive players, led to the unit's demise.

Some of the offensive stars were getting up there in age as well. For instance, the team's best player, Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome, was in the last of his 13 seasons.

In short, the players on both sides of the ball were getting old all at the same time.

The Browns followed up the win over Pittsburgh with two defeats to teams that would finish just 6-10, the New York Jets (24-21) and San Diego Chargers (24-14).

Then came a real downer, a 34-0 loss at Kansas City. The Browns hadn't lost by more points since early in 1975.

That fueled all kinds of rumors that head coach Bud Carson's job was on the line. He had arrived in 1989 to get the Browns over the hump and into the Super Bowl for the first time. The organization's frustration in not getting there caused Marty Schottenheimer to be fired just days after the 1988 season ended.

Carson got the Browns back to the AFC title game in 1989, but they lost to the Denver Broncos for the third time in fourth years, this time by a much more pronounced 37-21 count.

As 1990 approached, the pressure mounted on Carson to get the Browns at least one step further than he had in '89, and the 2-4 start, punctuated by the one-sided loss to the Chiefs, only served to increase the heat on him.

The Browns bought Carson some time when they erased a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit and edged the pesky Broncos 30-29 on Monday Night Football on a 30-yard, last-play field goal by Jerry Kauric, who had beaten out the popular Matt Bahr for the job.

But then came three straight defeats, a blowout 21-point decision (34-13) at home to the Cincinnati Bengals on MNF and two by close margins, 25-20 to the New Orleans Saints and 20-17 to the defending Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers.

Management members was encouraged that the Browns had given the talented 49ers all they could handle, and hoped that the club could turn it around and still get back into hunt in a division where none of the teams seemed to be able to take charge.

They were also hopeful that Mike Pagel, who, in a highly controversial move, took over at quarterback for Bernie Kosar in the second half against the 49ers and led a furious comeback to tie the score at 17-17, could provide a spark.

The opponent as he got his first start the following week? The visiting Buffalo Bills, who had fallen 34-30 to the Browns just 10 months before in the divisional playoffs on that same field in one of the most exciting postseason games in franchise history. To spice things up even more, the contest was nationally televised.

The results were nightmarish. The Browns, outscored 28-0 in the second half, including 21-0 in the fourth quarter, were drubbed 42-0, suffering their worst shutout defeat in history. Pagel threw for just 195 yards and was intercepted twice, the second of which was returned 60 yards for the Bills' final touchdown.

The Browns, at 2-7 and the losers of four straight, had reached a low ebb and, with the bye week coming up and a home game against Houston waiting in the wings after that, management decided it was time to make a coaching change. So Carson was fired and replaced on an interim basis by Jim Shofner, in his first season as offensive coordinator. Shofner had been quarterbacks coach for three years (1978-80) during the Kardiac Kids era and had also played six seasons (1958-63) as a defensive back for the team.

He re-inserted Kosar into the lineup, but that didn't help much. The offense improved somewhat, but the losing continued -- 35-23 to the Oilers, 30-13 to the Miami Dolphins and 38-23 to the Los Angeles Rams before the crushing defeat at Houston, extending the losing streak to eight, the longest for the club since 1975.

A 13-10 home win over the struggling Atlanta Falcons broke that skid, but the Browns finished the year with two more defeats, both on the road, 35-0 to Pittsburgh and 21-14 to Cincinnati.

Kosar had the worst season of his career, throwing just 10 TD passes with 15 interceptions for a 65.7 quarterback rating. Pagel ended with only three scoring passes and eight picks for a 48.2 rating.

Collectively and, in many cases, individually, it had been arguably the toughest, most difficult season in Browns history. There was a fear that the Browns could fall off a little in 1990, but nobody anticipated it would be this dramatic.

For the first time in years, the Browns needed a complete overhaul physically, mentally and emotionally, and the search began immediately to find the right coach to do the work.

Steve King,
Staff Writer

Year Results
Preseason Results
National Football League: 1-4
Chicago Bears at Canton (23,952) 0-13
at Green Bay Packers (52,625) 25-10
Minnesota Vikings (60,989) 20-23
Washington Redskins (62,444) 13-31
at New York Giants (33,148) 10-28
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 3 13 0 .188 0 0 0 .000 3 13 0 .188
Date Result Opponent Att.
9/9 W13-3 Pittsburgh Steelers 78,298
9/16 L21-24 at New York Jets 67,354
9/23 L14-24 San Diego Chargers 77,429
9/30 L0-34 at Kansas City Chiefs 75,462
10/8 W30-29 at Denver Broncos 74,814
10/14 L20-25 at New Orleans Saints 68,608
10/22 L13-34 Cincinnati Bengals 78,567
10/28 L17-20 at San Francisco 49ers 63,672
11/4 L0-42 Buffalo Bills 78,331
11/18 L23-35 Houston Oilers 76,726
11/25 L13-30 Miami Dolphins 70,225
12/2 L23-38 Los Angeles Rams 61,981
12/9 L14-58 at Houston Oilers 54,469
12/16 W13-10 Atlanta Falcons 46,536
12/23 L0-35 at Pittsburgh Steelers 51,665
12/30 L14-21 at Cincinnati Bengals 60,041
Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 32 57 71 68 0 --- 228
Opponents 107 182 61 112 0 --- 462
Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 259 314
Rushing 74 117
Passing 167 169
Penalty 18 28
3rd Down: Made/Att 81/207 104/211
3rd Down Pct. 39.10% 49.30%
4th Down: Made/Att 7/19 2/3
4th Down Pct. 36.80% 66.70%
Total Net Yards 4,367 5,190
Avg. Per Game 272.9 324.4
Total Plays 960 987
Avg. Per Play 4.5 5.3
Net Yards Rushing 1,220 2,105
Avg. Per Game 76.3 131.6
Total Rushes 345 511
Net Yards Passing 3,147 3,085
Avg. Per Game 196.7 192.8
Sacked/Yards Lost 42/260 32/211
Gross Yards 3,407 3,296
Attempts/Completions 573/301 444/253
Completion Pct. 52.50% 57.00%
Had Intercepted 23 13
Punts/Avg. 78/36.9 68/38.1
Net Punting Avg. 78/31.5 68/35.0
Penalties/Yards Lost 122/922 95/684
Fumbles/Ball Lost 37/23 24/9
Touchdowns 27 59
Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Kauric, Jerry 0 0 0 0 24/27 0 0 14/20 0 66
Mack, Kevin 5 2 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 42
Slaughter, Webster 0 4 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 24
Metcalf, Eric 1 1 2 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 24
Hoard, Leroy 3 0 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 18
Langhorne, Reggie 0 2 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 12
Brennan, Brian 0 2 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 12
Newsome, Ozzie 0 2 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 12
Johnson, Mike 0 0 0 1 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 6
Gainer, Derrick 1 0 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 6
Blaylock, Anthony 0 0 0 1 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 6
Browns 10 13 2 2 24/27 0 0 14/20 0 228
Opponents 21 32 0 6 56/59 0 0 16/27 2 462
Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Mack, Kevin 158 702 4.4 26 5
Metcalf, Eric 80 248 3.1 17 1
Hoard, Leroy 58 149 2.6 42 3
Gainer, Derrick 30 81 2.7 9 1
Kosar, Bernie 10 13 1.3 5 0
Slaughter, Webster 5 29 5.8 17 0
Pagel, Mike 3 -1 -0.3 0 0
Redden, Barry 1 -1 -1 -1 0
Browns 345 1,220 3.5 42 10
Opponents 511 2,105 4.1 39 21
Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Slaughter, Webster 59 847 14.4 50 4
Metcalf, Eric 57 452 7.9 35 1
Langhorne, Reggie 45 585 13 39 2
Brennan, Brian 45 568 12.6 28 2
Mack, Kevin 42 360 8.6 30 2
Newsome, Ozzie 23 240 10.4 38 2
Hoard, Leroy 10 73 7.3 17 0
Gainer, Derrick 7 85 12.1 20 0
Joines, Vernon 6 86 14.3 24 0
Galbraith, Scott 4 62 15.5 28 0
Talley, John 2 28 14 19 0
Kauric, Jerry 1 21 21 21 0
Browns 301 3,407 11.3 50 13
Opponents 253 3,296 13 59 32
Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Wright, Felix 3 56 18.7 36 0
Blaylock, Anthony 2 45 22.5 45 0
Braggs, Stephen 2 13 6.5 11 0
Minnifield, Frank 2 0 0 0 0
Johnson, Mike 1 64 64 64t 1
Gash, Thane 1 16 16 16 0
Waiters, Van 1 15 15 15 0
Grayson, David 1 3 3 3 0
Browns 13 212 16.3 64t 1
Opponents 23 422 18.3 67 3
Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Wagner, Bryan 74 2,879 38.9 13 2 65 4
Team, Stat 4 0 0 0 0 0 0
Browns 78 2,879 36.9 13 2 65 4
Opponents 68 2,589 38.1 15 4 70 1
Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
, Stefon 13 4 81 6.2 25 0
Brennan, Brian 9 4 72 8 15 0
Lewis, Leo 8 7 56 7 18 0
Waiters, Van 1 0 0 0 0 0
Browns 31 15 209 6.7 25 0
Opponents 41 13 425 10.4 37 0
Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Metcalf, Eric 52 1,052 20.2 101t 2
Fullwood, Brent 6 119 19.8 27 0
Adams, Stefon 3 33 11 15 0
Galbraith, Scott 3 16 5.3 10 0
Hoard, Leroy 2 18 9 10 0
Johnson, Eddie 2 17 8.5 11 0
Barnett, Harlon 1 15 15 15 0
Talley, John 1 6 6 6 0
Gainer, Derrick 1 0 0 0 0
Browns 71 1,276 18 101t 2
Opponents 45 805 17.9 39 0
Field Goals
1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ Tot
Kauric, Jerry 0/0 5/5 5/8 4/7 0/0 14/20
Browns 0/0 5/5 5/8 4/7 0/0 14/20
Opponents 1/1 4/4 4/6 6/10 1/2 16/27
Passing
Att Cmp Yds Pct Av/At th th% Int Int% LG Tkld Rating
Kosar, Bernie 423 230 2,562 54.4 6.06 10 2.4 15 3.5 50 37/220 65.7
Pagel, Mike 148 69 819 46.6 5.53 3 2 8 5.4 32 3/40 48.2
Francis, Jeff 2 2 26 100 13 0 0 0 0 17 0/0 118.8
Browns 573 301 3,407 52.5 5.95 13 2.3 23 4 50 42/260 61.5
Opponents 444 253 3,296 57 7.42 32 7.2 13 2.9 59 32/211 92.3