History

Year by Year Results: 1993
Team Photo

The term "a lot of" can be found everywhere in the 1993 Browns season.

It began with a lot of hope and ended with a lot of disappointment, and in between there was a lot of controversy and turmoil.

In short, it's a season that will never be forgotten by anyone who lived through it.

The Browns came into the year trying to make a marked improvement after virtually running in place in 1992. That club finished 7-9, improving only slightly over a 6-10 mark in 1991.

An 8-8 finish would have been OK -- it would have meant the Browns were getting better, and it would have represented their first non-losing record since 1989 -- but they wanted more.

To help increase the chances of that happening, the Browns went out in the offseason and signed middle linebacker Pepper Johnson, the ex-Ohio Stater by way of the New York Giants, massive -- for that time -- defensive tackle Jerry Ball, a 315-pounder, and quarterback Vinny Testaverde, a former No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft (1987) who had been stuck on bad Tampa Bay Buccaneers teams for six years.

They also used their first-pound pick in the NFL Draft, at No. 14 overall, to select center Steve Everitt.

Browns head coach Bill Belichick was a firm believer in the old adage that a team should be built up the middle, and this was a perfect example of that.

The moves paid off immediately when the team began 3-0, its best start since 1979. The last two victories were significant -- for a variety of reasons.

In Week 2, the Browns got their first Monday Night Football triumph since 1990 with a 23-13 decision over the San Francisco 49ers 23-13. The 49ers were one of the top teams in the league and had been to the NFC Championship Game the previous year, and the fact the Browns beat them far more decisively than the final score might seem to indicate, boded well for what the club might be able to do as the season continued to unfold.

A big MNF win at home followed by a road game the following Sunday is many times the recipe for a major letdown in the NFL, and the Browns were certainly flat and lethargic when they went all the way across the country to play the Los Angeles Raiders. Their offense was going nowhere and the situation seemed hopeless when they trailed 16-3 with just 4:58 left.

Testaverde had replaced the popular Bernie Kosar at the start of the fourth quarter and had directed the Browns to their lone score, a 41-yard Matt Stover field goal. But in those final minutes of the game, he really went to work, leading the Browns to two touchdowns. Those scores, with the help of a safety, gave the Browns one of their most dramatic come-from-behind wins ever, 19-16.

The game-winning score came on Eric Metcalf's one-yard run with two seconds remaining.

Kosar was not happy about being replaced by his former Miami Hurricanes teammate, but that emotion was left simmering because of the win and the team's great start.

It became more of an issue the following week at Indianapolis when Testaverde went in for Kosar at the start of the second half with the Browns behind 6-0. After directing the club to a TD in four plays on his first possession for a 7-6 lead, he couldn't sustain the momentum, as he had done against the Raiders. The result was the Browns' first loss of the year, 23-10.

For a third straight game, Testaverde replaced Kosar, this time early in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins the next week. But it didn't help in a 24-14 defeat. The Browns had led 14-10 at halftime after Dan Marino exited with a ruptured Achilles tendon, but got shut down after that.

However, Belichick had seen enough in Testaverde's play over the three-game stretch to convince him that the quarterback should start the following week at Cincinnati. Testaverde responded, leading the Browns to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter and an eventual 28-17 win to give them a season series sweep of the Bengals.

The plot thickened seven days later at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a battle for first place in the AFC Central. The Browns blew a 14-0 lead, fell behind 23-21 midway through the fourth quarter and then won 28-23.

Testaverde, who had thrown two TD passes, left the game with a separated shoulder early in the fourth quarter, and Kosar was greeted by a thunderous roar when he trotted onto the field.

However, the game was won not on Kosar's arm -- or even the offense as a whole but rather on Eric Metcalf's 75-yard punt return with 2:05 remaining.  Early in the game, he had had a 91-yarder for a score, becoming the first player in NFL history to return two punts of 75 yards or more for TDs in the same game.

With the thrilling win, the Browns went into their second -- and final -- bye week in a great frame of mind, as they were 5-2 and in first place, a game ahead of the Steelers (4-3).

Then came a series of events over a 24-hour period two weeks later that would change the course of so many people for so long.

The Kosar-led offense struggled again as the Browns lost 29-14 to their old nemesis, John Elway and the Denver Broncos. The score would have been worse, but the Browns tallied with nine seconds left on a 38-yard Kosar-to-Michael Jackson TD pass on a play that, as was learned later, was drawn up in the dirt in the huddle.

The loss dropped the Browns back into a first-place tie with Pittsburgh at 5-3.

It would be Kosar's last game as a Brown, for the next day, the Browns announced that they had cut the Cleveland icon, saying his skills had deteriorated. With Testaverde still out, the starting job would be filled by young, inexperienced Todd Philcox.

The fans were up in arms.

It also signaled the beginning of the end of the season for the Browns, for they lost their next three games, starting with a 22-5 decision at Seattle in which they committed seven turnovers, and six of their last eight to finish 7-9 for a second straight season. Meanwhile, Kosar signed with Dallas and played a key role in helping the Cowboys win their second straight Super Bowl that season.

Testaverde returned late in the year and set an NFL record for completion percentage when he hit on 21-of-23 passes (91.3 percent) for two TDs in a 42-14 win over the Los Angeles Rams. The Browns had not scored more points in a game since 1989.

But by that point, all of that meant relatively little.

The Browns insisted that the release of Kosar and the promotion of Testaverde -- even if Philcox had to keep the seat warm for a while -- was done for the long-term good of the team. But a lot of the fans, upset over Kosar's departure and the way the season fell apart after that, were skeptical, to say the least.

Steve King,
Staff Writer

Year Results
Preseason Results
National Football League: 2-2
at Washington Redskins (36,455) 12-41
New England Patriots at Toronto (33,012) 12-9
Los Angeles Rams (51,361) 21-10
at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (45,668) 20-23
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 7 9 0 .438 0 0 0 .000 7 9 0 .438
Date Result Opponent Att.
9/5 W27-14 Cincinnati Bengals 75,508
9/13 W23-13 San Francisco 49ers 78,218
9/19 W19-16 at Los Angeles Raiders 48,617
9/26 L10-23 at Indianapolis Colts 59,654
10/10 L14-24 Miami Dolphins 78,138
10/17 W28-17 at Cincinnati Bengals 55,647
10/24 W28-23 Pittsburgh Steelers 78,118
11/7 L14-29 Denver Broncos 77,818
11/14 L5-22 at Seattle Seahawks 54,622
11/21 L20-27 Houston Oilers 71,668
11/28 L14-17 at Atlanta Falcons 54,510
12/5 W17-13 New Orleans Saints 60,388
12/12 L17-19 at Houston Oilers 58,720
12/19 L17-20 New England Patriots 48,618
12/26 W42-14 at Los Angeles Rams 34,155
1/2 L9-16 at Pittsburgh Steelers 49,208
Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 56 99 58 91 0 --- 304
Opponents 64 110 52 81 0 --- 307
Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Team Statistics Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 264 290
Rushing 91 94
Passing 152 170
Penalty 21 26
3rd Down: Made/Att 66/201 88/231
3rd Down Pct. 0.328 0.381
4th Down: Made/Att 11/14 6/13
4th Down Pct. 0.786 0.462
Total Net Yards 4740 4778
Avg. Per Game 296.3 298.6
Total Plays 948 1040
Avg. Per Play 5 4.6
Net Yards Rushing 1701 1654
Avg. Per Game 106.3 103.4
Total Rushes 425 451
Net Yards Passing 3039 3124
Avg. Per Game 189.9 195.3
Sacked/Yards Lost 45/289 48/342
Gross Yards 3328 3466
Attempts/Completions 478/262 541/306
Completion Pct. 0.548 0.566
Had Intercepted 19 13
Punts/Avg. 84/43.2 85/42.4
Net Punting Avg. 84/38.0 85/35.8
Penalties/Yards Lost 121/842 105/821
Fumbles/Ball Lost 27/17 28/9
Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Stover, Matt 0 0 0 0 36/36 0 0 16/22 0 84
Jackson, Michael 0 8 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 48
Metcalf, Eric 1 2 2 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 30
Carrier, Mark 1 3 1 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 30
Vardell, Tommy 3 1 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 24
Browns 8 23 3 2 36/36 0 0 16/22 2 304
Opponents 9 19 0 2 30/30 0 0 31/38 2 307
Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Vardell, Tommy 171 644 3.8 54 3
Metcalf, Eric 129 611 4.7 55 1
Hoard, Leroy 56 227 4.1 30 0
Testaverde, Vinny 18 74 4.1 14 0
Baldwin, Randy 18 61 3.4 11 0
Browns 425 1,701 4 55 8
Opponents 451 1,654 3.7 49 9
Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Metcalf, Eric 63 539 8.6 49t 2
Carrier, Mark 43 746 17.3 55 3
Jackson, Michael 41 756 18.4 62t 8
Hoard, Leroy 35 351 10 41 0
Kinchen, Brian 29 347 12 40 2
Browns 262 3,328 12.7 62t 23
Opponents 306 3,466 11.3 56 19
Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Turner, Eric 5 25 5 19 0
Jones, Selwyn 3 0 0 0 0
Mustafaa, Najee 1 97 97 97t 1
Hilliard, Randy 1 54 54 54 0
Speer, Del 1 22 22 22 0
Browns 13 208 16 97t 1
Opponents 19 246 12.9 69 0
Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Hansen, Brian 82 3,632 44.3 15 10 72 2
Team, Stat 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Browns 84 3,632 43.2 15 10 72 2
Opponents 85 3,603 42.4 24 7 61 0
Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
Metcalf, Eric 36 11 464 12.9 91t 2
Carrier, Mark 6 1 92 15.3 56t 1
Turner, Eric 0 0 7 0 7 0
Browns 42 12 563 13.4 91t 3
Opponents 49 14 438 8.9 36 0
Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Baldwin, Randy 24 444 18.5 31 0
Metcalf, Eric 15 318 21.2 47 0
Hoard, Leroy 13 286 22 39 0
Vardell, Tommy 4 58 14.5 16 0
Smith, Rico 1 13 13 13 0
Browns 58 1,119 19.3 47 0
Opponents 46 814 17.7 49 0
Field Goals
1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ Tot
Stover, Matt 0/0 4/4 5/6 6/8 1/4 16/22
Browns 0/0 4/4 5/6 6/8 1/4 16/22
Opponents 1/1 13/14 6/10 8/9 3/4 31/38
Passing
Att Cmp Yds Pct Av/At th th% Int Int% LG Tkld Rating
Testaverde, Vinny 230 130 1,797 56.5 7.81 14 6.1 9 3.9 62t 17/101 85.7
Kosar, Bernie 138 79 807 57.2 5.85 5 3.6 3 2.2 38t 21/128 77.2
Philcox, Todd 108 52 699 48.1 6.47 4 3.7 7 6.5 56 7/60 54.5
Jackson, Michael 1 1 25 100 25 0 0 0 0 25 0/0 118.8
Hoard, Leroy 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 39.6
Browns 478 262 3,328 54.8 6.96 23 4.8 19 4 62t 45/289 76.2
Opponents 541 306 3,466 56.6 6.41 19 3.5 13 2.4 56 48/342 77.6