History

Year by Year Results: 2001
Team Photo

For the second time in three seasons in the expansion era, the Browns were starting over as they headed into 2001.

Head coach Chris Palmer was fired after two years and a 5-27 record, being thwarted by the franchise getting a late start in getting organized, and by injuries to a number of key personnel in 2000.

His replacement was University of Miami (Fla.) head coach Butch Davis, a former defensive assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys during their glory days of the early 1990s. Davis had had a lot of success with the Hurricanes as well, completely turning around a program that was in danger of being disbanded for the rogue behavior of both players and coaches.

Trying to erase the losing atmosphere that surrounded the Browns, Davis made sweeping changes in nearly every facet of the organization, the most significant of which was using the No. 1 overall pick of the 2001 NFL Draft to take defensive tackle Gerard Warren, whom the coach had tried to recruit when he was at Miami.. Davis was hoping that Warren, along with end Courtney Brown, the No. 1 overall draft choice in 2000, would help bolster a defense that had surrendered 417 points the previous season and 856 over a two-year period.

The changes made an immediate impact. The Browns allowed just three field goals in the season opener, and 16 points or less the next three games.

The result was that the Browns jumped out to a 3-1 record, their best start since they returned to the field in 1999.

The loss came in Davis' debut, as they fell 9-6 to the Seattle Seahawks on a 52-yard field goal into a stiff breeze with three seconds left.

The Browns were to have played at Pittsburgh the following week on Sunday Night Football to help the Steelers unveil Heinz Field, but that game, along with all of the other contests in the NFL that weekend, were postponed and tacked on to the end of the regular season in lieu of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

When the games resumed, the Browns got their first win under Davis with a 24-14 decision over the Detroit Lions. Rookie running back James Jackson, who had played for the coach at Miami, led the way with 124 yards as the Browns roared to a 24-7 third-quarter lead.

The Browns had not beaten Jacksonville in six games going back to the Jaguars' expansion season of 1995, but that changed when they went on the road to gain a convincing 23-14 triumph. The Browns led 13-0 at halftime and then were clinging to a 16-14 advantage when cornerback Daylon McCutcheon intercepted a pass and returned it 32 yards for the clinching touchdown with 35 seconds left.

The next game, against the San Diego Chargers, provided just as dramatic of an ending, as Tim Couch threw a 19-yard TD pass to wide receiver Kevin Johnson with 1:15 left to get a 20-16 win.

The red-hot Browns were thinking big at this point.

Things cooled a little over the next two weeks as they split a pair of games against AFC Central foes, losing 24-14 to the Cincinnati Bengals and then beating the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens for the first time in five tries, by that same 24-14 score. The fans were ecstatic that the Ravens -- the former Browns -- had finally been felled.

Then two crushing overtime defeats followed, 27-21 to the Chicago Bears and 15-12 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The game at Soldier Field was one of the most amazing in Browns -- or, for that matter, NFL -- history, as Cleveland seemingly had sealed the victory, leading 21-7 with 30 seconds left in regulation, only to allow the Bears to score two TDs to tie it.

Against Pittsburgh, the Browns had a 9-0 first-quarter lead and were ahead 12-9 after three quarters. The Steelers didn't score a TD all day, but instead five field goals.

But the Browns proved to be a resilient bunch, coming back to win the next two games, 27-17 at Baltimore to gain a decisive season series sweep of the Ravens, and then 18-0 over the Bengals to post their first shutout of the expansion era and the first since 1994.

At 6-4, the Browns were clinging to the final AFC wild-card berth on tie-breakers.

The season is not 10 games, however. It's 16, and the Browns, with not quite enough depth, faded down the stretch, losing their next four games and five of their last six.

So from that standpoint, a final 7-9 record was a big disappointment. But in the big picture, considering what the Browns had done the previous two seasons, it was a success of no small proportions.

In addition, with fourth-round draft pick Anthony Henry leading the way with 10 interceptions, tying for first in the NFL and also tying a club record, the Browns set a team mark for picks with 33.

And outside linebacker Jamir Miller, after tying for first in the AFC with 13 sacks, became the first Brown of the expansion era to be selected for the Pro Bowl. It was also the first such honor for him.

After all this, the fans were feeling good about the Browns again, a marked improvement from the dismal atmosphere a year earlier. The 2002 season -- and an opportunity for the club to take even more steps -- couldn't come soon enough.

Steve King,
Staff Writer

Year Results
Preseason Results
National Football League: 2-2
Green Bay Packers (71,218) 10-3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (72,018) 7-6
at Washington Redskins (67,014) 25-27
at Carolina Panthers (70,444) (OT) 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.
9/9 L 6-9 Seattle Seahawks72,318
9/23 W 24-14 Detroit Lions73,168
9/30 W 23-14 at Jacksonsville Jaguars57,875
10/7 W 20-16 San Diego Chargers 73,018
10/14 L 14-24 at Cincinnati Bengals64,217
10/21 W 24-14 Baltimore Ravens72,818
11/4 L 21-27 (OT) at Chicago Bears66,944
11/11 L 12-15 (OT) Pittsburgh Steelers73,218
11/18 W 27-17 at Baltimore Ravens 69,353
11/25 W 18-0 Cincinnati Bengals72,918
12/2 L 15-31 Tennessee Titans72,818
12/9 L 16-27 at New England Patroits 60,292
12/16 L 10-15 Jacksonville Jaguars72,818
12/23 L 7-30 at Green Bay Packers59,824
12/30 W 41-38 at Tennessee Titans 68,798
1/6 L 7-28 at Pittsburgh Steelers59,189
Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 77 83 51 74 0 --- 285
Opponents 62 73 89 86 9 --- 319
Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 238 295
Rushing 78 112
Passing 139 161
Penalty 21 22
3rd Down: Made/Att 68/210 88/235
3rd Down Pct. 32.4 37.4
4th Down: Made/Att 6/12 8/23
4th Down Pct. 50.0 34.8
Possesion Avg. 28:16 31:44
Total Net Yards 4152 5297
Avg. Per Game 259.5 331.1
Total Plays 934 1089
Avg. Per Play 4.4 4.9
Net Yards Rushing 1351 2208
Avg. Per Game 84.4 138.0
Total Rushes 417 494
Net Yards Passing 2801 3089
Avg. Per Game 175.1 193.1
Sacked/Yards Lost 51/353 43/288
Gross Yards 3154 3377
Attempts/Completions 466/279 552/309
Completion Pct. 59.9 56.0
Had Intercepted 21 33
Punts/Avg. 99/42.9 74/43.2
Net Punting Avg. 99/34.6 74/37.7
Penalties/Yards Lost 94/825 103/779
Fumbles/Ball Lost 24/12 35/9
Touchdowns 31 35
Rushing 8 11
Passing 18 18
Returns 5 6
Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Dawson, Phil 0 0 0 0 29/30 0 0 22/25 0 95
Johnson, Kevin 0 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 54
White, Jamel 5 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 38
Jackson, James 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 12
Morgan, Quincy 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 12
Browns 8 18 0 5 29/30 1 0 22/25 1 285
Opponents 11 18 2 4 30/32 0 2 35/34 0 319
Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Jackson, James 195 554 2.8 22 2
White, Jamel 126 443 3.5 51 5
Gay, Ben 51 172 3.4 40 1
Couch, Tim 38 128 3.4 15 0
Morgan, Quincy 2 27 13.5 23 0
Browns 417 1,351 3.2 51 8
Opponents 494 2,208 4.5 54 11
Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Johsnson, Kevin 84 1097 13.1 55t 9
White, Jamel 44 418 9.5 45 1
Morgan, Quincy 30 432 14.4 78 2
Dawson, JaJuan 22 281 12.8 44 1
Northcutt, Dennis 18 211 11.7 26 0
Browns 279 3,154 11.3 78 18
Opponents 309 3,377 10.9 71t 18
Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Henry, Anthony 10 177 17.7 97t 1
Little, Earl 5 33 6.6 15 0
McCutcheon, Daylon 4 62 15.5 32t 1
Fuller, Corey 3 82 27.3 49t 1
Jackson, Raymond 3 52 17.3 52 0
Browns 33 499 15.1 97t 4
Opponents 21 242 11.5 69t 3
Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Gardocki, Chris 99 4,249 42.9 25 9 69 0
Browns 99 4,249 42.9 25 9 69 0
Opponents 74 3,198 43.2 28 8 68 0
Returns
Punt No FC Yds Avg LG TD
Northcutt, Dennis 15 9 86 5.7 32 0
Johnson, Kevin 14 6 117 8.4 24 0
Chapman, Lamar 1 0 1 1 1 0
Jackson, Raymond 1 0 43 43 43 0
Frost, Scott 0 1 0 0 0 1
Browns 31 16 247 8 43 0
Opponents 52 12 647 12.4 86 1
Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Gay, Ben 23 513 22.3 42 0
King, Andre 14 279 19.9 27 0
White, Jamel 9 189 21 31 0
Morgan, Quincy 7 175 25 51 0
Sellers, Mike 4 75 18.8 21 0
Browns 62 1285 20.7 51 0
Opponents 65 1215 18.7 49 0
Field Goals
1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ Tot
Dawson, Phil 0/0 10/10 8/9 4/6 0/0 22/25
Browns 0/0 10/10 8/9 4/6 0/0 22/25
Opponents 0/0 8/9 10/11 5/12 2/2 25/34
Passing
Att Cmp Yds Pct Av/At th th% Int Int% LG Tkld Rating
Couch, Tim 454 272 3,040 59.9 6.7 17 3.7 21 4.6 78 51/353 73.1
Holcomb, Kelly 12 7 114 58.3 9.5 1 8.3 0 0 25 0/0 118.1
Browns 466 279 3154 59.9 6.77 18 3.9 21 4.5 78 51/353 74.3
Opponents 552 309 3,377 56 6.12 18 3.3 33 6 71t 43/288 60.2