History

Year by Year Results: 2002
Team Photo

Most Browns fans reading this well remember the 2002 season, when the club made the playoffs for the first time since its return to the field in 1999.

The Browns won their last two games, including a thrilling 24-16 home decision over the Atlanta Falcons in the finale, and then waited for several hours for the outcome of the late afternoon games. When the dust cleared, the Browns' 9-7 mark, though tying them with the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos, allowed them to vault ahead of those other three teams via tie-breakers and claim the sixth -- and final - AFC postseason berth.

Butch Davis had completely turned things around in his two seasons as head coach, taking a team that had finished just 5-27 in the two years before his arrival, and getting it into the playoffs for the first time since 1994. Although the Browns had finished 7-9 in 2001, providing much hope for '02, the playoff berth was unexpected.

The team was 3-4, coming off an uninspiring 34-17 win over the expansion Houston Texans and mourning the death that week of owner Al Lerner when it went to New York to face the Jets. Falling behind 21-3 in the second quarter, the Browns rallied to win 24-21 over a team that would capture the AFC East title.

Although the Browns lost 23-20 to the Pittsburgh Steelers the following week, the Jets game seemed to turn their season around as they won five of their last seven contests.

The defense, made up of a lot of veterans, came up with big play after big play down the stretch.

Offensively, there were two stories -- or three, to be more accurate. The first one involves rookie running back William Green. The No. 16 overall draft choice struggled to find his rhythm through the first half of the season, then got going and ended up with 887 yards rushing. He carried the team late in the year and provided the biggest play of the year with a 64-yard touchdown burst that closed the scoring in the all-important win over Atlanta.

The last two stories involve quarterbacks Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb. Couch, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1999 and the player on whom the Browns were going to build their team, broke his leg in the second quarter against the Falcons. It ended what had been -- by far -- his best season, as he had as many touchdown passes (18) as interceptions and a 76.8 quarterback rating.

Holcomb, a career journeyman, came on, helped lead the Browns over Atlanta and then had the game of his life at Pittsburgh in the wild-card playoffs. He threw for 429 yards and three touchdowns, but it was not enough in a devastating 36-33 loss. The Browns blew a 24-7 third-quarter lead and a 33-21 advantage with just under four minutes to go.

The performance sparked a quarterback controversy heading into the ensuing offseason that was never really resolved.

But the bigger news - at least in the more immediate future -- came when Davis, citing salary cap overruns, cut or chose not to re-sign a slew of core veterans, including his entire starting linebacker corps. The team never recovered from that move, as evidenced by the 9-23 mark the next two years that caused Davis to resign with five games remaining in 2004.

Steve King,
Staff Writer

Year Results
Preseason Results
National Football League: 2-2
at Minnesota Vikings (63,532) 27-15
Detroit Lions (70,218) 24-23
at Green Bay Packers (62,668) 20-27
Carolina Panthers (68,718) 19-20
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 9 7 0 .563 0 1 0 .000 9 8 0 .529
Postseason Results
Wild Card Playoff Game
Date Opponent Result Score
1/5 at Pittsburgh Steelers Loss 33-36
Date Result Opponent Att.
9/8 L 39-40 Kansas City Chiefs 72,938
9/15 W 20-7 Cincinnati Bengals 73,358
9/22 W 31-28 (OT) at Tennessee Titans 68,804
9/29 L 13-16 (OT) at Pittsburgh Steelers 62,864
10/6 L 21-26 Baltimore Ravens 73,688
10/13 L 3-17 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 65,625
10/20 W 34-17 Houson Texans 73,248
10/27 W 24-21 at New York Jets 78,502
11/3 L 20-23 Pittsburgh Steelers 73,718
11/17 W 27-20 at Cincinnati Bengals 64,060
11/24 W 24-15 at New Orleans Saints 68,295
12/1 L 6-13 Carolina Panthers 72,718
12/8 W 21-20 at Jacksonville Jaguars 46,267
12/15 L 23-28 Indianapolis Colts 73,098
12/22 W 14-13 at Baltimore Ravens 69,348
12/29 W 24-16 Atlanta Falcons 73,528
Wild Card Playoff
12/29 L 33-36 at Pittsburgh Steelers 62,595
Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 76 68 77 120 3 --- 344
Opponents 65 95 65 92 3 --- 320
Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 279 291
Rushing 77 107
Passing 171 164
Penalty 31 20
3rd Down: Made/Att 90/222 91/226
3rd Down Pct. 40.4 40.3
4th Down: Made/Att 8/10 7/14
4th Down Pct. 80.0 50.0
Possesion Avg. 29:45 30:15
Total Net Yards 5027 5348
Avg. Per Game 314.2 334.3
Total Plays 993 1024
Avg. Per Play 5.1 5.2
Net Yards Rushing 1615 2079
Avg. Per Game 100.9 129.9
Total Rushes 406 483
Net Yards Passing 3412 3269
Avg. Per Game 213.3 204.3
Sacked/Yards Lost 35/253 28/172
Gross Yards 3665 3441
Attempts/Completions 552/338 513/299
Completion Pct. 61.2 58.3
Had Intercepted 22 17
Punts/Avg. 83/41.3 76/38.7
Net Punting Avg. 83/34.9 76/31.1
Penalties/Yards Lost 107/845 91/726
Fumbles/Ball Lost 18/9 32/12
Touchdowns 40 34
Rushing 10 12
Passing 27 20
Returns 3 2
Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Dawson, Phil 0 0 0 0 34/35 0 0 22/28 0 100
Northcutt, Dennis 1 5 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 50
Morgan, Quincy 0 7 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 44
Davis, Andre 0 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 42
Green, William 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 36
Browns 10 27 3 0 34/35 0 2 22/28 0 344
Opponents 12 20 1 1 32/32 0 0 28/37 0 320
Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Green, William 243 887 3.7 64t 6
White, Jamel 106 470 4.4 54 3
Morgan, Quincy 8 104 13 36t 1
Northcutt, Dennis 23 77 3.3 14 0
Davis, Andre 12 54 4.5 18 0
Browns 406 1,645 4 64t 10
Opponents 483 2,079 4.3 75 12
Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Johnson, Kevin 67 703 10.5 30t 4
White, Jamel 63 452 7.2 33 0
Morgan, Quincy 56 964 17.2 78t 7
Northcutt, Dennis 38 601 15.8 43t 5
Davis, Andre 37 420 11.4 31 6
Browns 338 3,665 10.8 78t 27
Opponents 299 3,441 11.5 72t 20
Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Little, Earl 4 17 4.3 7 0
Griffith, Robert 3 0 0.0 0 0
Henry, Anthony 2 4 2.0 4 0
Lang, Kenard 1 71 71.0 71 0
Sanders, Lewis 1 25 25.0 25 0
Browns 17 148 8.7 71 0
Opponents 22 292 13.3 59 1
Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Gardocki, Chris 81 3,388 41.8 27 6 59 0
Dawson, Phil 2 36 18 2 0 20 0
Browns 83 3,424 41.3 29 6 59 0
Opponents 76 2,938 38.7 22 7 62 1
Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
Northcutt, Dennis 25 10 367 14.7 87t 2
Davis, Andre 7 4 33 4.7 15 0
King, Andre 1 0 15 15 15 0
Sanders, Lewis 0 0 19 - 19 0
Browns 33 14 434 13.2 87t 2
Opponents 42 12 408 9.7 63t 1
Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Davis, Andre 50 1068 21.4 95t 1
King, Andre 8 155 19.4 27 0
Jackson, Frisman 3 58 19.3 26 0
Campbell, Mark 2 21 10.5 14 0
White, Jamel 2 21 10.5 11 0
Browns 66 1336 20.2 95t 1
Opponents 67 1366 20.4 82 0
Field Goals
1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ Tot
Dawson, Phil 0/0 9/10 6/8 5/7 2/3 22/28
Browns 0/0 9/10 6/8 5/7 2/3 22/28
Opponents 1/1 7/10 10/12 10/14 0/0 28/37
Passing
Att Cmp Yds Pct Av/At th th% Int Int% LG Tkld Rating
Couch, Tim 443 273 2,842 61.6 6.42 18 4.1 18 4.1 78t 30/213 76.8
Holcomb, Kelly 106 64 790 60.4 7.45 8 7.5 4 3.8 44t 5/40 92.9
Johnson, Kevin 2 1 33 50 16.5 1 50 0 0 33t 0/0 135.4
Jackson, Frisman 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 39.6
Browns 552 338 3665 61.2 6.64 27 4.9 22 4 78t 35/253 80.5
Opponents 513 299 3441 58.3 6.71 20 3.9 17 3.3 72t 28/172 77.8