History

Year by Year Results: 2004
Team Photo

When the expansion Browns began being formed late in 1998, there was a definite San Francisco 49ers flavor.

Team president Carmen Policy and director of football operations Dwight Clark headline the former 49ers who became part of the new Browns.

Policy and Clark were no longer with the organization at the time, but the most important player brought in during the months leading into the 2004 season had made his mark in San Francisco as well.

That would be Jeff Garcia, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent in March to help solve the Browns' biggest problem then -- their muddled quarterback situation.

Tim Couch, taken as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft to quarterback the expansion team and become the face of the franchise, had been released following the 2003 season. He had shared the starting job in 2003 with Kelly Holcomb, who remained with the club.

While both Couch and Holcomb had had a number of big moments with the Browns over the years, head coach Butch Davis was looking for someone with a proven track record of consistent excellence in the league. He decided on Garcia, a three-time Pro Bowler during his five seasons with the 49ers and a quarterback who had thrown more than twice as many touchdowns (113) as interceptions (56).

In 2003, Couch and Holcomb had combined to throw 17 TD passes with 18 interceptions for a 75.2 quarterback rating. Garcia had 18 scores and 13 picks with an 80.1 rating that year, and his career rating was 88.3.

Before going to the 49ers, Garcia had been a star for most of his five seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Calgary Stampeders.

So in essence, the Browns were getting a 34-year passer with 10 years of pro experience under his belt. And for most of his time in San Francisco and Calgary, he had been part of winning teams.

All of those things he was bringing to the Browns were important, for the club was coming off a 5-11 finish in 2003 and had had just one winning season in their five years of existence in this new era.

And Garcia was going to have a big -- and talented -- target in the passing game. The Browns traded with the Detroit Lions to move up one spot at the top of the first round -- from seventh to sixth -- to draft tight end Kellen Winslow, who came from Miami (Fla.), where Butch Davis had coached before taking over as head coach of the Browns in 2001.

The hope was that Garcia throwing to Winslow would jump-start an offense that had averaged just 15.9 points per game in 2003. And if you removed two games, when the Browns tallied 44 and 33 points, then that average dropped to only 11.1.

Things worked out just as planned in the season opener, when the Browns defeated the visiting Baltimore Ravens 20-3. The Ravens had thumped the Browns twice in 2003, 33-13 and then 35-0 in the next-to-last game on that same Cleveland Browns Stadium field.

As advertised, Garcia was efficient, completing 15-of-24 passes for 180 yards, a TD and no interceptions, good for a lofty 99.3 rating. After the teams had battled to a 3-3 halftime tie, Garcia took over, passing for one TD and running for another.

Winslow tied with running back William Green for the team lead in receptions in the game with four, and Green, who had sat out the last half of 2003 while being suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, also rushed for a game-high 65 yards.

And defensively, the Browns played well, limiting the Ravens to 254 yards. Baltimore running back Jamal Lewis, who in 2003 against Cleveland had set NFL records for rushing yards in a game (295) and rushing yards in two games against the same team in one season (500), was held to 57 yards on 20 carries.

Then things began to unravel. The Browns lost two straight games on the road against NFC East foes, 19-12 to the Dallas Cowboys and 27-10 to the New York Giants. In the waning seconds against Dallas, Winslow broke his leg while trying to recover an onside kick and was lost for the season.

The Browns, though, fought back to capture two of their next three games, defeating the Washington Redskins 17-13 and Cincinnati Bengals 34-17 at home, with a 34-23 road loss at Pittsburgh sandwiched in between them.

So at 3-3, the Browns were hanging in there, but they were about to embark upon the most difficult part of their schedule, with home games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Steelers, and a contest at Baltimore. The Eagles had been to the last three NFC Championship Games, the Ravens were the defending AFC Central champions and Pittsburgh was coming off a rare poor season.

What ensued for the Browns, especially in those first two games, was nightmarish.

After the Browns had rallied to tie the Eagles at 31-31 on Garcia's four-yard TD scamper with 30 seconds left, they lost 34-31 in overtime on a 50-yard field goal.

The following week, the Browns led the Ravens 13-12 early in the fourth quarter and then trailed 20-13 as they drove deep into Baltimore territory for the tying TD in the final minute. But Garcia's pass into the end zone was deflected and intercepted by safety Ed Reed, who returned it 105 yards for a score in Baltimore's 27-13 triumph.

The Browns had gone from a tie score to a two-TD defeat in the blink of an eye.

Those two excruciating losses broke the Browns' backs. They had nothing left for the Steelers, who cruised to a 24-3 fourth-quarter lead on their way to a 24-10 victory.

The Browns were now 3-6 and reeling badly.

The following week, they lost not only another game -- 10-7 to the New York Jets after generating just 216 yards of total offense -- but also their quarterback. Garcia suffered a knee injury.

Then came the most bizarre situation of the season -- and one of the most bizarre in Browns history.

Holcomb, who replaced Garcia, was oh, so impressive in getting his first start of the season at Cincinnati, throwing for 413 yards and five TDs, including three to Steve Heiden, who had filled Winslow's spot at tight end. His quarterback rating was an off-the-charts 128.5. And on top of that, he directed the Browns to six touchdowns and two field goals as they rallied from a 27-13 halftime deficit.

But it still wasn't enough.

The Bengals won 58-48, securing the triumph with -- of all things, a defensive play -- as they returned an interception for a touchdown with 1:43 left. That tied for the most points ever scored against the Browns in a regular-season game, and the 106 combined points represents one of the highest-scoring games in NFL history.

Davis, who had built his coaching resume on defense, had seen enough, resigning late Monday night, about 30 hours after the end of the game. Terry Robiskie, in his first year as offensive coordinator after spending the previous three seasons as receivers coach, became the interim head coach.

Robiskie and the Browns had a short turnaround to become accustomed to the coaching change and get ready to host the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. To make matter even worse, they would be without Holcomb, who had suffered s rib injury. Rookie Luke McCown would replace him and become the team's third different starting quarterback in three weeks.

The Patriots returned the opening kickoff for a TD and bolted to a 21-7 second-quarter lead en route to a 42-15 victory.

The next three weeks were no better, as the Browns lost one-sided decisions to the Buffalo Bills (37-7) and San Diego Chargers (21-0) and fell 10-7 to a bad Miami Dolphins team on a 51-yard field goal with seven seconds left. The last loss obscured the fact Lee Suggs had set a team record for rushes in a game with 38 while gaining 143 yards.

Holcomb returned for the finale at Houston and, with the help of five field goals by Phil Dawson and 131 more rushing yards by Suggs, directed the Browns to a 22-14 victory.

Thus, not only did the Browns fail to make a quantum leap from their struggles of 2003, as they had hoped, but they actually did worse, finishing 4-12.

And with a head-coaching search ahead in the offseason, the Browns would once again be starting over, for the third time in seven years.

Steve King,
Staff Writer

Year Results
Preseason Results
National Football League: 3-1
at Tennessee Titans (68,809) 3-24
Detroit Lions (67,771) 17-10
at Kansas City Chiefs (76,086) 21-19
Chicago Bears (69,393) 24-10
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 4 12 0 .250 0 0 0 .000 4 12 0 .250
Date Result Opponent Att.
9/12 W 20-3 Baltimore Ravens 72,938
9/19 L 12-19 at Dallas Cowboys 73,358
9/26 L 10-27 at New York Giants 68,804
10/3 W 17-13 Washington Redskins 62,864
10/10 L 23-34 at Pittsburgh Steelers 73,688
10/17 W 34-17 Cincinnati Bengals 65,625
10/24 L 31-34 Philadelphia Eagles 73,248
11/7 L 13-27 at Baltimore Ravens 78,502
11/14 L 10-24 Pittsburgh Steelers 73,718
11/21 L 7-10 New York Jets 64,060
11/28 L 48-58 at Cincinnati Bengals 68,295
12/5 L 15-42 New England Patriots 72,718
12/12 L 7-37 at Buffalo Bills 46,267
12/19 L 0-21 San Diego Chargers 73,098
12/26 L 7-10 at Miami Dolphins 69,348
1/2 W 22-14 at Houston Texans 73,528
Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 67 62 55 92 0 --- 276
Opponents 107 107 72 101 3 --- 390
Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 245 307
Rushing 94 141
Passing 125 144
Penalty 26 22
3rd Down: Made/Att 59/203 78/216
3rd Down Pct. 29.1 36.1
4th Down: Made/Att 7/16 7/16
4th Down Pct. 43.8 43.8
Possesion Avg. 28:03 31:57
Total Net Yards 4481 5215
Avg. Per Game 280.1 325.9
Total Plays 921 1024
Avg. Per Play 4.9 5.1
Net Yards Rushing 1657 2314
Avg. Per Game 103.6 144.6
Total Rushes 441 532
Net Yards Passing 2824 2901
Avg. Per Game 176.5 181.3
Sacked/Yards Lost 41/252 32/190
Gross Yards 3076 3091
Attempts/Completions 439/251 460/277
Completion Pct. 57.2 60.2
Had Intercepted 21 15
Punts/Avg. 85/40.0 85/41.6
Net Punting Avg. 85/35.4 85/33.9
Penalties/Yards Lost 115/854 109/890
Fumbles/Ball Lost 32/19 20/13
Touchdowns 29 45
Rushing 6 22
Passing 21 17
Returns 2 6
Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Dawson, Phil 0 0 0 0 28/28 0 0 24/29 0 100
Heiden, Steve 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 32
Bryant, Antonio LG 0 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 24
Bryant, Antonio TM 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 24
Shea, Aaron 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 24
Browns 6 21 2 0 28/28 0 0 24/29 0 276
Opponents 22 17 6 0 44/44 0 0 24/28 1 390
Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Suggs, Lee 199 744 3.7 39 2
Green, William 163 585 3.6 46 2
Garcia, Jeff 35 169 4.8 21 2
Jackson, James TM 12 81 6.8 38 0
Echemandu, Adimchinobe 8 25 3.1 6 0
Browns 441 1,657 3.8 46 6
Opponents 532 2,314 4.3 52 22
Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Bryant, Antonio LG 58 812 14 55t 4
Bryant, Antonio TM 42 546 13 55t 4
Northcutt, Dennis 55 806 14.7 58t 2
Heiden, Steve 28 287 10.3 30 5
Shea, Aaron 26 252 9.7 35 4
Browns 251 3,076 12.3 99t 21
Opponents 277 3,091 11.2 72t 17
Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Henry, Anthony 4 83 20.8 51 0
Davis, Andra 3 35 11.7 30 0
Sanders, Lewis 2 36 18.0 24 0
McCutcheon, Daylon 2 0 0.0 2 0
Gardner, Barry 1 30 30.0 20 0
Browns 15 250 16.7 51 1
Opponents 21 232 11 106t 2
Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Frost, Derrick 85 3,404 40 35.4 4 24 54
Browns 85 3,404 40 35.4 4 24 54
Opponents 85 3,537 41.6 33.9 11 21 62
Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
Northcutt, Dennis 36 12 432 12 44 0
Browns 36 12 432 12 44 0
Opponents 48 10 313 6.5 49 0
Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Alston, Richard 46 1016 22.1 93t 1
Brown, Dee 13 243 18.7 30 0
King, Andre 5 95 19 24 0
Jackson, Frismond 4 70 17.5 22 0
Jackson, James TM 2 39 19.5 23 0
Browns 75 1504 20.1 93t 1
Opponents 59 1336 22.6 93t 1
Field Goals
1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ Tot
Dawson, Phil 0/0 11/11 6/8 6/9 1/1 24/29
Browns 0/0 11/11 6/8 6/9 1/1 24/29
Opponents 0/0 7/8 9/9 6/9 2/2 24/28
Passing
Att Cmp Yds Pct Av/At th th% Int Int% LG Tkld Rating
Garcia, Jeff 252 144 1,731 57.1 6.87 10 4 9 3.6 99t 24/99 76.7
McCown, Luke 98 48 608 49 6.2 4 4.1 7 7.1 58t 12/122 52.6
Holcomb, Kelly 87 59 737 67.8 8.47 7 8 5 5.7 55t 5/31 96.8
Echemandu, Adimchinobe 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 39.6
Jackson, Frismond 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 39.6
Browns 439 251 3076 57.2 7.01 21 4.8 21 4.8 99t 41/252 74.9
Opponents 460 277 3091 60.2 6.72 17 3.7 15 3.3 72t 32/190 79