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Throwback Thursday: 1994 Browns begin dominant defensive stretch with shutout of Arizona

Through two games in 1994, the Browns were 1-1, but the defense wasn't clicking the way Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Nick Saban had hoped.

The Browns beat the Bengals, 28-20, in the season opener and followed it up with a 17-10 loss to the Steelers. The defense awakened in a big way Sept. 18, when Arizona came to Cleveland Browns Stadium and left without a single point.

The first and only shutout of the season was sealed in the final minutes, as safety Eric Turner returned an errant Jim McMahon pass 93 yards for a touchdown to put Cleveland on top, 32-0. Turner finished his 1994 Pro Bowl season with nine interceptions and made numerous all-pro teams.

The Cardinals scooted down the field in garbage time with Jay Schroeder at quarterback, but James Jones' fourth-down tackle of Larry Centers at the Browns' 5-yard line kept the goose egg in tact.

In the following four games after the shutout, Cleveland didn't allow more than 14 points to any of its opponents. The Browns won all four and moved to 6-1.

The Browns offense started slow and only mustered three points by halftime against the Cardinals. The third quarter was all Cleveland needed, though, as Vinny Testaverde scored the first touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback sneak and followed with a 16-yard pass to Tommy Vardell. Tom Tupa ran in the two-point conversion to give the Browns an 18-0 lead.

One of Cleveland's biggest offensive plays of the season came in the fourth quarter, as Testaverde connected with rookie Derrick Alexander for an 81-yard touchdown. Alexander finished the season with the team lead in receptions (48) and yards (828).

A look back at the previous matchups between the Browns and Cardinals. Cleveland leads the all-time series 33-13-3.

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