Sunday, September 21, 1969
Browns 27, Philadelphia Eagles 20
Franklin Field (60,698)
Despite losing RB Leroy Kelly to a pulled hamstring in the opening minutes, the Browns overwhelmed the Eagles on opening day with superior depth and a strong defense. Three plays after Kelly was sidelined, QB Bill Nelsen hit WR Gary Collins for a 35-yard touchdown pass that gave the visitors a lead they would not relinquish. Rookie RB Ron Johnson, playing in his first NFL game, filled in marvelously for Kelly, picking up 118 yards on 17 carries and scoring a pair of touchdowns, including a 48-yard scamper in the third quarter to put the Browns up 27-7. Though Johnson would go on to much success with the New York Giants in the 1970s, this would be the only 100-yard game of his one-year Cleveland career. All three of the Eagles' touchdowns were freakish - one set up after Cleveland DB Erich Barnes deflected a field-goal attempt at the crossbar and the Eagles recovered to give them a first down at the Cleveland 2, another on an interception return, and the third in the final minute after Philadelphia recovered an onside kick. The Eagles recovered another onside kick moments later and had a final opportunity to tie, but DB Mike Howell intercepted Philly QB Norm Snead to secure the Cleveland win.
1 2 3 4
Browns 7 6 14 0 = 27
Eagles 0 7 0 13 = 20
CLE-Collins 35-yd. pass from Nelsen (Cockroft kick)
CLE-Cockroft 22-yd. FG
PHI-Woodeshick 1-yd. run (Baker kick)
CLE-Cockroft 37-yd. FG
CLE-R.Johnson 1-yd. run (Cockroft kick)
CLE-R.Johnson 48-yd. run (Cockroft kick)
PHI-Scarpati 34-yd. interception return (kick failed)
PHI-Hawkins 41-yd. pass from Snead (Baker kick)
CLE: Nelsen 11-26-177 1 TD 2 INT, Morrison 1-1-16 0 TD 0 INT, Rhome 1-1-3 0 TD 0 INT
PHI: Snead 11-24-148 1 TD 2 INT, Mira 1-7-20 0 TD 0 INT
CLE: R.Johnson 17-118, Morrison 16-48, Kelly 3-9, Nelsen 1-(-2)
PHI: Woodeshick 14-63, Keyes 3-10, Mira 2-10, Wilson 3-5, Snead 2-0
CLE: Collins 3-58, Morin 2-38, Morrison 2-32, Hooker 2-21, R.Johnson 2-21, Glass 1-17, Warfield 1-9
PHI: Hawkins 4-92, Ballman 3-45, Jackson 2-17, Keyes 1-11, Wilson 1-6, Woodeshick 1-(-3)
Text reproduced from The Browns Bible:The Complete Game-By-Game History of the Cleveland Browns by Jonathan Knight, The Kent State University Press
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