2018 Revisited: A Cleveland Browns Update

A view of a packed Cleveland Browns game at the FirstEnergy Stadium

We checked in with the Cleveland Browns earlier this season, but it’s time for some additional updates. With new players, new staffing, and lots of plays up their sleeve, it was an exciting time to watch our hometown soar. Read on for a comprehensive Cleveland Browns update from Hard Rock Rocksino. [Image above attributed to: clevescene.com]

The Browns Turn It Around

In 2017, the Cleveland Browns hit an all-time low by playing through an entire season without a single win. A lot has changed since then. But let’s look back before we go through the highlights. 2018 all started with the “Perfect Parade” celebrating the team’s 0-16 finish from the 2017 season.  Over 3,000 people showed up to the charity event in an ode to one of the worst seasons in professional sports history. The turnout was a big reminder of the fact that, despite logging just one win in two years under Hue Jackson, the city and the fans love this team and will stand behind them, win or lose.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker MayfieldAttribute: News 5 Cleveland

A Cleveland Browns Update with Offseason Moves

Every Cleveland Browns update should start before the season kicks off. The Browns were movers and shakers in the offseason. They started by signing free agent OT Chris Hubbard to a 5-season deal worth over $35 million. New GM John Dorsey, former GM of the Kansas City Chiefs, continued to make plenty of moves in the offseason. They also traded a 3rd round pick for Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor. The plan was for Taylor to play under center for most of the 2018 season. As you know, that would not be the case. Dorsey also pulled the trigger on two cornerbacks, signing T.J. Carrie and Terrance Mitchell.

A number of the Browns picks would go on to make a big impact on the team and the season, most notably Baker Mayfield. In drafting Mayfield with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, Dorsey showed that he was ready to take chances, and make bold moves. The Texas Tech walk-on-turned-superstar transferred to Oklahoma, where he would be named the starter in 2015. While riddled with controversy, his college career included three conference championships and a Rose Bowl trip. Mayfield was awarded the Heisman Trophy at the close of the 2017 season, making him the first walk-on player ever to receive the honor. Though Hue Jackson’s tenure was one win away from total failure, Dorsey stuck to his gun;  Jackson would stay on board to coach Mayfield and the new-look Browns in the 2018 season.

It wouldn’t be a Cleveland Browns update without mentioning the viral Bud Light fridges all across the cityAttribute: Business Insider

Early Season Highs and Lows

At the onset of the 2018 season, Bud Light announced that it would place locked beer fridges all over the city. When the team won, they would unlock the fridges and city would get free beer. The campaign went viral and the city only had to wait 3 weeks to crack the brews. Does that mean the season started with 2 losses? Nope. In week 1, the Browns and division rival Steelers would play to a tie when a late, game-sealing field goal attempt was blocked. Week 2’s adventure against the Saints would end in similar fashion, with kicker Zane Gonzalez missing a 52 yarder that would have sent the game into overtime. The week-3 win came in a dramatic fashion against the Jets, as Tyrod Taylor suffered a concussion, sending rookie Baker Mayfield into an NFL game for the first time. He led multiple scoring drives, including a go-ahead score down field with two minutes to go. In week four, the Raiders and Browns would go down to the wire in a game of comebacks. Ultimately, the Raiders would take the W, thanks to a chip-shot field goal in overtime. The loss dropped the Browns to 1-2-1 on the season.

Mid-Season Blues and Big Moves

The game 5 win against Baltimore was a big one, bringing the squad to 2-2-1 under Jackson for the season. New kicker Greg Joseph kicked the game winner as time expired. Week 6 got ugly. Hosting the Chargers, the Browns fell 38-14, dropping to 2-3-1. Week 7’s affair with Tampa Bay called for another epic comeback, yet ended in another painful loss. Bucs Kicker Chandler Catanzaro nailed a 59-yard blast with just under two minutes remaining. The 26-23 defeat brought the Browns down to 2-4-1. The Steelers dropped the browns to 2-5-1 in a game where the Browns struggled to find the end zone. The final tally was 33-18.

Following the loss, Hue Jackson was let go. More surprisingly, offensive coordinator Todd Haley was released as well. The team named Gregg Williams interim head coach and assigned running backs coach Freddie Kitchens to Haley’s former role. Unfortunately for Williams and Kitchens, they were forced to face the red-hot Chiefs in week 9. The game served as an exciting rematch between two former collegiate foes: Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield. The Chiefs proved too much for the Browns defense as they fell 37-21 and dropped to 2-6-1 on the season.

Cleveland Browns running back Nick ChubbAttribute: Dawgs By Nature

The Late-Season Upswing

Week 10 served as Mayfield’s breakout game. He threw for three touchdowns while RB Nick Chubb had a career game and a record-setting 92-yard run to capitalize the W. The win brought the team to 3-6-1 and gave Williams his first win as head coach. The Browns went on to beat the Bengals handily, 35-20, followed by a tough loss in week 13 to the Texans. The loss dropped the Browns to 4-7-1. They rebounded in week 14, intercepting Carolina QB on the final drive, holding on to win 26-20 and keeping playoff hopes alive at 5-7-1.

The Dawgs from The Land played with poise and purpose in week 15, defeating the Denver Broncos by a score of 17-6. The team improved to 6-7-1 on the year. But with division for Pittsburgh winning the next day, their playoff hopes ended. The team beat the Bengals a week later, effectively sweeping their state rival. And in the final game of the season, the Brownies came 2 points short of a comeback against the Ravens.

Looking Ahead

Recently, the team named Offensive Coordinator Freddie Kitchens as the new head coach. Freddie is respected both inside and outside of the organization. While the Browns ended the season below 500, they lost many close games. With the right puzzle pieces in place in 2019, this team could potentially snatch the division. To go from 0 wins to 7 wins and a tie is no small feat. The team also landed in 3rd place in the AFC North, rising up a spot from the division basement. With the cool and confident Baker Mayfield under center, proven coaches calling plays, a stout offensive line in place, 996-yard rusher Nick Chubb running the ball, and an improving defensive unit, nobody should count the Browns out of the AFC North Division race next year.

It might be time to plan a weekend trip to Cleveland to catch a game next season at Hard Rock Rocksino!

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