For a fleeting moment, it looked like the Cleveland Browns had a chance Sunday in snowy Chicago against the Bears.
Defensive end Myles Garrett grabbed an interception and returned it for a touchdown to start the third quarter. It looked like the Browns had just taken a 9-6 lead with the extra point on the way. They had momentum. But the Browns are the Browns, and there was an offsides penalty on Garrett’s touchdown. The score came back.
That seemed to take the air out of the Browns, because the Bears rolled over them 20-3 after that.
That play is the Browns season in a nutshell. Rather, the last two seasons in a nutshell. Any glimmer of hope is wiped out immediately by some dumb mistake. Given a reprieve from the Garrett touchdown, the Bears drove downfield and Jordan Howard scored to give the Bears a 13-3 lead. It was about that moment, in a snowstorm, when it was clear the Browns were going to 0-15. Hue Jackson is now 1-30 in his Browns coaching career.
Next week doesn’t look any better for Cleveland in its quest to avoid 0-16. The Browns travel to face the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are battling for a first-round bye. They won’t be sitting starters. If the Browns avoid becoming the second 0-16 team in NFL history, it will be against a motivated Steelers team on the road. Good luck.
Theoretically there are brighter days ahead. Cleveland clinched the first overall pick of the draft with the loss on Sunday, and with it should bring a quarterback who can give them some hope. However, Sunday brought another round of bad news on that front, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen would rather play for the New York Giants, who are the favorite to get the second pick. We’ll see how that plays out.
For now, the Browns are on the doorstep of history they don’t want any part of. The 2008 Detroit Lions are the only 0-16 team in NFL history (the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were winless too, but were 0-14).
The Browns could join those Lions next week, and then we’ll start discussing if they’re the worst NFL team of all time.
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