Browns are 4-1 for first time since Bill Belichick was their head coach, Nick Saban their defensive coordinator
Usually Cleveland Brown's fans shudder every time Bill Belichick's time with the team is referred to. It's OK this time.
The Browns are 4-1 and the last time was in 1994 when Belichick was their coach and the University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban was their defensive coordinator. Belichick and Saban have since won enough rings to open a jewelry store. The Browns became a running joke in the NFL.
Regardless of what happens the rest of the season, the Browns and their fans should feel great about the start of this season. They won their fourth straight win with a 32:23 win over the Indianapolis Colts, who also came in 3-1.
The Colts are a quality team and are considered a potential division winner. Maybe the Browns are on a playoff path too.
The Browns were 7-3 behind early on, but got hot in the second quarter. Baker Mayfield threw a couple of touchdown passes. Cleveland was leading 20-10 at halftime. In the third quarter, Colt's quarterback Philip Rivers wired a pass that was picked up by Brown's security Ronnie Harrison and returned 47 yards for a touchdown, giving Cleveland a 27-10 lead.
Unable to make anything easier, the Browns gave up a kickoff-return touchdown right after Harrison's score. A lead of 27-10 became 27-20. But Myles Garrett's pressure on rivers in the end zone caused an intentional grounding, which is a security when it comes into the end zone.
The Colts cut Cleveland's lead to 29-23 after Mayfield's second interception, and the Browns took the ball in under three minutes and took a few early defeats to freeze the game. D'Ernest Johnson, who has extra playing time with Nick Chubb due to a knee injury, had a huge 28-yard run in third and ninth place just before the two-minute warning, and that brought the Browns into the field target area. Cody Parkey hit a field goal with 21 seconds that bounced off the left post and sealed the victory. The Browns don't usually take such breaks.
In 1994 the Browns used this 4-1 start to reach the playoffs. In 1995 things started to fall apart. Art Modell decided to move the team to Baltimore after the season.
A good team went 5-11 amid all the distractions. Belichick was fired and became the greatest coach in NFL history with the New England Patriots. The Browns did not return to the NFL until 1999 and have not won a playoff game since then. You were only in the playoffs once. There haven't been so many bright days for the Browns since 1994.
It has been a long wait, but maybe the Browns will write a new story this season.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins (82) and quarterback Baker Mayfield celebrate after a 15-yard touchdown. (AP Photo / David Richard)
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