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Throwback Game the Week - Cleveland at Denver

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09/17/2009
Games between the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos have escalated into one of the great rivalries in the National Football League. Much of this is due the three AFC championship games in a four a year-span of the late 1980s that featured the two clubs. However, the action in the regular season has been nearly as intense. The Browns and Broncos meet Sunday for the 23rd time in the regular season. The Broncos enter the game at INVESCO Field at Mile High with a significant 17-5 lead in the series. Denver currently has an eight-game win streak over Cleveland dating back to 1990.


First Time:

Dec. 20, 1970 – Cleveland traveled to Denver for the season finale but learned before kickoff that the Cincinnati Bengals had already clinched the division with a win over the Boston Patriots earlier in the day. The Browns built a 10-6 halftime lead and blew the game wide open with 17 unanswered points in the third quarter that included two TD passes by QB Bill Nelsen. Running back Bo Scott had one rushing and one receiving touchdown to lead Cleveland. Coach Blanton Collier was carried off the field after the 27-13 win by some of his players having coached his last game for the Browns.

Last Time: 
Nov. 6, 2008 – Quarterback Jay Cutler led Denver from a 13-point deficit in the third quarter to a 34-30 victory over the Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Thursday night. It gave the Broncos its 400th victory in franchise history. Cutler, who finished with 447 passing yards and 3 TDs, connected with Brandon Marshall on the game-winning 11-yard TD with 1:14 to play. The Broncos’ Eddie Royal set a team rookie record with 164 receiving yards that included a 93-yard touchdown catch. The Browns had built an early lead on two Brady Quinn-to-Kellen Winslow TD pass plays. 

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Hall of Fame Members

The Browns are represented in the Pro Football Hall of Famer with 16 longtime members of the franchise plus five others who played briefly with Cleveland. The most recent enshrine is guard Gene Hickerson who was elected in 2007. Broncos enshrined in Canton are quarterback John Elway and tackle Gary Zimmerman. Two other Hall of Fame members, cornerback Willie Brown and running back Tony Dorsett, also played in Denver albeit for a brief part of their careers.


Records found in the NFL Record Book

Cleveland holds the NFL record for consecutive games of scoring a touchdown. The Browns managed to find the end zone in 166 straight games. The streak spanned from 1957 to 1969. The next closest team to the Browns remarkable run is the San Diego Chargers who are currently on a 102-game streak.

Denver rallied from a 38-7 deficit to the Buffalo Bills on Nov. 27, 1960 to tie the game 38-38. The 31-point margin marks the greatest number of points overcome to tie a game.

Throwback Game
October 8, 1990

One of the best rivalries of the 1980s pitted the Cleveland Browns against the Denver Broncos. Much of the bitterness was fueled by the Broncos’ victories in three AFC championship games over a four-year period. Heading into this battle on Monday Night Football, the Broncos had also controlled the Browns in the regular season having won 11 of the previous 12 meetings. Needless to say, the feelings between the two teams had reached acrid levels.

Both clubs were off to disappointing starts to the ’90 season when they collided at Denver’s Mile High Stadium in Week Five. Cleveland entered the game with a 1-3 record while Denver sported an even 2-2 win-loss record. However, the records did not matter much in this matchup. For Cleveland it was a chance to prove to themselves and their fans that they were the better team. For Denver, any time they stepped on the field against Cleveland the energy of the crowd was sure to be electric.

With pride on the line the game was a see-saw affair in the first half. A blocked punt by Denver which led to a safety gave the Broncos a 19-13 advantage at the end of the first half. Both teams traded jabs for much of the second half.

Cleveland trailed by nine points with 7:12 remaining in regulation. Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar, who finished the game with 318 yards and 3 TDs, took charge of the Cleveland offense and led Cleveland on back-to-back long scoring drives. After a 24-yard TD pass to receiver Brian Brennan brought the Brown to within two, Kosar made three key completions on the ensuing drive which advanced the Browns to the Denver 12-yard-line. Browns kicker Jerry Kauric, a free-agent signed out of the Canadian Football League who had supplanted the popular Matt Bahr in the preseason, booted the game-winning 30-yard field goal as time expired to give the Browns a 30-29 win.

This was the lone bright spot in what would become a dismal season for the Browns. Midway through the year the team’s coach, Bud Carson, was fired and Cleveland only won one more game. Denver did not fare much better as the Broncos finished the season with a 5-11 record.

Nevertheless, this exciting game proved to be a masterful encore to a period in NFL history when the Browns and Broncos provided a number of thrilling games. It also marked the last time that the Browns have beaten the Broncos.

Cleveland 6 7 7 10 - 30
Denver 7 12 0 10 - 29
A – 74,814
 
DEN – Elway 13 run (Treadwell kick)
CLE – Metcalf 5 run (kick failed)
DEN – Treadwell 20 FG
CLE – Slaughter 43 pass from Kosar (Kauric kick)
DEN – Humphrey 19 run (Treadwell kick)
DEN – Safety, blocked punt by Fletcher
CLE – Mack 11 pass from Kosar (Kauric kick)
DEN – Jackson 16 run (Treadwell kick)
DEN – Treadwell 25 FG
CLE – Brennan 24 pass from Kosar (Kauric kick)
CLE – Kauric 30 FG


Game Program Cover | Official Gamebook (PDF)

More Broncos & Browns on Profootballhof.com
Team histories
Cleveland | Denver

Photos
Floyd Little, Broncos first 1,000-yard rusher & 2010 Hall of Fame nominee
Broncos Hall of Famers
Browns in the Hall of Fame
Otto Graham, the Browns’ legendary QB

Artifacts –
 Paul Brown’s unusual creation
 Garcia connects with Davis for 99-yard TD
 Glyn Milburn’s shoes from big day
 Gary Zimmerman’s Throwback helmet

Some other stories on Broncos & Browns
The Drive
Browns dominated AAFC, 1946-49. League standings
Jim Brown’s final performance
Mile High QB
Terrell Davis’ 1998 season
1,000-yard duo: Byner & Mack

 

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