2020 Cleveland Browns season
OwnerJimmy Haslam
General managerAndrew Berry
Head coachKevin Stefanski
Home fieldFirstEnergy Stadium
Results
Record11–5
Division place3rd AFC North
Playoff finishWon Wild Card Playoffs (at Steelers) 48–37
Lost Divisional Playoffs (at Chiefs) 17–22
Pro BowlersG Joel Bitonio
RB Nick Chubb
DE Myles Garrett
AP All-ProsOT Jack Conklin (1st team)
DE Myles Garrett (1st team)
G Joel Bitonio (2nd team)
G Wyatt Teller (2nd team)
Uniform
Cleveland browns uniforms20.png

The 2020 season was the Cleveland Browns' 68th as a member of the National Football League, their 72nd overall, and their first under general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski. The Browns improved on their 6–10 record from 2019 and finished 11–5, clinching their first winning season since 2007 and their best since 1994. They also ended their franchise-record and league-high 18-year playoff drought, making it to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.[1]

In the Wild Card Round, the Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 48–37, marking their first playoff win since the 1994 season.[2] The next week, the Browns were defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round, 22–17, which ended the Browns' hopes of returning to the AFC Championship game for the first time since 1989.

Offseason

Front office changes

On December 31, 2019, the Browns and general manager John Dorsey mutually agreed to part ways.[3] Dorsey had served as the Browns' GM since December 2017.

On January 27, 2020, the Browns hired former Philadelphia Eagles' vice president of football operations Andrew Berry as general manager. Berry previously served as the Browns' vice president of player personnel from 2016 to 2018.[4] At age 32, Berry became the youngest general manager in NFL history.[5]

On January 29, the Browns and vice president of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith and assistant general manager Eliot Wolf mutually agreed to part ways after the hiring of Berry. Both had served in their roles since the 2017 hiring of Dorsey.[6]

Coaching changes

On December 29, 2019, the Browns fired head coach Freddie Kitchens. In one season as Browns' head coach, Kitchens posted a 6–10 (.375) record.[7]

On January 13, 2020, the Browns hired long-time Minnesota Vikings assistant Kevin Stefanski as head coach. Stefanski served as a Vikings' assistant coach from 2006 to 2019, which included his last two seasons there as their offensive coordinator. This marked Stefanski's first NFL head coaching job.[8]

On January 29, the Browns hired former Cincinnati Bengals' quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt as offensive coordinator. Van Pelt, who served as offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills in 2009, replaced Todd Monken, who was not retained by Stefanski.[9]

On February 7, the Browns hired former San Francisco 49ers' defensive backs coach Joe Woods as defensive coordinator. Woods, who previously served as the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos from 2017 to 2018, replaced Steve Wilks, who was not retained by Stefanski.[10]

Roster changes

Players added

Position Player Tag 2019 team Date
DT Andrew Billings UFA Cincinnati Bengals March 19[11]
DE Adrian Clayborn UFA Atlanta Falcons March 31[12]
OT Jack Conklin UFA Tennessee Titans March 18[11]
LB B.J. Goodson UFA Green Bay Packers March 20[11]
TE Austin Hooper UFA Atlanta Falcons March 18[11]
CB Kevin Johnson UFA Buffalo Bills March 19[11]
S Karl Joseph UFA Oakland Raiders March 19[11]
QB Case Keenum UFA Washington Redskins March 18[11]
WR JoJo Natson UFA Los Angeles Rams March 19[11]
CB Donovan Olumba UFA Dallas Cowboys March 23[13]
S Andrew Sendejo UFA Minnesota Vikings March 20[11]

Players lost

Position Player Tag Date lost 2020 team Date
S Morgan Burnett Release March 16[14]
CB T. J. Carrie Release February 17[15] Indianapolis Colts March 31[16]
TE Demetrius Harris Release February 17[15] Chicago Bears February 20[17]
LB Christian Kirksey Release March 10[18] Green Bay Packers March 16[19]
G Eric Kush Release February 17[15] Las Vegas Raiders March 30[20]
S Eric Murray UFA March 18 Houston Texans March 21[21]
S Damarious Randall UFA March 18 Las Vegas Raiders April 3[22]
LB Joe Schobert UFA March 18 Jacksonville Jaguars March 18[23]
TE Ricky Seals-Jones UFA March 18 Kansas City Chiefs April 3[24]
LB Adarius Taylor Release February 17[15] Carolina Panthers July 27[25]

2020 draft class

Main article: 2020 NFL Draft

2020 Cleveland Browns Draft
Round Selection Player Position College Notes
1 10 Jedrick Wills OT Alabama
2 44 Grant Delpit S LSU from Indianapolis
3 88 Jordan Elliott DT Missouri from New Orleans
97 Jacob Phillips ILB LSU from Houston
4 115 Harrison Bryant TE Florida Atlantic
5 160 Nick Harris C Washington from Indianapolis
6 187 Donovan Peoples-Jones WR Michigan from Arizona

Notes

Undrafted free agents

Player Position College Signed Cut
Solomon Ajayi LB Liberty April 25[30] September 5[31]
Elijah Benton S Liberty April 25[30] September 5[31]
Ja'Marcus Bradley WR Louisiana April 25[30] September 5[31]
Tony Brown WR Colorado April 25[30]
Kevin Davidson QB Princeton April 25[30] September 5[31]
Drake Dorbeck OT Southern Miss April 25[30] August 6[32]
A.J. Green CB Oklahoma State April 25[30] September 5[31]
Brian Herrien RB Georgia April 25[30] August 4
Jameson Houston CB Baylor April 25[30]
Benny LeMay RB Charlotte April 25[30] September 5[31]
Jovante Moffatt S Middle Tennessee State April 25[30] September 5[31]
George Obinna DE Sacramento State April 25[30]
Alex Taylor OT South Carolina State April 25[30] September 5[31]
Jeffery Whatley DE South Alabama April 25[30]
Nate Wieting TE Iowa April 25[30]

Opt-outs

The NFL and the NFLPA reached an agreement on July 24 to allow players to opt out of playing the 2020 season due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These players would not be paid for the season, but receive an advance of $150,000 to $350,000 from their 2021 salary. The following five players opted out of this season:[32]

Uniform changes

On April 15, the Browns unveiled new uniforms to be used starting in the 2020 season. The jerseys are brown with white numbers, white with brown numbers. The two main jerseys feature the five-stripe sleeve pattern used prior to 2015. The pants are brown or white, each with an orange-brown-orange stripe pattern on the sides; or orange with a brown-white-brown stripe pattern. The "Cleveland" wordmark on the front of the jerseys and the "Browns" wordmark on the side of the pants were removed. The team also added an alternate uniform, a brown jersey and pants with orange numbers. This is similar to the former "Color Rush" uniform, but with the stripes removed on both the jersey and pants.[33] The changes generally constituted a reversion to the uniforms which the Browns wore up until the 2014 season.[34][35] The general reception to the uniforms was positive.[34][35]

Staff

2020 Cleveland Browns staff
Front office
  • Owners – Jimmy Haslam, Dee Haslam, Whitney Haslam-Johnson, JW Johnson (EVP)
  • Chief strategy officer – Paul DePodesta
  • EVP/chief operating officer – David Jenkins
  • General manager/EVP of football operations – Andrew Berry
  • Vice president of football administration – Chris Cooper
  • Vice president of football operations – Kwesi Adofo-Mensah
  • Vice president of player personnel – Glenn Cook
  • Vice president of research and strategy – Andrew Healy
  • Vice president of player personnel process and development – Ken Kovash
  • Director of player personnel – Dan Saganey
  • Assistant director of pro personnel – Adam Al-Khayyal
  • Director of research and strategy – Dave Giuliani
  • Director of scouting research – Mike Cetta
  • Senior football advisor – Ryan Grigson
  • Special advisor – Jim Brown

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches
  • Defensive coordinator – Joe Woods
  • Defensive line – Chris Kiffin
  • Assistant defensive line – Jeremy Garrett
  • Linebackers – Jason Tarver
  • Defensive pass game coordinator/defensive backs – Jeff Howard
  • Assistant defensive backs – Brandon Lynch
  • Senior defensive assistant – Ben Bloom
  • Defensive quality control – Stephen Bravo-Brown

Special teams coaches

  • Special teams coordinator – Mike Priefer
  • Assistant special teams – Doug Colman
  • Coaching assistant – Ryan Cordell

Strength and conditioning

  • Director of high performance – Shaun Huls
  • Director of strength and conditioning – Larry Jackson
  • Strength and conditioning assistant/sports science – Josh Christovich
  • Strength and conditioning assistant – Monty Gibson
  • Strength and conditioning assistant – Dale Jones
  • Strength and conditioning assistant – Evan Marcus

Final roster

2020 Cleveland Browns final roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad


Rookies in italics
55 active, 18 inactive, 14 practice squad (+2 exempt)

Preseason

The Browns' preseason schedule was announced on May 7, but was later cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[36]

Week Date Opponent Venue Result
1 August 15 at Chicago Bears Soldier Field Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2 August 22 at Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field
3 August 30 Minnesota Vikings FirstEnergy Stadium
4 September 3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers FirstEnergy Stadium

Regular season

Schedule

The Browns' 2020 schedule was announced on May 7.[36]

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Recap
1 September 13 at Baltimore Ravens L 6–38 0–1 M&T Bank Stadium Recap
2 September 17 Cincinnati Bengals W 35–30 1–1 FirstEnergy Stadium Recap
3 September 27 Washington Football Team W 34–20 2–1 FirstEnergy Stadium Recap
4 October 4 at Dallas Cowboys W 49–38 3–1 AT&T Stadium Recap
5 October 11 Indianapolis Colts W 32–23 4–1 FirstEnergy Stadium Recap
6 October 18 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 7–38 4–2 Heinz Field Recap
7 October 25 at Cincinnati Bengals W 37–34 5–2 Paul Brown Stadium Recap
8 November 1 Las Vegas Raiders L 6–16 5–3 FirstEnergy Stadium Recap
9 Bye
10 November 15 Houston Texans W 10–7 6–3 FirstEnergy Stadium Recap
11 November 22 Philadelphia Eagles W 22–17 7–3 FirstEnergy Stadium Recap
12 November 29 at Jacksonville Jaguars W 27–25 8–3 TIAA Bank Field Recap
13 December 6 at Tennessee Titans W 41–35 9–3 Nissan Stadium Recap
14 December 14 Baltimore Ravens L 42–47 9–4 FirstEnergy Stadium Recap
15 December 20 at New York Giants W 20–6 10–4 MetLife Stadium Recap
16 December 27 at New York Jets L 16–23 10–5 MetLife Stadium Recap
17 January 3 Pittsburgh Steelers W 24–22 11–5 FirstEnergy Stadium Recap

Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Game summaries

Week 1: at Baltimore Ravens

Week One: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Browns 6 0 006
Ravens 10 14 7738

at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

Game information

The Browns traveled to Baltimore to start their season. The Ravens took advantage of two early Browns turnovers with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson to Mark Andrews and a Justin Tucker 41-yard field goal to take a 10–0 lead. The Browns cut the Ravens' lead to 10–6 late in the first quarter on a Baker Mayfield 1-yard touchdown pass to David Njoku, however Austin Seibert would miss the extra point. The Ravens dominated the rest of the game, scoring 28 unanswered points on two additional Jackson touchdown passes to Andrews and Willie Snead, as well as two touchdown runs by rookie J. K. Dobbins, to win 38–6.

With the loss, the Browns started their season 0–1. They failed to win in Week 1 for the 16th consecutive season.

After the game, the Browns released Seibert after he missed an extra point and field goal attempt. The Browns signed Cody Parkey from their practice squad to replace Seibert.[37]

Week 2: vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Week Two: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Bengals 3 10 31430
Browns 7 14 7735

at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

Game information

The Browns opened the home portion of their schedule with a Thursday night game against their in-state rival, the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals received the opening kickoff and put together a 15-play drive, culminating in a Randy Bullock field goal to take a 3–0 lead. The Browns responded with a 10-play drive of their own, but were able to find the end zone on a Nick Chubb 11-yard run to take a 7–3 lead. The teams exchanged scores in the second quarter: The Browns scored a touchdown on a 43-yard pass from Baker Mayfield to Odell Beckham Jr., the Bengals responded with a Joe Burrow 23-yard touchdown pass to C. J. Uzomah, the Browns struck back with a Mayfield touchdown pass to Kareem Hunt, and the Bengals added another Bullock field goal, giving the Browns a 21–13 lead going into halftime.

The Browns struck first in the third quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run by Chubb. This was set up Myles Garrett forcing a Burrow fumble, which was recovered by Joe Jackson at the Bengals' 1 yard-line. Bullock kicked another field goal to make it 28–16 after three-quarters. The Bengals closed the Browns' lead to 28–23 midway through the fourth quarter on a Burrow 9-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd set up by a Mayfield interception. However, the Browns regained a two-score lead on a Hunt 1-yard touchdown run set up by long runs from Hunt and Chubb. The Bengals added a touchdown in the final minute but could not recover an onside kick attempt, allowing the Browns to run out the clock in a 35–30 win.

With the win, the Browns improved to 1–1.

Week 3: vs. Washington Football Team

Week Three: Washington Football Team at Cleveland Browns – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Washington 7 0 13020
Browns 0 17 01734

at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

Game information

The Browns hosted Washington in Week 3. Washington took an early 7–0 lead on a Dwayne Haskins touchdown pass to Dontrelle Inman. In the second quarter, the Browns took advantage of two Haskins interceptions while scoring 17 points in the quarter: a Cody Parkey 42-yard field goal and a pair of touchdowns on a Nick Chubb 16-yard run and a Baker Mayfield 9-yard pass to Kareem Hunt to take a 17–7 lead into halftime. In the third quarter, Washington scored two touchdowns on an Antonio Gibson 2-yard run and a Haskins 11-yard pass to Inman to re-take the lead at 20–17. However, the Browns took a 24–20 lead on a Mayfield 3-yard touchdown pass to Harrison Bryant and built their lead to 31–20 on a Chub 20-yard touchdown run that was set up by another Haskins interception. Parkey added a late field goal to make the final score 34–20.

With the win, the Browns improved to 2–1. This win ended the longest active losing-record streak in the league; Week 4 was the first game since Week 15 of the 2014 season, a span of 90 games, in which the Browns entered with a record above .500.[38]

Week 4: at Dallas Cowboys

Week Four: Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Browns 7 24 10849
Cowboys 14 0 02438

at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Game information

The Browns traveled to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in Week 4. The Browns opened the scoring on a trick play as WR Jarvis Landry threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr. to take a 7–0 lead. The Cowboys then scored two touchdowns later in the quarter on Dak Prescott passes to CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper to tie the game and then take a 14–7 lead after the first quarter. The Browns took control of the game by scoring 34 straight points in the second and third quarters. In the second quarter, Baker Mayfield completed touchdown passes to Beckham and Austin Hooper, Kareem Hunt scored a touchdown run, and Cody Parkey added a field goal to give the Browns a 31–14 lead at halftime. The Browns scored on another Hunt run on their opening drive of the third quarter and added another Parkey field goal to build their lead to 41–14 after three-quarters.

However, the Cowboys mounted a comeback in the fourth quarter. They scored three touchdowns on a Tony Pollard run and Prescott passes to Dalton Schultz and Lamb – converting the two-point conversion each time – to cut the Browns' lead to 41–38 with 3:42 to go. However, the Browns recovered the Cowboys' on-side kick attempt and scored on the next play on a 50-yard run by Beckham. The extra point attempt was blocked, but a Cowboys player muffed the ball and the Browns tight end Stephen Carlson recovered it in the end zone for a two-point conversion, giving the Browns a 49–38 lead. On the ensuing possession, Denzel Ward intercepted a Prescott pass to seal the 49–38 win.

With the win, the Browns improved to 3–1. This marked the team's best 4-game start to a season since 2001. Defensive end Myles Garrett was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording two sacks and a forced fumble.[39]

Week 5: vs. Indianapolis Colts

Week Five: Indianapolis Colts at Cleveland Browns – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Colts 7 3 10323
Browns 3 17 7532

at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

Game information

The Browns returned home to host the Indianapolis Colts in a battle of 3–1 records. The Browns opened the scoring on a Cody Parkey 24-yard field goal on their opening drive to take a 3–0 lead. However, the Colts responded on their first drive with a Jonathan Taylor 4-yard touchdown to take a 7–3 lead. In the second quarter, the Browns took a 10–7 lead on a Baker Mayfield 2-yard touchdown pass to Kareem Hunt, but the Colts tied it at 10–10 as Rodrigo Blankenship hit a 32-yard field goal. The Browns would add a 15-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield to Rashard Higgins and a Parkey 34-yard field goal to take a 20–10 lead at halftime.

The Browns extended their lead to 27–10 as Ronnie Harrison intercepted a Philip Rivers pass and returned it for a touchdown. However, Isaiah Rodgers returned the ensuing kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown to cut the Browns' lead to 27–17. Blankenship would add another field goal on a drive set up by a Mayfield interception to cut the Browns' lead to 27–20. Early in the fourth quarter, the Browns recorded a safety on a Rivers intentional grounding penalty in the end zone to build their lead to two possessions, at 29–20. The teams traded late field goals to give the Browns a 32–23 win.

With the win, the Browns improved to 4–1. This marked the team's best 5–game start to a season since 1994. This was also their first 4-game winning streak since 2009.

Week 6: at Pittsburgh Steelers

Week Six: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Browns 0 7 007
Steelers 10 14 7738

at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Game information

The Browns traveled to Pittsburgh to take on their division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, hoping to end a 16-game losing streak to the Steelers in Pittsburgh, having last won there in 2003. However, Pittsburgh dominated the game from the beginning, opening the scoring with a Chris Boswell 35-yard field goal and a Minkah Fitzpatrick interception return for a touchdown on the Browns' third offensive play to take an early 10–0 lead. Pittsburgh added two more touchdowns in the second quarter on a James Conner run and a Ben Roethlisberger pass to James Washington to extend their lead to 24–0. Cleveland got on the board late in the quarter on a Baker Mayfield pass to Rashard Higgins to make it 24–7 at halftime. The Steelers continued their domination into the second half, adding a pair of touchdowns on a Roethlisberger pass to Chase Claypool and a Benny Snell run to make the final score 38–7.

Mayfield left the game late in the third quarter after aggravating a minor rib injury he suffered in the Browns' previous game. Backup Case Keenum served as the Browns' quarterback for the remainder of the game. The Browns' run offense, which came into the game averaging a league-leading 188 yards per game, was held to 75 yards.

With their 17th consecutive loss in Pittsburgh, the Browns fell to 4–2.

Week 7: at Cincinnati Bengals

Week Seven: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Browns 3 7 72037
Bengals 7 10 31434

at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Date: October 25
  • Game time: 1:00 pm. EDT
  • Game weather: Cloudy, 48 °F (9 °C)
  • Game attendance: 9,732
  • Referee: Tony Corrente
  • TV announcers (CBS): Spero Dedes and Adam Archuleta
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

The Browns traveled to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals, hoping to bounce back from the tough loss at Pittsburgh. After both teams had interceptions on their opening drives, Cincinnati opened the scoring with Joe Burrow 1-yard touchdown run to take a 7–0 lead. The teams then traded field goals before Cleveland scored on a Baker Mayfield 3-yard touchdown pass to Harrison Bryant. making the score 10–10. Cincinnati took a 17–10 lead into halftime on a Burrow 11-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd.

The second half saw the teams go back-and-forth. Cleveland tied the score at 17 with a Mayfield 6-yard touchdown pass to Bryant. Cincinnati took a 20–17 lead into the fourth quarter on a Randy Bullock 23-yard field goal. The fourth quarter featured an NFL record five go-ahead touchdown passes.[40] Cleveland took a 24–20 lead on a Mayfield 16-yard pass to David Njoku. Cincinnati went up 27–24 with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Burrow to Tee Higgins. Cleveland responded with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield to Kareem Hunt, taking a 31–27 lead. Cincinnati took the lead back, 34–31 with 1:06 remaining on a Burrow 3-yard touchdown pass to Giovani Bernard. The Browns drove down the field in the final minute and Mayfield connected with Donovan Peoples-Jones for a 24-yard touchdown, giving the Browns a 37–34 lead after missing the extra point attempt. An unsuccessful Hail Mary pass attempt by Burrow ended the game, with the Browns hanging on to a 37–34 win.

With the win, the Browns improved to 5–2. Mayfield was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his 297-yard, 5 touchdown performance.[41] He also set a franchise record with 21 consecutive completed passes.[42]

The following day, the Browns announced that WR Odell Beckham Jr., who left the game with a knee injury in the first quarter, suffered a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season.

On October 29, DE Myles Garrett was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for October. Garrett recorded two forced fumbles and led the NFL with six sacks during the month.[43]

Week 8: vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Week Eight: Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Raiders 0 6 01016
Browns 0 3 306

at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Date: November 1
  • Game time: 1:00 pm. EST
  • Game weather: Cloudy, 49 °F (9 °C)
  • Game attendance: 10,972
  • Referee: Bill Vinovich
  • TV announcers (Fox): Kevin Kugler, Chris Spielman and Laura Okmin
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

The Browns returned home to take on the Las Vegas Raiders on a very windy afternoon. After a scoreless first quarter, Cleveland opened the scoring with a Cody Parkey 41-yard field goal to take a 3–0 lead. However, Las Vegas kicker Daniel Carlson connected on field goals from 29 and 33 yards to take a 6–3 lead at halftime. In the third quarter, Cleveland tied the game 6–6 on a Parkey 38-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, Las Vegas scored the game's lone touchdown on a Derek Carr 4-yard pass to Hunter Renfrow to take a 13–6 lead. They extended their lead to 16–6 on a Carlson 24-yard field goal. Cleveland had a chance to close the Las Vegas lead to one possession with just under two minutes remaining, but Parkey missed a field goal attempt.

With the loss, the Browns went into their bye week at 5–3.

Week 10: vs. Houston Texans

Week Ten: Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Texans 0 0 077
Browns 3 0 0710

at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

Game information

The Browns returned from their bye week to host the Houston Texans. The game was delayed moments before kickoff due to severe weather including high winds, severe rain, and hail.[44] The game started after a 36-minute delay. The Browns took the opening drive of the game 12 plays and scored on a Cody Parkey 41-yard field goal take an early 3–0 lead. This was the only score until the fourth quarter as high winds made it very difficult for either offense to establish any consistency. Early in the fourth quarter, the Browns extended their lead to 10–0 on a 9-yard touchdown run by Nick Chubb in his first game since suffering a knee injury in Week 4. Houston responded with a Deshaun Watson 16-yard touchdown pass to Pharaoh Brown to close the Browns' lead to 10–7. However, the Browns were able to run out the clock as Chubb and Kareem Hunt rushed for four first downs to seal the 10–7 win.

With the win, the Browns improved to 6–3. In the game, Chubb and Hunt became the first pair of Browns teammates to each rush for 100 yards in the same game since Ernie Green and Leroy Kelly in 1966.[45] This win marked Baker Mayfield's 12th win as starting quarterback at FirstEnergy Stadium, setting a record for the most wins at the venue. The previous record of 11 wins was held by Ben Roethlisberger.[46] Offensive tackle Jedrick Wills was named NFL Rookie of the Week.

Week 11: vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Week Eleven: Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Eagles 0 0 71017
Browns 0 7 51022

at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

Game information

The Browns stayed home to take on the Philadelphia Eagles. The game started slowly as neither team scored in the first quarter despite each team missing an opportunity within the opponent's 5-yard line; Philadelphia's drive ended on a Miles Sanders fumble, while Cleveland was stopped on fourth down at the goal line. Cleveland opened the scoring in the second quarter on a Sione Takitaki 50-yard interception return to take a 7–0 lead into halftime. In the third quarter, Philadelphia tied the game on a Carson Wentz 19-yard touchdown pass to Richard Rodgers. Cleveland took a 10–7 lead on their next drive with a Cody Parkey 46-yard field goal and extended it to 12–7 on a safety by linebacker Olivier Vernon. In the fourth quarter, Philadelphia made it 12–10 on a Jake Elliott 43-yard field goal. Cleveland extended their lead to 22–10 with a Kareem Hunt 5-yard touchdown run and a Parkey 28-yard field goal. Philadelphia made it 22–17 on a Wentz 4-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Goedert in the final minute, but could not recover their onside kick attempt, allowing Cleveland to run out the clock.

With the win, the Browns improved to 7–3, marking their best ten-game start since 1994.[47] Vernon was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording three sacks and a safety.[48]

Week 12: at Jacksonville Jaguars

Week Twelve: Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Browns 7 10 3727
Jaguars 3 10 6625

at TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Florida

  • Date: November 29
  • Game time: 1:00 pm. EST
  • Game weather: Partly cloudy, 70 °F (21 °C)
  • Game attendance: 15,926
  • Referee: Jerome Boger
  • TV announcers (CBS): Spero Dedes and Adam Archuleta
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

The Browns traveled to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars. Jacksonville opened the scoring in the first quarter with an Aldrick Rosas field goal to take a 3–0 lead. Cleveland took a 7–3 lead on a Baker Mayfield touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry, Mayfield's first touchdown pass since Week 7. After both teams kicked short field goals in the second quarter, Jacksonville took a 13–10 lead on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Mike Glennon to Collin Johnson. Cleveland answered and took a 17–13 lead on a Mayfield touchdown pass to Austin Hooper. In the third quarter, Jacksonville recovered a Harrison Bryant fumble and scored a touchdown six plays later on a Glennon 2-yard pass to Tyler Eifert to take a 19–17 lead following a missed 2-point conversion attempt. Cleveland responded with a Cody Parkey 46-yard field goal and a Nick Chubb 1-yard touchdown run to take a 27–19 lead. Jacksonville closed the Browns' lead to 27–25 with just over two minutes to go on a James Robinson 4-yard touchdown run, but failed to make a game-tying 2-point conversion. The Browns were able to run out the clock to preserve the win.

With the win, the Browns improved to 8–3 and clinched their first non-losing season since 2007.[49] In the game, Browns' chief of staff Callie Brownson became the first woman to serve as a position coach in NFL history. She filled in as the tight ends coach in place of Drew Petzing, as he did not travel with the team in order to attend the birth of his child.[50]

Week 13: at Tennessee Titans

Week Thirteen: Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Browns 10 28 3041
Titans 0 7 141435

at Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee

  • Date: December 6
  • Game time: 1:00 pm. EST/12:00 pm. CST
  • Game weather: Sunny, 52 °F (11 °C)
  • Game attendance: 13,986
  • Referee: Clete Blakeman
  • TV announcers (CBS): Ian Eagle, Charles Davis and Evan Washburn
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

The Browns stayed on the road in Week 13 as they traveled to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans. The Browns scored first with a Cody Parkey 27-yard field goal and followed it up with a Baker Mayfield 2-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry to take a 10–0 lead after the first quarter. The Browns extended their lead to 17–0 on a Mayfield 1-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Lamm. Tennessee got on the board with a Ryan Tannehill 17-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis to make it 17–7, but Cleveland struck back to make it 24–7 on the first play of their next drive with a Mayfield 75-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones. Cleveland scored two more touchdowns on a Mayfield pass to Rashard Higgins and a Nick Chubb run to take a 38–7 lead into halftime.

Tennessee would mount a comeback in the second half. In the first six minutes of the third quarter, Tennessee scored two touchdowns on a Tannehill pass to MyCole Pruitt and an offensive fumble recovery advanced by Pruitt to reduce Cleveland's lead to 38–21. Another Parkey field goal made it 41–21 going into the fourth quarter. The Titans closed the score to 41–28 with 1:23 remaining on a Jeremy McNichols 1-yard touchdown run. After a Mayfield fumble, Tennessee scored another touchdown on an 8-yard pass from Tannehill to Cameron Batson to cut the Browns' lead to 41–35 with 0:28 remaining. However, the Browns recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.

With the win, the Browns improved to 9–3 and clinched their first winning season since 2007.[51][52] In the game, Mayfield became the first Browns quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in the first half since Otto Graham in 1951. The Browns' 38 points in the first half also set a franchise record.[53] Mayfield was named FedEx Air Player of the Week.[54]

Week 14: vs. Baltimore Ravens

Week Fourteen: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Ravens 7 14 131347
Browns 7 7 62242

at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

Game information

The Browns returned home for round two of their rivalry game with the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football, hoping to avenge their Week 1 blowout loss. Each team scored a touchdown in the first quarter, Cleveland on a Nick Chubb run and Baltimore on a Lamar Jackson run to make the score 7–7. The teams exchanged rushing touchdowns again in the second quarter by Gus Edwards for Baltimore and Chubb for Cleveland to make it 14–14. Jackson added a 17-yard touchdown run to give Baltimore a 21–14 halftime lead. Baltimore built their lead to 28–14 on an Edwards 19-yard run, But Cleveland came to within 28–20 on a Kareem Hunt 5-yard run. Baltimore extended their lead to 34–20 on J. K. Dobbins' run following a Mayfield interception that was returned to the Browns' 1-yard line.

The Browns were able to take a 35–34 lead in the fourth quarter on a Baker Mayfield touchdown pass to Rashard Higgins and a Mayfield touchdown run. Meanwhile, Jackson left the game for Baltimore due to an injury and backup Trace McSorley came in and struggled against the Browns' defense. After the two-minute warning, Jackson returned to the game and threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown to take a 42–35 lead after a successful 2-point conversion. Mayfield led the Browns to a touchdown drive culminating in a touchdown pass to Kareem Hunt with just over a minute left. However, Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker kicked a game-winning 55-yard field goal with 0:02 remaining to go up 45–42. Baltimore added a safety on a failed hook-and-ladder play by Cleveland to make the final score 47–42.

With the loss, the Browns fell to 9–4. The Browns and Ravens combined for nine rushing touchdowns in the game, tying an NFL record.[55]

Week 15: at New York Giants

Week Fifteen: Cleveland Browns at New York Giants – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Browns 0 13 0720
Giants 3 0 036

at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Game information

The Browns traveled to East Rutherford, New Jersey, to take on the New York Giants in a key Week 15 contest on Sunday Night Football. After both teams had promising drives that ended on a turnover on downs in the opponent's territory, the Giants struck first with a Graham Gano 37-yard field goal. Cleveland responded with two-second quarter touchdowns on Baker Mayfield passes to Austin Hooper and Jarvis Landry to take a 13–3 lead as Browns kicker Cody Parkey missed one of the extra point attempts. The Browns extended their lead to 20–3 on a Nick Chubb touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. The Giants added another Gano field goal to make it 20–6 but could not get any closer.

With the win, the Browns improved to 10–4.

Week 16: at New York Jets

Week Sixteen: Cleveland Browns at New York Jets – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Browns 3 0 7616
Jets 7 6 7323

at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Game information

The Browns returned to East Rutherford to take on the New York Jets. The day prior to the game, much of the Browns' receiving corps, namely Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge, Jarvis Landry, and Donovan Peoples-Jones, was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, forcing Cleveland to play three receivers with very little experience on the team.[56] The Browns were forced to rely mainly on their running backs and tight ends in the passing game.[57]

Cleveland took an early 3–0 lead on a Cody Parkey 44-yard field goal. However, New York scored a pair of touchdowns on a Jamison Crowder pass to Braxton Berrios and a Sam Darnold pass to Chris Herndon to take a 13–3 lead into halftime. New York extended its lead to 20–3 on a 30-yard pass from Darnold to Crowder. Cleveland added a pair of touchdowns to come within 20–16 on runs by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. After New York added a Sam Ficken 34-yard field goal to extend their lead to 23–16 with just under 3:00 remaining, the Browns drove to the New York 16-yard line before turning the ball over on downs, effectively ending the game.

With the loss, the Browns fell to 10–5. They finished 5–3 in away games. The Browns' loss also allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers to clinch the AFC North title. This is the Browns' 28th consecutive season without a division title, the longest active streak in the NFL.

Week 17: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Week Seventeen: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Steelers 0 6 31322
Browns 7 3 7724

at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Date: January 3, 2021
  • Game time: 1:00 pm. EST
  • Game weather: Cloudy, 38 °F (3 °C)
  • Game attendance: 11,989
  • Referee: Jerome Boger
  • TV announcers (CBS): Ian Eagle, Charles Davis and Evan Washburn
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

The Browns hosted the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in the regular season finale. Cleveland would clinch a playoff berth with a win. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh had already clinched the AFC North division and would rest several starters including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The Browns scored the only points in the first quarter on a Nick Chubb 47-yard touchdown run to take a 7–0 lead. Cody Parkey chipped in a 23-yard field goal to make it 10–0. Matthew Wright then kicked field goals of 29 and 46 yards, to close the Browns' lead to 10–6 at halftime. Wright added another 46-yard field goal early in the third quarter to make it 10–9. The Browns added to their lead on a pair of touchdowns, a Baker Mayfield 2-yard pass to Austin Hooper and a Jarvis Landry 3-yard run, to extend their lead to 24–9 early in the fourth quarter. However the Steelers mounted a comeback as backup quarterback Mason Rudolph connected on touchdown passes to Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster to make it 24–22 with 1:22 remaining. However the Steelers could not convert the game-tying two-point conversion nor recover an onside kick. The Browns were able to run out the clock for the win.

With the win, the Browns finished the season 11–5, their best record since 1994. The Browns clinched a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2002, ending the longest active playoff drought in the NFL.[1][58] The Browns finished the season 6–2 at home.

Standings

Division

AFC North
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
(3) Pittsburgh Steelers 12 4 0 .750 4–2 9–3 416 312 L1
(5) Baltimore Ravens 11 5 0 .688 4–2 7–5 468 303 W5
(6) Cleveland Browns 11 5 0 .688 3–3 7–5 408 419 W1
Cincinnati Bengals 4 11 1 .281 1–5 4–8 311 424 L1

Conference

# Team Division W L T PCT DIV CONF SOS SOV STK
Division leaders
1 Kansas City Chiefs West 14 2 0 .875 4–2 10–2 .465 .464 L1
2 Buffalo Bills East 13 3 0 .813 6–0 10–2 .512 .471 W6
3 Pittsburgh Steelers North 12 4 0 .750 4–2 9–3 .475 .448 L1
4[a] Tennessee Titans South 11 5 0 .688 5–1 8–4 .475 .398 W1
Wild Cards
5[b][c] Baltimore Ravens North 11 5 0 .688 4–2 7–5 .494 .401 W5
6[c][d] Cleveland Browns North 11 5 0 .688 3–3 7–5 .451 .406 W1
7[a][b][d] Indianapolis Colts South 11 5 0 .688 4–2 7–5 .443 .384 W1
Did not qualify for the postseason
8 Miami Dolphins East 10 6 0 .625 3–3 7–5 .467 .347 L1
9 Las Vegas Raiders West 8 8 0 .500 4–2 6–6 .539 .477 W1
10[e] New England Patriots East 7 9 0 .438 3–3 6–6 .527 .429 W1
11[e] Los Angeles Chargers West 7 9 0 .438 3–3 6–6 .482 .344 W4
12 Denver Broncos West 5 11 0 .313 1–5 4–8 .566 .388 L3
13 Cincinnati Bengals North 4 11 1 .281 1–5 4–8 .529 .438 L1
14 Houston Texans South 4 12 0 .250 2–4 3–9 .541 .219 L5
15 New York Jets East 2 14 0 .125 0–6 1–11 .594 .656 L1
16 Jacksonville Jaguars South 1 15 0 .063 1–5 1–11 .549 .688 L15
Tiebreakers[f]
  1. ^ a b Tennessee finished ahead of Indianapolis based on division record.
  2. ^ a b Baltimore finished ahead of Indianapolis based on head-to-head victory. Division tiebreaker used to eliminate Cleveland (see below).
  3. ^ a b Baltimore finished ahead of Cleveland based on head-to-head sweep.
  4. ^ a b Cleveland finished ahead of Indianapolis based on head-to-head victory.
  5. ^ a b New England finished ahead of the LA Chargers based on head-to-head victory.
  6. ^ When breaking ties for three or more teams under the NFL's rules, they are first broken within divisions, then comparing only the highest ranked remaining team from each division.

Team leaders

Regular season

Category Player(s) Value
Passing yards Baker Mayfield 3,563
Passing touchdowns Baker Mayfield 26
Rushing yards Nick Chubb 1,067
Rushing touchdowns Nick Chubb 12
Receptions Jarvis Landry 72
Receiving yards Jarvis Landry 840
Receiving touchdowns Kareem Hunt 5
Points Cody Parkey 100
Kickoff return yards Donovan Peoples-Jones 379
Punt return yards Donovan Peoples-Jones 77
Tackles B.J. Goodson 91
Sacks Myles Garrett 12.0
Forced fumbles Myles Garrett 4
Interceptions 3 players tied 2
Pass deflections Denzel Ward 18

Postseason

See also: 2020–21 NFL playoffs

Playoff round Date Opponent (seed) Result Record Venue Recap
Wild Card January 10 at Pittsburgh Steelers (3) W 48–37 1–0 Heinz Field Recap
Divisional January 17 at Kansas City Chiefs (1) L 17–22 1–1 Arrowhead Stadium Recap

Game summaries

AFC Wild Card Playoffs: at (3) Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC Wild Card Playoffs: (6) Cleveland Browns at (3) Pittsburgh Steelers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Browns 28 7 01348
Steelers 0 10 131437

at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Game information

On January 5, head coach Kevin Stefanski, along with tight ends coach Drew Petzing, defensive backs coach Jeff Howard, offensive line coach Bill Callahan, assistant offensive line coach Scott Peters, offensive lineman Joel Bitonio, cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Kevin Johnson, and wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge, tested positive for COVID-19, removing them from coaching and playing in this game. Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer served as acting Head Coach.[59][60]

The Browns got off to a very strong start. On the first play from scrimmage, the Browns' Karl Joseph recovered a Steelers fumble on an errant snap by Maurkice Pouncey in the end zone for a touchdown, giving the Browns an early 7–0 lead. The Browns built their lead to 28–0 by the end of the first quarter on a 40-yard pass from Baker Mayfield to Jarvis Landry and two Kareem Hunt touchdown runs of 11 and 8 yards after a Steelers punt and two Ben Roethlisberger interceptions. The Browns' 28 first quarter points tied an NFL playoff record.[61] The Steelers got on the board in the second quarter on a James Conner 1-yard touchdown run, but the Browns would respond with a Mayfield 7-yard pass to Austin Hooper to make it 35–7. A Chris Boswell field goal at the end of the half made it 35–10.

The Steelers got back into the game with a dominant third quarter. The team had two scoring drives, capped off by Ben Roethlisberger touchdown passes to Eric Ebron and JuJu Smith-Schuster, to make it 35–23. However, the Browns added a touchdown on a Mayfield 40-yard screen pass to Nick Chubb to extend their lead to 42–23. Pittsburgh responded with a Roethlisberger 29-yard touchdown pass to Chase Claypool on its next drive, taking just over a minute off the clock, to make it 42–29. Cody Parkey then added two field goals for the Browns, the second one following Rothlisberger's fourth interception of the game, to extend their lead back to three possessions at 48–29. A late touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Claypool made the final score 48–37.

With the win, the Browns advanced to the Divisional Round. The Browns recorded their first playoff win since 1994 and their first away playoff win since 1969, ending a streak of eight consecutive losses in away playoff games. This win also ended a 17-game losing streak in Pittsburgh that dated back to 2004.[62] Jim Donovan, who called the game for the Cleveland Browns Radio Network, referred to the win as "one of the greatest victories in Cleveland Browns history".[63]

AFC Divisional Playoffs: at (1) Kansas City Chiefs

AFC Divisional Playoff: (6) Cleveland Browns at (1) Kansas City Chiefs – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Browns 3 0 7717
Chiefs 6 13 3022

at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Game information

The Browns traveled to Kansas City for a Divisional Round matchup with the #1 seed and defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City opened the scoring on their opening drive, as Patrick Mahomes completed 4 of 4 passes for 41 yards, including a 26-yard completion to Tyreek Hill, as the team scored on his 1-yard touchdown run to take a 6–0 lead. Cleveland responded with a 12-play, 47-yard scoring drive, featuring a 27-yard pass from Baker Mayfield to David Njoku. However, the Browns were forced to settle for a Cody Parkey 46-yard field goal to make the score 6–3. The Chiefs added a touchdown on a Mahomes 20-yard pass to Travis Kelce to build their lead to 13–3, then 16–3 on a Harrison Butker 50-yard field goal. Cleveland responded with drive deep into Kansas City territory, however Rashard Higgins fumbled the ball out of the end zone, resulting in a touchback for Kansas City. As he dived for the goal line, Kansas City safety Daniel Sorensen hit him from the left side, knocking the ball loose. Butker kicked a field goal on the ensuing drive, giving the Chiefs a 19–3 halftime lead.

The Browns cut the Chiefs' lead to 19–10 in the third quarter on a Mayfield 4-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry that was set up by two Nick Chubb runs for 23 and 18 yards earlier in the drive. On the next Chiefs' drive, Mahomes was knocked out of the game with a concussion and backup quarterback Chad Henne came on in relief. The Chiefs kicked a field goal on that drive to extend their lead to 22–10. Cleveland responded with an 18-play, 75-yard drive culminating in a Kareem Hunt touchdown run in his first game against his former team, to make it 22–17. The Chiefs then drove into Browns' territory but Henne threw an interception to safety Karl Joseph in the end zone. Cleveland was forced to punt on its next drive, and Kansas City was able to run out the clock thanks to a 13-yard run by Henne on 3rd and 14, followed by a game-clinching 5-yard pass from Henne to Tyreek Hill.

With the loss, the Browns' season ended. They failed to advance to the AFC Championship Game, which would have been their first since the 1989 season.

Team leaders

Postseason

Category Player(s) Value
Passing yards Baker Mayfield 467
Passing touchdowns Baker Mayfield 4
Rushing yards Nick Chubb 145
Rushing touchdowns Kareem Hunt 3
Receptions Jarvis Landry 12
Receiving yards Rashard Higgins 116
Receiving touchdowns Jarvis Landry 2
Points Kareem Hunt 18
Kickoff return yards D'Ernest Johnson 120
Punt return yards Donovan Peoples-Jones 8
Tackles B.J. Goodson 16
Sacks Myles Garrett 1.0
Forced fumbles -- N/A
Interceptions 5 players tied 1
Pass deflections Vincent Taylor 2

Awards

The following Browns were awarded for their performances during the season:

AFC Offensive Player of the Week/Month

W/M Player Line
7 QB Baker Mayfield 22–28, 297 yds, 5 TD, INT

AFC Defensive Player of the Week/Month

W/M Player Line
4 DE Myles Garrett 3 TKL, TFL, 2.0 sacks, FF
Oct. DE Myles Garrett 14 TKL, 4 TFL, 6.0 sacks, 2 FF
11 DE Olivier Vernon 5 TKL, 3 TFL, 3.0 sacks, SFTY, PD

2021 Pro Bowl

On December 21, it was announced that G Joel Bitonio, RB Nick Chubb, and DE Myles Garrett were named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster, with Bitonio and Garrett named as starters. This marks the third Pro Bowl selection for Bitonio and the second for Chubb and Garrett.[64]

All-Pro team

On January 8, it was announced that OT Jack Conklin and DE Myles Garrett were named to the Associated Press All-Pro first team. G Joel Bitonio and G Wyatt Teller were named to the All-Pro second team. This marks Bitonio's third All-Pro selection, Garrett and Conklin's second, and the first for Teller.[65]

Coach of the Year

Head coach Kevin Stefanski was named the AP Coach of the Year.[66]

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