Following a 35-10 Week 9 loss at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys, the Cleveland Browns saw their record drop to 0-9. Still, Head Coach Hue Jackson remained confident in his team’s chances to crack into the win column.
“Somehow, someway, we are going to find a way not to be 0-16. That’s not where we want to be,” Jackson told Cleveland.com.
But following Jackson’s comment, the Browns have dropped their previous three contests, including a 27-13 loss to the Giants in Week 12, as they inch closer to joining history for all the wrong reasons.
In the near four decades since the National Football League expanded the season to sixteen games, just one franchise, the Detroit Lions, has endured a winless season. But with just four games remaining in Cleveland’s 2016 campaign, that 2008 Lions team may be getting some company.
“I don’t want anyone to have the message that we don’t want to win or that we’re not working to win or that we’re not trying to win, because that’s not the case at all,” Jackson said via Cleveland.com.
After a bye in Week 14, the Browns have perhaps their best chance of winning a game, as they host the 3-7-1 Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati, which has one of the lowest scoring offenses in the league, is not in the AFC playoff picture and may be without star wideout A.J. Green who has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. Still, the Bengals will be playing hard against their AFC North Rival and did beat the Browns fairly handily in Week 7.
In Week 15, Cleveland travels to take on a 6-5, playoff hungry Buffalo Bills team that boasts the league’s leading rushing attack. Given that the Browns have the second worst rushing defense in the league, the Browns will be hard pressed to find their first win in Buffalo. Cleveland closes the season by hosting the 5-6 San Diego Chargers in and then traveling to Pittsburgh to take on the 6-5 Steelers. San Diego will visit Cleveland with a top five-ranked offense, while the lethal duo of Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown gives Pittsburgh, a team that beat the Browns in Week 11, one of the best passing attacks in the NFL.
Should the Browns lose the rest of their games and complete a winless season, it will mark the highest point of futility for the Cleveland Browns. Over the past twenty years, the Cleveland Browns have had just three winning seasons, the last of which came in 2007. In each of the previous five years, Cleveland has finished last in the AFC North.
“I know with every loss there’s another dagger that drags you down another few feet deeper,” Jackson said.
Cleveland’s last win came nearly a year ago, on December 13th, when they defeated the San Francisco 49ers. The starting quarterback that day was Johnny Manziel, a former Heisman award winner and Cleveland’s first round draft pick in 2014. Tagged by many as Cleveland’s savior, Manziel is now out of the NFL after numerous arrests and suspensions, representing yet another disappointment for Cleveland fans.
While Jackson believes that there are good things going on with his team–despite the fact that Cleveland has the league’s worst defense and scores just 16 points per game–he knows that the only thing that matters is the wins and losses.
“We are not going to shy away from the record. We own it,” Jackson said via Cleveland.com. “We want to win. We want to win now. “
When that win will come, that is anybody’s guess.