BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – The weather outside has turned frightful and the Browns record is not delightful.
With no place to go (but up), let it snow.
Or something like that.
With the holidays upon us there’s very little cheer in Berea, Ohio – even with yet another change atop the football hierarchy – because the sad sack Browns are still walking in a winless wonderland, yet they aren’t feeling the pressure they felt a year ago to just win a single football game.
“I can’t speak for anybody else, but there is no pressure for me,” running back Duke Johnson said. “At the end of the day, I still have to go out there and do a job. No added pressure from anyone else but myself so I will go out there and do my job.”
With the team 0-13 for a second consecutive year, the specter of an 0-16 season has resurfaced less than 12 months after last year’s Christmas eve miracle over the Chargers to salvage a 1-15 campaign.
They made need another one this year in Chicago.
“Nobody thought that we would be having this record that we have, but we can’t sit here and complain about it, sulk and hang our head about it,” linebacker Christian Kirksey said. “We just have to do something to get more wins for this city, and we will continue to try to find our way. That is what we are going to do.”
It took 9 consecutive losses for Kirksey to declare the Browns weren’t going 0-16 a year ago. There’s been no such declaration – from any player – this year.
Head coach Hue Jackson is a big reason why.
“I think it is the environment that I have hopefully created with our team,” Jackson said. “We want to win.”
After blowing a golden opportunity this past week against Green Bay that saw the Browns squander a 14-point fourth quarter lead and lose 27-21 in overtime, just 3 games remain on the schedule starting Sunday against the 7-6 fighting for their playoff lives Baltimore Ravens.
The Browns have lost 15 straight within the AFC North, but that last win came in Baltimore – Oct. 11, 2015, 33-30 in overtime.
“If we are going to go and get our first win, we would love to get it in front of our home crowd,” quarterback DeShone Kizer said. “Obviously, the end of the season can go one of two ways. It can create momentum going into next year or you can reset after this year and try to squash and put it behind you. As a team, we have made a decision that we want to see momentum into next year.
“I think a big part of that would be to get a win at home and get the fans going on what this team is going to end up becoming and once we are over this hill and winning forever, obviously, those fan will be the same guys who have been supporting us and who will continue to.”
The currently 4-9 Bears, who destroyed the Bengals last week, will follow on Christmas eve before they wrap up the season in Pittsburgh in Week 17 on New Years eve, where they typically lose even when the Steelers essentially field their practice squad.
One would think that someone, anyone would be feeling some pressure to avoid the indignity of joining the 2008 Lions as the only 0-16 clubs in NFL history, but Jackson doesn’t have his team thinking that way.
“We want to and we expect to [win],” Jackson said. “But we understand that we have to do the things that it takes [to win]. You have to finish games. You have to make those plays at the end in order to be victorious or to have a chance to be victorious, and we haven’t.”
As the losses pile up, so do the records for futility.
The Browns are 4-41 since the start of the 2015 season and they’ll need to win out to avoid breaking the record for the worst 3-year stretch in NFL history which was set by the 2007-09 Rams, who went 6-42. They’ve won just 4 times in their last 50 games, another NFL record.
“Unfortunately for us this year, the losses have piled up,” left guard Joel Bitonio said. “It is tough. It really sucks. We are doing everything on our part to try to be better and try to get those wins.”
Unfortunately for the Browns they’re running out of time, and games.