Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 11/17/14
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It sure is fun to have a win in the books before Sunday. The Browns managed to do that with their back-and-forth dramatic victory on Thursday night, despite losing resurgent quarterback Brian Hoyer for the season. As we look back at how the Browns are suddenly on top of the AFC North Division – yes, it’s true – here are a number of intriguing statistics that I’ve found, courtesy of the fine folks at Pro-Football-Reference.com. 0.23 – Difference in yards per rushing attempt between Trent Richardson (3.39) and all other Cleveland Browns running backs this season (3.16). The Browns again rank as one of the worst rushing teams in football this season, but have capitalized on adding a first-round draft pick for a drop of only about 7% in relative rushing efficiency. 4.53 – Opponents are averaging only 4.53 yards on 147 first down plays against the Browns this season, far below the NFL average of 6.50 yards per such play. Opponents are completing just 50 percent of their passes and averaging only 3.3 yards per carry against Cleveland. 7 – Number of games in NFL history since 1960 where a player had at least 175 punt return yards. Travis Benjamin, the speedy second-year receiver out of Miami, had 179 such yards over seven returns during Thursday’s game. It broke Eric Metcalf’s 1993 franchise record of 166 yards, which was set in only two returns. The most punt return yards in a single game: 207 by LeRoy Irvin of the LA Rams back on Oct. 11, 1981. 10.2% – The Browns have run the ball on just 10.2% of third and fourth down plays total this season: nine times out of 88 opportunities. Their lowest mark over the previous six full seasons in this category was 17.3% back in 2008. All other NFL teams during the 2013 season are averaging a run play on 19.6% of these opportunities. 13 – A total of 13 players have now registered a sack for the Browns this season, after Armonty Bryant, Craig Robertson, Ahtyba Rubin and Buster Skrine all recorded sacks on Thursday. As a team, the Browns already have 18.5 sacks through five games – putting them on pace for 59 by the end of the year. Their sacks and number of players with sacks over the last few years: 2012 (37 sacks, 16 players); 2011 (31 sacks, 12 players); 2010 (29 sacks, 13 players). 34 – Thursday’s game was the Browns’ 34th turnover-less regular season performance since returning in 1999. That’s just 14.8% of their total games. In fact, it was their second straight such performance, marking their sixth turnover-less game streak since ’99. Overall, the team is 21-13 (.618) when not committing a turnover and 55-140 (.393) otherwise. 44.9 – Average distance of a Josh Gordon receiving touchdown in his career. As was reported on the NFL Network during Thursday’s broadcast, all seven of Gordon’s touchdowns over the last two years have been of the 20+ yard variety. In fact, all but one have traveled at least 33 yards in distance. His touchdown catch on Thursday was also oddly only his second TD at home in Cleveland. 50.9% – Browns’ quarterbacks completion percentage in the second half of games this year. That statistic alone is a big reason why the team’s average yards per play – 7.01 in first half, 5.31 in second half – has dropped so dramatically toward the end of games. The quarterbacks have a 62.7% completion percentage in first halves, as the Browns have led each game at the half so far. On average, all other NFL teams have a drop of just 0.5% in comparing first and second half completion percentages. 105.6 – At his current pace, the current projected number of catches for tight end Jordan Cameron at the end of the season. That would by far set a new franchise record. The promising prospect has 33 receptions through the season’s first five games, emerging as one of the better tight ends in the NFL. The Browns have only had four players with 80+ catches since returning in 1999; the leader is Kellen Winslow Jr. at 89 during the 2006 season. That mark tied Ozzie Newsome’s franchise record also set in 1983 and 1984. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
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