CLEVELAND (WJW) – It was another year without a playoff appearance for the Cleveland Browns and more off-the-field drama than wins.
It wouldn’t be the Browns if we didn’t talk about distractions, drama and frustrations. There were too many lows, not enough highs and way too many whacky stories that you’ll only find here in Cleveland.
So, before we look ahead to the 2023 off-season and regular season, let’s look back on a 2022 season to forget.
The Browns’ season was doomed to the start with Deshaun Watson‘s 11-game suspension handed down in August.
Remember a viral video of Perrion Winfrey barking on Draft Day? It turns out that his season was more bark than bite. He was benched before the second game of the year against the Jets for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.
The Browns’ home opener was perhaps the worst home opener in FirstEnergy Stadium history. Cleveland blew a 13-point lead in the game’s final 60 seconds to lose 31-30 to the Jets.
To make that collapse even worse, a fan threw a bottle at Browns owner Jimmy Haslam as he left the field. That fan was later arrested.
Eight days later, on Sept. 26, was a day Myles Garrett will never forget. Garrett tried to avoid an animal on a wet road in Medina County, lost control of his Porsche and crashed. He and his female passenger suffered minor injuries with Garrett suffering shoulder and bicep strains and lacerations.
The Browns blew a 4th quarter lead the next week at home against the Chargers. Cleveland had a shot to win it, but rookie Cade York’s 54-yard field goal went wide right.
Two weeks later in Baltimore, trailing by 3 points in the 4th quarter, Donovan Peoples-Jones fumbled and Ravens recovered to give the Browns their 4th straight loss.
The craziest part of this season didn’t even have to do with the Browns, but the field they play on. Someone climbed the fence at FirstEnergy Stadium on the night of Nov. 21, jumped into a truck and drove it on the field, leaving giant ruts behind.
Christmas Eve. was the second coldest game in Cleveland sports history, with a kickoff temperature of 6 degrees and wind chills around -20. That didn’t stop the New Orleans Saints, who play in a dome, who beat the Browns 17-10, eliminating them from playoff contention.
Days before the final game in Pittsburgh, Jadevon Clowney ripped the Browns for the lack of playing time and accused the Browns of favoring Garrett. Clowney was sent home the next day and ruled out for the finale against the Steelers.
That game was one of the worst for Watson. He threw two interceptions and the Browns defense couldn’t stop the Steelers, losing by 14 points, and finishing the season with a 7-10 record.
Later that night, Coach Kevin Stefanski fired defensive coordinator Joe Woods after three years with the team.
That firing ended the 2022 lost and dysfunctional Browns season, but now searching for his replacement starts what many hope is a more successful and drama-free 2023 season.
As the Cleveland sports fan saying goes, “There’s always next year.”