History versus the Silver and Black
Steve King, Staff Writer
If you use history as an indicator, then the Browns have a 50-50 shot of beating the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at McAfee Coliseum.
That's because the Browns are 27-27 all-time, including playoffs, on the West Coast.
It breaks down this way:
*6-2 in the All-America Football Conference regular season from 1946-49.
*20-23 in the NFL regular season from 1950-2007.
*3-3 in the expansion era from 1999-2007.
*26-25 in the regular season from 1946-2007.
*1-2 in the playoffs from 1946-2007 (all in the NFL).
This is the Browns' first regular-season road trip of 2007, and they're getting a full dose of travel with it, having to go across all the way across the country, through three time zones.
Trips to the West Coast are never easy for Eastern Time Zone clubs, if only for the problem of getting used to the three-hour time difference.
Can the Browns work through all of this and get a win? Based on history, there's no easy way to tell for sure.
*TURNING THE TIDE: The Browns lost eight of their first nine regular-season meetings with the Raiders. But they've won six of the last seven and now have a 7-9 mark in the series, which began in 1970 when the Browns moved to the AFC to help finalize the NFL-AFL merger. The teams have played two postseason games -- two years apart, following the 1980 and '82 seasons -- with the Raiders winning both. Yes, before you ask, the 1980 contest is the one that's known simply as "Red Right 88."
TRIVIA NOTE: Every Browns fan is well aware that the team hosted the first Monday Night Football game on Sept. 21, 1970 -- a 31-21 win over the New York Jets. But when did the Browns host their second MNF appearance, and who was it against? Answer: It came on Oct. 4, 1971 in a 34-20 loss to the Raiders. A crowd of 84,285 at what was then known as Cleveland Municipal Stadium -- the eighth-largest home attendance figure in Browns history -- watched it.
OFFENSIVE NUMBERS NOT OFFENSIVE: Following that monster offensive effort in the 51-45 win over the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday, the Browns are now first in the NFL in average yards per rush at 5.9, second in average yards on first down at 7.96, fourth in average yards per play at 6.3 and fourth in average yards per reception at 14.8. ... The Browns' Jamal Lewis is second in the league in rushing yards with 251 and second in average yards per carry at 6.6.
UP NEXT: With a win Sunday, the Browns will be 2-1. In the days after that season-opening 34-7 loss to the Pittsburgh, who would have thought such a thing would be possible?
AND ONE MORE THING...: Browns head coach Romeo Crennel, 60, was already at his second coaching stop, getting ready to begin a three-year stay as a defensive assistant at Texas Tech, when Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin, now 32, was born in 1975.
QUOTABLES: "That's my job. It's what I do. We have a great offensive line on this team, but I'm Jamal's own personal offensive line." -- Browns fullback Lawrence Vickers, who said he was in the game for 21 of Lewis' 27 carries in his 216-yard effort against the Bengals, on his role as the back's lead blocker.