11 most memorable Cleveland Browns road wins since '99

BEREA, Ohio -- Teams that lose don’t win anywhere, so it should be no surprise that the Cleveland Browns record on the road the past few seasons is not good.

What is surprising is how bad it is.

The Browns have not won a road game since Sept. 22, 2013, when Brian Hoyer beat the Vikings in his first start. That’s more than one year and seven road games without a win (including this season’s opener in Pittsburgh).

In each of the last three seasons, the Browns have one road win. In the five seasons before this one, they have seven road wins and a 7-33 record (.175 won-lost). And since 1999 when the team returned from Art Modell’s imposed hiatus, they have won 33 road games and lost 88 (.272).

In 2002, the Browns reached the playoffs by winning 6-of-8 on the road. In 2007, they won 10 games, four on the road. Aside from that the record has been dismal, with highlights including the playoff loss in Pittsburgh and a 58-48 loss in 2004 in Cincinnati that nearly defies belief.

But in those 33 road wins are some memorable games, for the importance of the win and for the comic relief the games provided. In honor of football having a starting 11, here’s one list of the 11 most memorable Browns road wins, in chronological order:

  1. Oct. 31, 1999 -- Tim Couch launches a Hail Mary that almost hits the Superdome roof and somehow falls into the hands of Kevin Johnson standing just inside the end zone on the game’s final play. The completion gives the newborn Browns their first win. Cleveland 21, New Orleans 16.

  2. Nov. 14, 1999 -- With the clock running in Pittsburgh, Chris Palmer bypasses a timeout and rushes the field goal unit on the field. Except Phil Dawson thought a timeout was going to be called, so he’s standing behind the bench practicing with the net that kickers use. Safety Earl Little runs over and tells Dawson to get on the field. Dawson scrambles as the field goal team lines up frantically. His game-winning kick is en route to the goalpost as time expires, and cuts through a serious gale on the way. The Browns beat Pittsburgh in their first season back. The next day, Little is asked if anyone noticed that Dawson was not on the field. His memorable response: “Nobody but Earl Little.” Cleveland 16, Pittsburgh 15.

  3. Dec. 8, 2002 -- Quincy Morgan catches a Hail Mary from Couch in the end zone for the game-winning points. Officials reviewed the play and said the touchdown stood, though photos in the Florida Times-Union the next morning showed Morgan did not make the catch. The Browns took the win. Cleveland 21, Jacksonville 20.

  4. Sept. 21, 2003 -- The Browns go to San Francisco with Kelly Holcomb at quarterback and he breaks his leg on a quarterback sneak. Holcomb finishes the game, though, and completes several key passes to Kevin Johnson in an improbable 13-12 win over the 49ers, Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens. As Johnson exits the field, he yells “I’m just like Seven-11. Open 24-7.” Cleveland 13, San Francisco 12.

  5. Oct. 5. 2003 -- Couch plays his best game as a Brown in guiding the team to an easy Sunday-night win over the Steelers. This game marked the high-water mark of the Couch era, as he completed 20-of-25. The Browns went 2-8 the rest of the season. Cleveland 33, Pittsburgh 13.

  6. Nov. 18, 2007 -- The game that originated the “Dawson bar,” the part of the goalpost that connects to the crossbar. Dawson’s 51-yard attempt to tie the game on the last play of the game went over the crossbar and bounced back after hitting the “Dawson bar.” Officials, confused initially, signaled no good. But Dawson complained, the refs huddled and properly ruled the kick good. The Browns went on to win in overtime -- on a Dawson field goal. Some folks who played for the Ravens still don’t know what happened other than they were called out of the locker room to play overtime. Cleveland 33, Baltimore 30.

  7. Nov. 17, 2008 -- After a Brady Quinn led win in Buffalo, then General Manager Phil Savage e-mailed a fan who had been badgering him all game and told the fan to “Go root for Buffalo.” He ended with some other words. Savage’s feelings echoed the feelings of the team and many around it. The recipient made the e-mail public, and said he really didn’t blame Savage. Cleveland 29, Buffalo 27.

  8. October 11, 2009 -- Derek Anderson completed 2 of 17 passes and the Browns were able to kick the game-winning field goal and give Eric Mangini his first win because the Bills fumbled a punt return. Billy Cundiff provided the winning points while Dawson was hurt. This season Cundiff said that game set football back 40 years. He underestimated. Cleveland 6, Buffalo 3.

  9. Dec. 20, 2009 -- Running back Jerome Harrison set a Browns record by running for 286 yards in a win over Kansas City. It was one of the greatest individual performances in the post-’99 era. After leaving the Browns, Harrison’s career ended when he had to have a brain tumor surgically removed. Cleveland 41, Kansas City 34.

  10. Oct. 24, 2010 -- The Browns used a fake punt and two interception returns for touchdowns by linebacker David Bowens to unexpectedly beat New Orleans in New Orleans. Cleveland 30, New Orleans 17.

  11. Sept. 22, 2013 -- Brian Hoyer went from third team to starter and guided the Browns to a last-minute win over Minnesota. Hoyer’s play energized the team -- until he hurt his knee two weeks later. Cleveland 31, Minnesota 27.