4 and 12. Again. 0 wins in the division. Two wins against teams (Jaguars and Dolphins) who
fired their coach during the season. Two other wins over the 2 and 14 Peyton Manning-less
Colts and a 6-3 barnburner over the Seahawks. Injuries, contract squabbles, concussed players
garnering national headlines, etc. Your 2011 Cleveland Browns. As fans of the team, this was
a season to forget and the off-season could not come soon enough. But after a little in-depth
comparison of several of statistical categories (using http://www.pro-football-reference.com), I noticed
a few trends that gave me (and hopefully yourself) hope for the future…
Browns By The Numbers – Part I of II
Spotlighting several statistical categories relating to the four seasons following the 2007 (fluke)
2008 – 232 points for – 350 points against (difference of 118 points – 7.375 points per game)
Totaled: 3,985 yards – 2,380 passing yards (11 TDs) – 1,605 rushing yards (6 TDs)
Gave up: 5,704 total yards – 3,273 passing yards (19 TDs) – 2,431 rushing yards (16 TDs)
Turnover ratio – +5, (4-12 record)
2009 – 245 points for – 375 points against (difference of 130 points – 8.125 points per game)
Totaled: 4,163 yards – 2,076 passing yards (11 TDs) – 2,087 rushing yards (10 TDs)
Gave up: 6,229 total yards – 3,915 passing yards (22 TDs) – 2,314 rushing yards (15 TDs)
Turnover ratio – -12, (5-11 record)
2010 – 271 points for – 332 points against (difference of 61 points – 3.8125 points per game)
Totaled: 4,653 yards – 2,989 passing yards (13 TDs) – 1,646 rushing yards (13 TDs)
Gave up: 5,601 total yards – 3,531 passing yards (26 TDs) – 2,070 rushing yards (7 TDs)
Turnover ratio – -1, (5-11 record)
2011 – 218 points for – 318 points against (difference of 89 points – 5.5625 points per game)
Totaled: 4,621 yards – 3,090 passing yards (16 TDs) – 1,531 rushing yards (4 TDs)
Gave up: 5,318 total yards – 2,959 passing yards (16 TDs) – 2,359 rushing yards (12 TDs)
Turnover ratio – +1, (4-12 record)
Removing the strength of schedule aspect (as that opens a Pandora’s box of additional areas of
debate such as the lockout, overall strength of the division, injuries, etc.) one can tell:
– This past season has seen the fewest points, total yards, and touchdowns allowed by the defense
in four years.
A large explanation for this would be the regime focusing heavily on the defensive side of the
ball in the past two seasons. This includes two first round picks, two second round picks, and
several free agent acquisitions for younger part-time starters. The unit’s overall talent and
athleticism has definitely increased with these players, as opposed to older retreads in previous
seasons. Currently, the personnel appears to have achieved more success with the new 4-3
scheme than with any of the 3-4 schemes from previous seasons.
The total rushing yards allowed is rather high, and concerning due to the fact they have been
ghastly in this area each of the last four seasons. However, I believe the team is only a few
adequate to quality pieces away on the defensive side of the ball to improve on this stat. Based
on the previous two seasons, I trust the front office in acquiring the correct players in the coming
– Although points have been hard to come by for the 2011 offense (the lowest total in four years),
the total yardage output is the second most over the same span.
There are likely three reasons that would explain why more yardage was gained while scoring
fewer points. Since the team’s turnover ratio over the past four years is relatively even, this
element will be thrown out. This eliminates the argument that the team sustains drives until
turning it over near the end zone.
A second explanation would be to look at the team’s average starting field position and whether
longer drives were seen consistently. Unfortunately, this statistic is not on pro-football-
refernce.com, and I firmly believe the variance among the previous four years would be
negligible and also omitted.
The final scenario would suggest lower red zone scoring; settling for field goals attempts (or
even punts) as opposed to TDs. The Browns had either as many or more field goals as opposed
to touchdowns in nine of their games (vs. Titans – 2 FGs and 1 TD, vs. Seahawks – 2 FGs and
0 TDs, vs. 49ers – 1 FG and 1 TD, vs. Texans – 2 FGs and 1 TD, vs. Rams – 4 FGs and 0 TDs,
vs. Bengals – 2 FGs and 2 TDs, vs. Ravens – 1 FG and 1 TD, vs. Steelers – 1 FG and 0 TDs, vs.
Steelers – 3 FGs and 0 TDs). What should be noted here, is that in these nine occurrences the
Browns scored 2 TDs or more only once.
Comparing other teams in the division, this feat also occurred nine times for the Steelers.
However, 2 TDs or more were scored in five of those nine games.
The Ravens had as many or more FGs to TDs six times, while 2 TDs or more were scored in four
of those six contests.
The Bengals found themselves in this situation eight times; five of those eight games contained 2
TDs or more for the team.
Therefore this stats implies that while the Browns are relatively similar to the remainder
of division for scoring as many field goals as touchdowns in one game, 88.89% of those
occurrences included only a touchdown or less; far higher than next closest team’s 55.56%
The addition of playmakers in the offseason would likely decrease the Browns percentage
of futility going forward. Faster, skilled players create mismatches (especially in the ever-
important red zone) that can lead to the Browns scoring seven points instead of three. After
previously neglecting this side of the ball (the earliest being one second round pick in two years),
I foresee the team gaining a few skilled offensive players to become more efficient as a group.