What History tells us about Bears and Browns


by - Senior Writer -
Raj Mehta - USA Today Sports
Raj Mehta - USA Today Sports

Coming off their first win of the season, the Chicago Bears will face another AFC North foe on Sunday as they travel to Cleveland to take on the upstart Browns. Unlike the Bengals, who have only been playing the Bears since the late 1960'and early 1970s, the Bears and Browns have been doing battle since the 1950s, with Cleveland holding the slight edge in the overall series 9-7.

This was a series once dominated by the Browns franchise as they five of the first six meetings between the two, including the first three. You must go back to 1951 for the first meeting between these two, one in which the Browns dominated 42-10. A similar pattern followed in 1954 and 1960, with the Browns not only winning those games but also dominating fashion by scores of 39-10 and 42-0.

It wasn't until 10 years after their first meeting when the Bears emerged victorious, winning a 17-14 defensive battle in 1961. Their success didn't last long, with the Browns going on to win the next two in 1967 and 1969 by scores of 24-0 and 28-24. Clearly, the Browns had the Bears number for the better part of 20 years, but since the 1970's the series has tilted in the Bears favor.

The teams met just once in the 1970s, with that game coming in 1972 as Chicago went on to win another defensive struggle 17-0. Moving to the 1980s and you had the Browns winning in 1980 27-21 before winning again in 1989 27-7. Sandwiched in there was the Bears 41-31 shootout win in 1986. In that game, Walter Payton rushed for 113 yards on the ground to go with a score as the Bears defense made life miserable for the Bernie Kosar-led Browns offense.

Cleveland won in 1992 by a score of 27-14, and at that time, it looked as if that would be the final meeting between the two teams as the Browns moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens in the late 1990s.

That was until the NFL brought the Browns back as an expansion franchise in 1999, but and since then, the series has been dominated by the Bears, who have won four of the five meetings since, including three straight.

In their first meeting since the Browns were reincarnated, the Bears and Browns were locked into an exciting contest that saw the Bears emerge victorious 27-21 in overtime. Tim Couch was the QB for the Browns in that game while Shane Matthews was tossing for 357 yards with two scores and three interceptions. Mike Brown came away with the game-winning play as he picked off Couch and returned it 16 yards for the score.

The last win for Cleveland came in 2005 when the Browns beat the Bears at home 20-10.

Since then, not only have things been rough for the Browns as a franchise, but things have been rough for them in this series as the Bears have won three-straight their longest such stretch in the series. Not only have the Bears been winning, but they have been winning big, averaging around 30 points across the three games and failing to allow more than 20 in two of the three occasions.

The closest game came in 2013 when the Bears were locked in an offensive shootout before coming away victorious 38-31.

Outside of that, you have a 30-6 win in 2009 and the 20-3 win last time these teams met in 2017, and things have drastically tipped in Chicago's favor for the better part of the last 30 years.

This year will see completely different teams on the field as the Bears have gone through a dramatic roster makeover while the Browns remain one of the better teams in the AFC. Baker Mayfield continues to patrol the Browns offense as he appears to be a franchise-leading QB, while Justin Fields will be making his first NFL start.

The winner of this matchup typically wins big, and they do so by playing solid defense and having a great offense. While both of these teams have a great defense, the Browns offense is miles better than Chicago at this point, but could be missing both Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry on Sunday. That would be a huge befit for the Bears as they look to bring this series closer to .500 with a win.

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