What History tells us between Bears and Browns
Phil Masturzo - USA Today Sports

What History tells us between Bears and Browns

by - Senior Writer -

With four weeks left in the 2023 NFL regular season, now is the time to lay it all on the line, as this is the final push for most teams. Regarding the Bears, they have quietly put themselves within striking distance of the final playoff spot and, with a strong finish over these next four games, could make things very interesting come week 18.

For that to happen, the Bears need to pick up a massive win against a surprisingly good Cleveland Browns team who is also one of the best teams at home this season. Who would've thought losing Deshaun Watson for the season would result in the Browns owning a playoff spot right now, but the resurgence of Joe Flacco has saved this team and they continue to play inspired football.

These teams haven't met a ton, but you never know what to expect when they do meet. With this being the 18th meeting of all time, which dates back to the 1950s, the Browns currently hold a 10-7 advantage, but the Bears have won four of the last six. A large portion of the Browns success against this team came before 1970, as the Browns were 5-1 against the Bears through the first six games.

That included winning their first three meetings in 1951 (42-21), 1954 (39-10), and 1960 (42-0) as the Bears had no answers for the high-powered Browns early on. Then came the 1961 season when the Bears finally beat the Browns 17-14 and ended those early struggles. Cleveland responded by winning the next two games as the Bears went 11 years before knocking off the Browns in 1972 by a score of 17-0.

If those first seven meetings told us anything, it was that when the Bears won those games, they would rely on the defense while the Browns went offense first and then dominated them in every facet of the game. Following that loss, the Browns took three of the following four meetings, with their lone loss coming in 1986 by a score of 41-31 as they held the 8-3 advantage in the series. It looked like that would be the final tally between the two as the Browns franchise folded in the mid-1990s without a clear plan to return.

Their demise didn't last long as Cleveland was again awarded a franchise and returned to the league in the late 1990s and early 2000s to try and restore the greatness that was the Browns of the past. Since their return, the Bears have met the Browns six times, and they have had the upper hand in most of those meetings, going 4-2 in their last six. That included a 27-21 OT in 2001 in the team's first meeting since the Browns returned, but it wasn't until the 2009 season that the Bears started to take control.

After falling to the Browns in 2005, Chicago went 16 years without losing to Cleveland, the longest streak for either side during their history. That is mainly due to the teams not playing every year, as the Bears won 30-6 in 2009, 38-31 in 2013, and 20-3 in 2017. It was in their most recent meeting in 2021 when the Browns reasserted themselves and made current Bears QB Justin Fields wish he had gone back to college for one more season.

In what was Fields first career road start, the Browns defense got after him as they sacked him nine times in the game including seven times in the first half. Had it not been for a pair of Cairo Santos field goals, the Bears would have been shut out as Cleveland rolled to the 26-6 victory. Fields was held to 68 yards passing in that game and rushed for only 12 yards, as that was the worst game of his professional career.

You have to wonder if that game is on Fields mind heading into the week, as he will look to rebound this time. However, when you look at the Browns record at home and how well they have played, it won't be easy, as that defense is still one of the best in the game. Not only that, but Cleveland has been a house of horrors for the Bears as they are just 2-8 all-time in Cleveland.

Their last win came in 2013, with their only other win coming in 1972.

To say they are due for a win is an understatement, but these are two teams in different states right now, and it will come down to who wants it more and who can execute the best when the pressure is on.

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