1989 Cleveland Browns season

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1989 Cleveland Browns season
Head coach Bud Carson
General manager Ernie Accorsi
Owner Art Modell
Home field Cleveland Municipal Stadium
Local radio WWWE · WDOK
Record 9–6–1
Division place 1st AFC Central
Playoff finish Won Divisional Playoffs (Bills 34–30)
Lost Conference Championship[1] (Broncos 21–37)

The 1989 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 40th season with the National Football League.

It was the Browns' first season with head coach Bud Carson, who had been the defensive coordinator of the New York Jets the previous season. The Browns reached their third AFC Championship Game in four seasons,[2] and for the third time lost to the Denver Broncos.

It would be the Browns's fifth consecutive season making the playoffs, but it would be their last playoff season until 1994.



1989 Cleveland Browns staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

  • Special Teams Coordinator – Paul Lanham

Strength and conditioning



1989 Cleveland Browns roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Rookies in italics


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 10, 1989 at Pittsburgh Steelers W 51–0
2 September 17, 1989 New York Jets W 38–24
3 September 25, 1989 at Cincinnati Bengals L 21–14
4 October 1, 1989 Denver Broncos W 16–13
5 October 8, 1989 at Miami Dolphins L 13–10
6 October 15, 1989 Pittsburgh Steelers L 17–7
7 October 23, 1989 Chicago Bears W 27–7
8 October 29, 1989 Houston Oilers W 28–17
9 November 5, 1989 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 42–31
10 November 12, 1989 at Seattle Seahawks W 17–7
11 November 19, 1989 Kansas City Chiefs T 10–10
12 November 23, 1989 at Detroit Lions L 13–10
13 December 3, 1989 Cincinnati Bengals L 21–0
14 December 10, 1989 at Indianapolis Colts L 23–17
15 December 17, 1989 Minnesota Vikings W 23–17
16 December 23, 1989 at Houston Oilers W 24–20

Game summaries

Week 1

Bud Carson begins his Browns head coaching career with a memorable 51-0 victory over the Steelers in Pittsburgh. It is the most lopsided victory in the 79-game series between the teams and the Browns' biggest shutout ever. Carson, Pittsburgh's former defensive coordinator, watches his team force eight turnovers, record seven sacks and score three touchdowns (two by linebacker David Grayson).

1 2 3 4 Total
• Browns 17 13 14 7 51
Steelers 0 0 0 0 0


Week 4

The Browns snap a 10-game losing streak to Denver with a controversial 16-13 win at Cleveland. The game is decided by a Matt Bahr 48-yard field goal as time expires - a kick that barely made the crossbars. Bahr's field goal comes after referee Tom Dooley orders the teams to switch ends of the field, thanks to rowdy Dawg Pound fans who pelt the Broncos withdog biscuits, eggs and other debris. The switch gives the Browns a timely wind advantage.

Week 7

Wide receiver Webster Slaughter catches eight passes for 186 yards in leading the Browns to a 27-7 win over The Chicago Bears on ABC's Monday Night Football in Cleveland. One of the catches is a 96-yard touchdown pass from Kosar - The longest play from scrimmage in Browns history.

Week 8

For the first time in more than a decade Ozzie Newsome did not catch a pass, but The Browns still beat Houston, 28-17. The Browns explode for 326 second-half yards as Kosar throws touchdown passes of 80 and 77 yards to Slaughter. Newsome's club-record streak of 150 consecutive games with a reception ends.

Week 11

Former coach Marty Schottenheimer, returning to Cleveland with his Chiefs, has to settle for a 10-10 tie as Kansas City kicker Nick Lowery misses three makeable field goal attempts: 45- and 39- yarders In the final 10 seconds of regulation and a 47-yarder with seven seconds left in overtime. The Browns fumble four times, throw one interception and punt a club-record-tying 12 times.

Week 16

With the AFC Central title and a wild-card berth at stake, The Browns blow a 17-point lead before bouncing back to defeat the Oilers, 24-20 at the Astrodome. The Browns march 58 yards with no timeouts and Kevin Mack scores on a 4-yard touchdown run with 39 seconds left to save the day.

As of January 2018, the 1989 season marks the last time that the Browns have won a division title. The 28 season drought without a division title is the longest active drought in the NFL.


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
Divisional January 6, 1990 Buffalo Bills W 34–30
Conference Championship January 14, 1990 at Denver Broncos L 21–37


AFC Central
Cleveland Browns(2) 9 6 1 .594 3–3 6–5–1 334 254 W2
Houston Oilers(4) 9 7 0 .563 3–3 6–6 365 412 L2
Pittsburgh Steelers(5) 9 7 0 .563 1–5 6–6 265 326 W3
Cincinnati Bengals 8 8 0 .500 5–1 6–6 404 285 L1


  1. ^ The 1990 Conference Championship game between the Browns and the Broncos marked the third time in four years that John Elway defeated Bernie Kosar and the Browns in the AFC championship game.
  2. ^ The Browns had previously reached the AFC Championship game following the 1986 and 1987 seasons.
  3. ^ "All-Time Assistant Coaches". ClevelandBrowns.com. Archived from the original on May 22, 2008. Retrieved February 6, 2009. 
  4. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2014-Jan-01.
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