You may recall that I wrote an article saying that the 2014 Browns were a different team than we were used to seeing. I was wrong. But at the midway point of the season I couldn't be blamed for it. They were 5-3, were getting serviceable, not elite, but serviceable play from Brian Hoyer, had a quality rushing attack with Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West, and the defense was legit. The Browns were looking at a winning season, possibly a playoff berth, and some were even whispering that the Browns could be an AFC North darkhorse.
And it didn't look too impossible. The Ravens were coming off a two-week fall from the Steelers and Bengals, and both those teams had suffered big losses to the Browns. Mind you they did this all without Josh Gordon.
Then it fell apart. The offense suffered without Alex Mack and the right side of the line became patchwork, numerous injuries to defensive stars such as Phil Taylor, Tashaun Gipson, and others, the run game fell apart, Brian Hoyer started playing terribly, and the Browns started to crumble. Josh Gordon came back from his suspension looking like he didn't care, and when Hoyer was pulled for Johnny Manziel, it was a disaster.
The Browns would turn a 5-3 start into a 7-9 finish and go into the offseason disappointed and full of questions as to what to do at quarterback.
The AFC North can't claim to have four teams over .500 yet, but we can at least still watch this: