The Browns ended an 11-game losing streak (which matched a franchise record) on Oct. 14, when they beat the Bengals. That also ended a skid of 12 straight losses in the AFC North for Cleveland.
Now, the Browns can put a stop to another formidable streak: A franchise-record 12 straight losses on the road, which is also the longest active one in the NFL.
Asked what his team has learned during that losing streak, coach Pat Shurmur said: “Don’t lose on the road. I think what’s important is, let’s take the teams out of it for whatever its worth. Last week we won a division game at home, right? Now we have an opportunity to go on the road and play a conference opponent and win a game on the road. That’s what we need to do. That’s the way you approach it. That’s it.”
The last time Cleveland won away from home was Sept. 18, 2011, at Indianapolis. That was also the first road game under Shurmur.
What makes the streak look bad is the fact that the Browns have failed to score more than 20 points in 10 of those losses on the road. Cleveland has averaged 16.3 points away from home during the skid.
This may not excuse this long stretch of losing, but the Browns have had a challenging road. In 2011, five of the seven losses on the road came against teams that made the playoffs that season. This year, four of the five losses have been to teams that currently have winning records, including three that would make the postseason if the season ended today.
Shurmur said he hasn't seen a difference between how his team has played on the road and at home.
"Our most recent road game was of course in Dallas, and there was a lot of conversation of playing in this new great facility. I didn’t see that having any effect on the game," he said. "As you go to play road games, you get prepared, get on the airplane. You sleep in a hotel. You go and stay and play the game. That’s the way you have to approach it. If you develop players having highs and lows based on where they’re playing and when they’re playing, then emotionally they get all out of whack in my opinion. You talk about it. You explain to them what they can expect. You prepare them for the environment, and then you let it rip.”
Sunday is the Browns' best shot at ending the streak this season. They play at the Raiders, who have lost four straight and are 2-3 in what has become a friendlier Black Hole.
Cleveland's last two road games of the season are at Denver and at Pittsburgh.