For two teams not in the same division, the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos have had a remarkable rivalry over the years. But most of that has tilted the Broncos’ way, from the Browns’ last win in Denver coming in 1972 to 1987’s “The Drive” to Cleveland’s last win at all in this series coming in 1990. That all changed Saturday night, though, with the Browns coming out with a 17-16 win. And they did so on this game-clinching sack from Jabrill Peppers:
Jabrill Peppers comes through with the game-winning sack! 💪
— theScore (@theScore) December 16, 2018
There was a lot that led up to that, though, including Broncos’ coach Vance Joseph’s decision to kick a field goal on fourth down from the Browns’ 11 with less than five minutes left. That got Denver back within one point, but also gave Cleveland the ball. And while the Browns ultimately failed on a fourth-down conversion of their own to give the Broncos one more chance, their offense wasn’t up to the task. But with the Broncos officially eliminated from the playoffs for the third-straight season (and going 5-11 and 6-8 so far under Joseph), there are going to be a lot of coaching questions for them going forward.
Amazingly, the Browns still have their own playoff hopes alive. They’re only 6-7-1 on the year even with this victory, but that has them not far behind 7-5-1 Pittsburgh and 7-6-0 Baltimore in the AFC North. And Cleveland’s final two games are against division rivals Cincinnati and Baltimore, and if they win both and get some help from losses from the Steelers and Ravens, they could not only make the playoffs, but even host a playoff game as a division winner. That’s not bad at all for a team that fired its head coach partway through this year. Even if they don’t make it that far, though, at least they reversed a couple of long-standing streaks against the Broncos.