Browns Next Challenge: Win at Home

TheInsiders takes a look at the Browns challenges winning at home, and the need to reverse that trend this Sunday against the Raiders.

After a stunning and lopsided victory over Pittsburgh, the Browns now must play at their toughest spot.

At home.

The team that can't win at home and always seems to disappoint the home fans now must try to use the win over the Steelers as a springboard while confronting the demons at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

The last time the Browns were there a fan was telling Tim Couch "I wish you were dead" and Ryan Tucker was cursing at fans in the stands as he left the field after a loss to Cincinnati.

Now they'll need the backing of those same fans to beat Oakland.

The numbers tell the story of the team's futility at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Since their return to the field in 1999, the Browns have gone 9-25 at home. They've won three of the last 12 games at home. They've gone 0-2 at home this season.

For whatever reason, the Browns tighten up at home -- they've not played a game at home close to the one they played in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

It even led Butch Davis to quip that the Browns would bus one hour south to Akron and then fly back to Cleveland this weekend.

Presumably he was kidding.

But to Davis, the key is staying the same and preparing the same way for this game that he and the team did for Pittsburgh.

"If you start fabricating reasons why you're playing well on the road and bad at home, then you start bringing in things like superstition and luck," Davis said. "And that's baloney. It's all about preparation and performance and playing well."

The Browns prepare well for home games.

Several times Davis has wondered what happened after a home loss, saying that the team had a great week of preparation.

They don't perform well.

It could be they are trying too hard.

It could be that the legend of the Browns fans is a myth and they don't pick up their team.

It could be that the relationship between quarterback Tim Couch and the fans has become too adversarial, making it near impossible for him to succeed.

If none of those are true, the only thing left could be the 'ch' word, and nobody wants to use that about professional athletes.

The Browns could take heart and find hope in one fact though: Last weekend in Pittsburgh they exorcised a demon by beating the Steelers like a drum.

It was the first win over the Steelers in the Butch Davis era, and it ended a six-game losing streak to Pittsburgh.

This week provides another chance to exorcise another demon -- the one that keeps them from winning at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

SERIES HISTORY: 14th meeting, and the Raiders lead the series 9-4. The Browns have never beaten Oakland at home, but they also haven't played them in Cleveland since 1985. Browns fans remember the most painful loss to the Raiders at home well -- that came in the infamous "Red Right 88" playoff game, when Brian Sipe threw a last-minute interception in sub-zero temperatures to end the Kardiac Kids best season.


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