Gordon (14 Catches, 237 Yards) All Class In Browns Loss
By Steven King
It was a day for his team, the Cleveland Browns, to forget.
But, at the same time, it was a day for WR Josh Gordon to remember.
The fact the second-year pro handled it the right way made it even more special for both him and the Browns going forward.
While Cleveland (4-7) was watching its already faint playoff hopes almost completely evaporate with a lopsided 27-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium, Gordon etched his way into the record books.
He had 14 receptions to tie a team record set by Pro Football Hall of Fame TE Ozzie Newsome in 1984 against the New York Jets. A total of five players are tied with 11.
And Gordon’s 237 receiving yards established a Browns mark. It was previously held by Newsome, who had 191 against the Jets in that game 29 years ago.
Third on that list is WR Webster Slaughter, who had 186 yards against the Chicago Bears in 1989 on Monday Night Football.
Gordon already has a team-leading 988 receiving yards, easily bettereing his total of 805 last season.
That’s the most by a Brown since 2007 when WR Braylon Edwards had a team-record 1,289, and TE Kellen Winslow added 1,106.
It’s also the most a Browns player has had in the first 11 games of the season. That’s despite the fact Gordon has played in only nine games, being suspended by the NFL for the other two games for taking a banned substance
Slaughter had the previous mark with 908 yards in 1989, with Edwards third with 894 in 2007.
In addition, Gordon’s 1,793 receiving yards are the most through 25 games in Browns history.
Along with all that, Gordon now has a team-record five 100-yard receiving games this season with five contests left.
Edwards (2007), Slaughter (1989), TE Milt Morin (1968) and WR Gary Collins (1965) are all tied for second with four.
At the NFL trade deadline this year, there was considerable speculation that the Browns would jettison Gordon. He was brought in by the former regime, which meant that CEO Joe Banner and general manager Mike Lombardi owed him nothing – not even a real chance to prove himself.
And there is also the fact that, with two strikes already against him, he will have to sit out a year the next time he violates the league’s substance abuse policy.
As such, the Browns were gambling by keeoping him.
But they would have also been gambling by trading him. He is extremely talenred on a team that is really lacking such with its skill position players on offense.
And Sunday that paid off – big-time.
It also paid off – more so, in one regard – with the way Gordon reacted. A year ago – and certainly two years ago, as a rookie, when he was very immature – he would have emphasized what he did and downplayed the fact the team got beaten badly.
Now it’s just the opposite.
When asked afterward to discuss the significance of his big performance on Sunday, he said with a shrugg, “Honestly, it doesn’t mean that much to me. After taking a loss like that, it means nothing.
“It is great for me as a wide receiver to get that experience, but if we can’t go out there and win, I really don’t care about that.”
It seems that in Josh Gordon, the Browns have more than just a very promising pass catcher. They’ve got someone who is also very promising as a person.
And that is something they hope will enable him to become as good of a player as he can be.