The Browns' 2-0-1 start in home games feels like October on the Olentangy to Carlos Hyde.
"I had a feeling about how Ohio fans can really be from playing at Ohio State," the Browns' rushing leader said on the Monday after a 12-9 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens. "They get really loud. The defense can feed off of that. Everybody in the building can … except for the other team."
The Browns' two-game home winning streak feels like the good old days to those still around to remember them.
Even with this year's 2-0-1 home record, the ledger in games played in Cleveland in 20 expansion-era seasons is 53-101-1.
The good old days were delicious indeed. In the Browns' first 20 seasons as members of the NFL, they were 93-33-3 in old Cleveland Stadium. That was after they were 24-2-1 at home in four years in the All-America Football Conference.
Consecutive home victories over the New York Jets and Ravens are a blast from the past, making fans eager for the immediate future. Defensive end Myles Garrett hears them.
“The atmosphere is night and day from last year," he said.
It pained linebacker Joe Schobert for the air to go out of the stadium Sunday after Sunday in his previous two years with the Browns. Schobert played in every game while they went 1-15 at home.
His smile was wider than most when Greg Joseph's 37-yard field goal knuckled over the crossbar with two seconds left in overtime to beat the Ravens.
"Cleveland has been starved for winning," Schobert said. "The fans and the players were overjoyed. It's very important to win at home."
"Home" has responded. When the Browns beat the New York Jets on Sept. 20, Jets tackle Kelvin Beachum was taken. It was his sixth trip to Cleveland as either a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers or as a Jet.
"This was a hostile environment," Beachum said after the Browns' 21-17 win. "It's the loudest I've heard the place in my years in the league."
With five home games left, the Browns already are assured of losing fewer games in Cleveland than in eight other seasons of the expansion era.
If the Browns beat the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, they will improve to 3-0-1 at home and be assured of losing fewer home games than in 14 of the previous 19 seasons since the franchise was reborn in 1999.
If they beat the Chargers and then win either of their next two home games (Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons), they would head into the bye week assured of their second-best home record of the expansion era.
Since 1999, the Browns have assembled just one winning home record — 7-1 in 2007 — when they went 10-6 overall. After the bye, remaining home games are against the Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals.
Here are the expansion era's home records for full seasons:
0-8: 2017, 1999
1-7: 2016, 2008
2-6: 2015, 2006, 2003, 2000
3-5: 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2004, 2002
4-4: 2014, 2012, 2005, 2001
The Browns have not been a strong home team since the 1980s. Under Bill Belichick from 1991-95, prior to the franchise's move to Baltimore, they were 20-20. From 1985-89, they were 27-11-1.
Hyde is all for the good old days.
"We are doing a good job so far," he said. "We have to keep doing it. We have to protect our house at any cost."
The Browns promoted undrafted rookie running back Dontrell Hilliard from their practice squad to the active roster on Tuesday and waived cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon.
The presence of Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson and rookie second-round draft pick Nick Chubb gives the Browns more than enough quality running backs, but Hilliard was elevated to the 53-man roster in an effort to improve special teams.
McKinnon spent the first four weeks of the season on the practice squad before making his NFL debut and playing special teams in Sunday's 12-9 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens.
The Browns signed Hilliard on May 4 as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane. He spent the first five weeks of the season on the practice squad.