BEREA — The thought of sweeping an AFC North opponent crossed the mind of Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry when a reporter asked him about it Thursday.

"Let me guess," Landry said. "That’s a stat that hasn’t been done here in 20 years."

Actually, it's been 11 years since the Browns won both of their matchups against a divisional opponent in the same season. In 2007, they beat the Baltimore Ravens twice.

On Sunday, the Browns (6-7-1) will have a chance to sweep the Cincinnati Bengals (6-8) with a win in the home finale at FirstEnergy Stadium. They haven't gone 2-0 against the Bengals since 2002, the same year the AFC North was formed.

"Well, it would be good," Landry said. "… I think it creates momentum inside the division, as well, that we’re not the little brother no more."

The Browns defeated the Bengals 35-20 on Nov. 25 in Cincinnati. A victory Sunday would give them a record of 5-2-1 at home and 3-1-1 in the division heading into the Dec. 30 season finale at Baltimore. Three wins is the most the Browns have posted in the AFC North in a season. They went 3-3 in 2007.

Landry admitted it's hard to understand how much the Browns have struggled throughout the expansion era from outside Cleveland.

"I feel like till you hear and see and feel what it’s felt to the people that has been in it, you don’t really understand the magnitude of it," said Landry, whom the Browns acquired in March via a trade with the Miami Dolphins. "And now being here and being a Cleveland Brown and playing inside of this division and understanding [the media's] feelings and taking all that, and the city as well, you understand what this game means. I’m happy to be a part of it now."

Another setback

Former Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the substance-abuse policy, the league announced Thursday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Gordon announced on Twitter he would leave the New England Patriots to address his mental health.

Gordon received countless chances to redeem himself with the Browns the past six years, until General Manager John Dorsey traded the 2013 All-Pro selection and a 2019 seventh-round draft pick to the Patriots on Sept. 17 in exchange for a 2019 fifth-round selection.

Because of numerous suspensions during his Browns tenure, Gordon missed 43 consecutive games and 54-of-64 from 2014-17. He played for the Browns in their Sept. 9 season-opening tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers and caught one pass for a 17-yard touchdown.

But the Browns announced on the eve of their Week 2 game in New Orleans they would release Gordon after he showed up late at team headquarters the same day and complained about a hamstring injury members of the franchise did not believe he suffered in practice. There was also a sense within the organization Gordon could have been struggling again with his well-chronicled battle with drug and alcohol addiction.

Two days later, Dorsey traded Gordon to the Patriots instead of cutting him.

Gordon, 27, appeared in 11 games with the Patriots and caught 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns.

"Our prayers are with him and his family and what he’s going through," Landry said. "... I just hope that he finds a way to get on the right track and get back on the field because he’s one of those hella receivers that this game needs and loves watching him play."

Overwhelming response

Unimpressed with the attendance at FirstEnergy Stadium on Dec. 9 in a 26-20 win over the Carolina Panthers, rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield urged Browns fans to show up for the home finale.

They delivered as the Browns announced a sellout for Sunday's game.

"What’s up y'all, Baker Mayfield here," Mayfield said in a video tweeted by the Browns. "So I just found this Sunday's game is sold out. I appreciate you guys. I know I called you out. I thank you guys for buying all the tickets, being there for the support. I appreciate it a lot.

"So excited to see you on Sunday, but it’s not just about being there. You’ve got to be loud, too. We want the energy to be there. We want it to be very exciting for this last home game, finishing off the season on the right note, and I appreciate you guys. Thank you very much."

Game ball

Free safety Damarious Randall famously approached Browns coach-turned-Bengals assistant Hue Jackson on the sideline in Cincinnati and handed him the ball after intercepting it in Week 12.

Will Randall hand another ball to Jackson this weekend?

"I promised some different people some balls," Randall replied, "so they have to go to some different people."

Randall said members of the Browns would be recipients.

Asked if he regrets handing the ball to Jackson, Randall said: "What I did is what I did. I'm moving forward from that."

Missing out

Middle linebacker Joe Schobert represented the Browns in the Pro Bowl last season after being named a first alternate, but he didn't receive any Pro Bowl recognition this year.

The Browns chalked up the lack of votes to Schobert missing 3½ games with a hamstring injury.

"Yeah, I really did [think Schobert was worthy of the Pro Bowl], but it goes to show about when you miss four games, that's hard," interim coach Gregg Williams said.

Schobert said experiencing the Pro Bowl last year motivated him to reach it again.

"A little bit [disappointing], but I knew it was probably a long shot," he said. "I was missing about four games worth of snaps. Not too surprised."

Randall is another player who hoped for a Pro Bowl nod but didn't get a sniff.

"I respect the guys that made it," Randall said, "and I'm just going to say that my time is coming."

Landry played in the Pro Bowl in each of the past three seasons, but he was voted a third alternate this year.

"From a confidence standpoint [I believe I'm as good as the receivers who made the Pro Bowl], but just didn't make it in," Landry said. "Now I've some things to work on, some things to learn from and grow, and I'm going to be in it next year."

Injury updates

Strong safety Jabrill Peppers sat out practice Thursday because of a stiffness in his neck, Williams said.

"He'll be OK," Williams said. "Basically, when you play as well as he did [in Sunday's 17-16 win over the Denver Broncos], we'll give him the day off."

Center JC Tretter (high ankle sprain) remained idle, but defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (biceps) returned to practice on a limited basis.

Wylie breaks ankle

Offensive line coach Bob Wylie suffered a fractured ankle during practice and underwent surgery at University Hospitals on Thursday night.

“Surgery went well and we’re all wishing him a speedy recovery,” a team spokesman said. “He’s questionable at best for the game on Sunday.”

 

Nate Ulrich can be reached at nulrich@thebeaconjournal.com. Read his Browns coverage at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.