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After a terrible start defensively, the Browns rally is cut off by Seahawks, as Cleveland loses 24-20

Victory was in the grasp of the Browns, but a late turnover cost Cleveland the game.

Cleveland Browns v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

It was a disastrous start by the Cleveland Browns’ defense, allowing 17 points in the first quarter. They nearly pitched a shutout the rest of the way, though, and the offense overcame some turnovers to control the clock and battle back for a 20-17 lead at the two-minute warning. With the game just about in control, though, on the play to try to seal it, P.J. Walker was intercepted, and then Seattle marched down the field for a touchdown and the 24-20 victory. Let’s get to the full game recap.

1st Quarter

The Browns received the ball first and went three-and-out; after having a 3rd-and-2 situation, they tried to run it with RB Jerome Ford, but was hit for a loss of a yard. P Corey Bojorquez came on to punt, and after an illegal block in the back, Seattle began their opening drive at the 20 yard line.

Seattle converted their first third-down situation when QB Geno Smith hit WR Tyler Lockett for 13 yards, and then the next play saw RB Kenneth Walker shoot right up the middle for 45 yards, untouched, down to the 16 yard line.

The defense got them into a 3rd-and-8 situation, but Smith found Lockett again on the right side, open for a first down, to the 3 yard line. On 1st-and-goal, the handoff went to WR Jake Bobo on an end around, and he cut it inside for a touchdown and the early 7-0 lead.

The Browns’ offense began their next drive with a dropped pass by WR Amari Cooper. He made up for it on 3rd-and-short a little later, as he hauled in a 20-yard catch for 20 yards at the sideline. A couple plays later, though, as Walker was looking to pass, he didn’t feel the pressure on his blindside and fumbled the ball. Seattle recovered at the Browns’ 41 yard line.

Smith had tons of time to throw to start the next drive, and then the defense lost Lockett again, as the receiver came down with a 17-yard pass over the middle. An end around on the next play went for a loss of 5 yards, but it didn’t matter as a quick screen pass on the outside went for a 19-yard gain and a first down on the next play. That set up 1st-and-goal at the 10 yard line. The defense got Smith in yet another third down situation, and he evaded the grasp of DE Za’Darius Smith. Smith then found Lockett for a 12-yard touchdown to give the Seahawks a 14-0 lead.

Could Cleveland find a way to stop the storm? Well, the screen pass was a nice answer. First, it was a 12-yard screen pass to RB Kareem Hunt, and then it was followed by a 41-yard screen pass to RB Pierre Strong.

After that, it was a fake screen, then a pass to the releasing TE David Njoku over the middle, for an 18-yard touchdown! The quick strike drive made it a 14-7 game.

The Browns’ defense continued struggling on their next drive, as Seattle was having their way with the top-ranked defense in the NFL. Smith got a 45-yard connection up the left side to WR D.J. Metcalf, getting into the red zone after just three plays. The defense finally came up with a third-down stop, holding Seattle to a 32-yard field goal by K Jason Myers to make it a 17-7 game.

On 3rd-and-10 of the Browns’ next drive, Walker found Cooper up the left side on a similar play as earlier in the game for 22 yards and a first down. The first quarter ended with a 12-yard run by Strong into Seattle territory at the 41 yard line.

2nd Quarter

The Browns started the second quarter with Dorian Thompson-Robinson at quarterback, and he faked a handoff and shuffled it to Njoku for 9 yards. Walker re-entered, and on 3rd-and-short, Hunt picked up a first down with a stacked offensive line. Two plays later, the Browns faced a 3rd-and-2. Walker had two Browns receivers to his left, but threw it in between them and it was intercepted. It looked like Njoku may have forced the ball loose and possessed it in a crazy turn of events, but the officials just kept it as an interception.

Cleveland’s defense finally forced a stop, specifically a three-and-out, as CB Greg Newsome defended Smith’s third down pass attempt up the right sideline. Seattle punted, and the Browns took over at their own 33 yard line.

Runs by Hunt for 9 yards, and then a 6-yard scramble by Walker, helped move chains. A failed trick play on first down, and then a loss of a yard by Hunt on second down, then set up 3rd-and-11. The offense got a 9-yard screen pass to Njoku, setting up 4th-and-2 from the 43 yard line. The offense stayed out there, and Walker’s pass to Cooper along the left side drew a defensive pass interference to move the chains.

Strong needed two carries to move the chains again with good, hard runs. Walker then stood in the pocket, bought time, and delivered a strike to a wide open Cooper for 24 yards to the 2 yard line, and a roughing the passer put it to the 1 yard line.

Two plays later, the handoff went to Hunt, who walked it in for a touchdown to make it a 17-14 game with 4:40 remaining in the first half.

The Browns’ defense got into an advantageous situation, seeing a first down incompletion and then a 10-yard penalty to make it 2nd-and-20. That led to another three-and-out and a punt, with the offense taking over at the 22 yard line with 3:16 left and three timeouts.

Cleveland’s offense faced a 3rd-and-3 heading to the two-minute warning. On third down, Walker was sacked for a loss of 9 yards, forcing a punt as Seattle burned a timeout. Bojorquez got off a nice punt, returned to the 25 yard line to start the Seahawks’ next drive. Could the defense force the same type of end-of-half magic that they had a week ago?

Seattle began things off with a quick pass to Lockett for 12 yards, and then RB Zach Charbonnet had a burst of 21 yards to get into Cleveland territory. A few plays later, on 3rd-and-2, Smith handed to Charbonnet again, who was stuffed for no gain. Cleveland called a timeout to stop the clock with 45 seconds, and Seattle kept the offense on the field instead of trying a 52-yard field goal. Smith found Metcalf over the middle for a first down, but then on the next play, M.J. Emerson jumped the sideline pass to Metcalf for a interception at the boundary. There wasn’t enough time for the offense to do anything, so they kneeled it out — but the interception was still huge to keep it a 3-point game.

3rd Quarter

Seattle got the ball to begin the second half, and after getting into a 3rd-and-1, Smith tried a deep playaction dropback. His two receivers weren’t open, so he just had to throw the ball away and punt.

On the Browns’ first drive of the half, the screen pass worked to perfection again, this time to Njoku over the middle to the tune of 41 yards, into Seattle territory.

Two plays later, a quick slant to Cooper moved the chains again, getting the team into field goal range. Unfortunately, after the reverse to WR Marquise Goodwin worked two weeks in a row, it did not this week and was sniffed out for a loss of 5 yards. No worries — Walker stepped back and found WR Elijah Moore for a 21-yard gain and a first down to the 14 yard line. The offense could only get to the 7 yard line from there, so K Dustin Hopkins came on for a 25-yard field goal to tie things up at 17-17.

On Seattle’s next drive, on a third down, DT Maurice Hurst dropped back, tipped Smith’s pass, and then turned around and intercepted the pass! The agile play set the Browns’ defense up at the Seahawks’ 39 yard line.

A 9-yard run by Hunt started things off well for the Browns’ offense, looking for their first lead of the day. Hunt followed that up with a 5-yard run to move the sticks. On the next play, Walker had a rare quarterback keeper on the option, which fooled the defense as he went for 9 yards. Strong slipped on second down, setting up 3rd-and-short. The give went to Hunt, who cut for 3 yards and another first down.

Facing a 3rd-and-4, Walker’s sideline pass to Cooper was incomplete. Hopkins came on and hit a 27-yard field goal to give the Browns a 20-17 lead with 2:50 remaining in the third quarter.

The Browns’ defense forced a three-and-out again, and on third down this time, rookie CB Cam Mitchell just missed snagging a pick six along the sideline. Instead, Seattle punted 67 yards into the end zone for a touchback. Walker came back out to operate the offense with 1:22 on the clock in the third quarter. Cleveland started things off with a screen pass to Ford, but a hold was called to push the offense back to 1st-and-18. An illegal hands to the face penalty on the defense bailed the Browns out for a first down, though. Cleveland closed out the third quarter with a 3-yard run by Ford.

4th Quarter

The Browns started the fourth quarter off with balance, as Walker found Moore for a first down, and Strong had a 9-yard run to set up 2nd-and-1 just shy of midfield. Then, Ford took the next handoff for a burst of 12 yards up the middle, into Seattle territory. A few plays later, on 3rd-and-4, Walker skipped the pass in the direction of Ford. Instead of a 57-yard field goal attempt, Bojorquez came on to try to pin Seattle back — his punt was fair caught at the 11 yard line. That drive drained almost six minutes of clock, but it only matters if the defense gets it right back for you.

Seattle finally moved the chains for the first time in forever, getting a 3rd-and-1 run by Charbonnet for 13 yards. A 7-yard catch by Charbonnet helped put Seattle in a good situation at 2nd-and-3, and Charbonnet continued the momentum with a 20-yard gain into Cleveland territory. On a pivotal third down, DE Myles Garrett had his name called for the first time, as he forced a fumble and a sack (Smith recovered). That took them out of long field goal range and Seattle had no choice but to punt with 5:46 remaining.

Seattle’s punt was downed at the 11 yard line. Could Walker and company close things out? A 6-yard run by Ford kicked off the drive. Walker kept it on second down and picked up six more yards and a first down. A few plays later, facing 3rd-and-3, Walker missed an open Cooper, but an automatic first down penalty was called with Seattle having hands to the face again on the other side of the field on WR Donovan Peoples-Jones.

The next keeper by Walker went for 2 yards, setting up 2nd-and-8. A pitch play to Strong picked up 5 yards, setting up 3rd-and-3. The Browns called timeout with 2:04 left to think about what play to run. Walker went to pass, but his throw bounced off the helmet of S Jamal Adams and went sky high into the air before being intercepted by S Julian Love. Ugh.

The Seahawks had new life, taking over at their own 43 yard line with 1:57 to go and two timeouts. Smith capitalized, hitting Lockett, Metcalf, and TE Noah Fant for chunks to get into the red zone. Then, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba caught the go-ahead touchdown pass, making it a 24-20 game with just 0:38 remaining and two timeouts for Cleveland. They couldn’t do anything with the long field, and Seattle sealed it.

Up next, the Browns head back home to take on the Arizona Cardinals.

Quick Hitters

  • QB P.J. Walker: 15-of-31 for 248 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 1 fumble lost.
  • RB Kareem Hunt: 14 carries, 55 yards (3.9 YPC), 1 TD.
  • RB Pierre Strong: 10 carries, 41 yards (4.1 YPC). 1 catch, 41 yards.
  • WR Amari Cooper: 6 catches, 89 yards.
  • TE David Njoku: 4 catches, 77 yards, 1 TD.
  • DE Myles Garrett: 1 sack.