The Cleveland Browns are in the stage of their schedule that the wins are going to come harder but the competition is such that this roster can come out way ahead with some needed wins.
The Seattle Seahawks are not one of those patsy games as they came into this contest with an identical 4-2-0 record as the Browns. A win placed the victor at 5-2 whereas the loser created problems for their post-season aspirations at 4-3. Cleveland still did not have their starting QB Deshaun Watson but is riding a ferocious defense that has carried this team all year.
At the final gun, the Browns gave away another game this year by losing 24-20.
So who played well for the Browns? Who didn’t?
RB Pierre Strong - His coming out game showed he has got some moves and can break big ones. As the first quarter was winding down, Strong followed a block by RG Wyatt Teller who had pulled on the screenplay and gained 41 yards to the Seahawks 18. With 5:36 left before the half, he began left and then turned up the middle to gain nine for a first down. He scampered nine yards early in the fourth quarter to the 43 of Seattle right before the second interception. Took on two blocks to protect QB P.J. Walker and finished with 10 rushes for 41 yards with a 4.1 average yards per carry.
Yeah, my only major gripe in that game was the calls designed to go to 85 evaporated, he was a HUGE part of sustaining drives early on AND while I know he was a critical blocking cog, fairly certain PJ had him open in other throwing situations late but passed him up.— + x (@HawaiiBrownsHui) October 30, 2023
TE David Njoku - Should have been used a lot more because he was on fire today with just four catches for 77 yards but with eight targets. When the pass was on target, Njoku came through numerous times, but sadly he had many errant balls tossed his way either too high or in the turf. His touchdown catch was bully. He had worked his way free into the middle zone with determination helping him score. Of course landing on his defender for the final yard helped. Gained a key first down early in Quarter 2. With 12:18 left in the third quarter, Njoku took a middle screen and followed C Ethan Pocic’s lead block to gain 41 yards to Seattle’s 40. Several plays later resulted in a field goal.
RB Kareem Hunt - The Browns needed a good game from Hunt and he delivered. Is a very good blocker when held in and helped with a fifth defender rushing. His touchdown in the second quarter was his patience behind the blocking of OL Nick Harris who had come in to play fullback. Converted a third-and-one midway through the third quarter to the 14. Led all rushers with 55 yards on 14 carries with a 3.9 average yards per carry.
CB M.J. Emerson - Allowed a long pass in the first quarter to WR D.K. Metcalf, but settled down after that and played lights out. Nailed WR Tyler Lockett with 3:53 left in the second quarter after beating his man who had attempted to block him on the wide receiver screen. His pick with 20 seconds to go into halftime stopped a very good Seahawks drive that most likely would have ended with points. With 7:12 left in the third, LBs Anthony Walker and Sione Takitaki whiffed on tackling RB Kenneth Walker on a sweep where Emerson stopped his progression instead. Was able to stop Metcalf late in the third quarter when Metcalf had an open field. Then was the recipient of Grand Theft Auto when Metcalf held him on the Seahawks’ final touchdown. Finished with six tackles and one batted pass.
Punt coverage - For the second week in a row, the Browns opponents were stifled on punt coverage from villains D’Anthony Bell, Cameron Mitchell, Mike Ford, and Tony Fields. Seattle PR DeeJay Dallas fielded two kicks for 15 yards. That equates to 7.5 yards per return. Grimy work but effective.
It’s great to have the team compete every week but my gawd what I would give for an above avg healthy qb who played 17 games— todd sawicki (@sawickipedia) October 29, 2023
Time of possession - Cleveland killed this one today and if you glance at this stat you would assume a victory. 36:40 for the Browns versus 23:20 for the home team. Erase the turnovers and the offense did well today.
K Dustin Hopkins - The two-time AFC Special Teams Player of the Week did his job with field goals made of 25 and 27 and was 2-2 on PATs. Has a deep kickoff which most landed in the minus 6 range.
Offensive line - As a whole, this unit played well and seemed to be running the ball at will, especially up the gut. With this much success, why did the offense begin throwing or running tricky reverse plays? This group dominated the Seahawks defense in the second half and played a hard-fought contest.
Turnovers - P.J. Walker fumbled in the first quarter: seven points for Seattle. Seahawks interception on the Browns’ final drive turned into another Seattle touchdown. The Browns lost by four. You do the math. Nobody can win with three turnovers. The final interception eliminated the Browns ability to run out the clock with a lead.
LT Jedrick Wills - With the Browns needing to drive the field to score the go-ahead touchdown, Wills allowed his man LB Darrell Taylor to take the outside move and sack Walker which then forced a fourth-and-19. In the first quarter, Seattle LB Boye Mafe took an inside track while LB Jordyn Brooks went outside. Wills blocked neither as both men met at the quarterback for the game’s first sack. Wills also had a false start penalty which forced the offense to begin a drive needing 15 yards instead of 10.
Seahawks first drive - As this Cleveland defense has gotten so much press about how mighty they are, Seattle drove down the field like they were playing a D-2 college squad before scoring the game’s first touchdown. Eight plays, 80 yards, and just 3:55 of clock.
Seahawks final drive - After a weird interception off of the helmet of DT Jarran Reed that eliminated a clock-killing drive to seal the win, passes were completed for seven, nine, and 27 yards right away. Then the Browns defense had 13 men on the field. Now with the ball on the nine, a short pass to slot receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba who then went untouched for the go-ahead score. By the way, great holding by Metcalf. You have this action down pat. Minimal pass defense from a team that was leading the league in pass defense.
Offense last seven possessions - Punt, end of half, field goal, field goal, punt, interception, downs. Great drives were destroyed but a number of things, but the outcome was not seven points added to the scoreboard. No sir, I don’t like it.
Milk Bones – When you realize that life is a bowl of soup and you are a fork
I’m fine. They were gonna lose that game. I’m basically buoyed that it was close, especially after spotting them two TDs. Walker is just brutal. Turnover after turnover after turnover. For weeks.— Ryan Burns (@FtblSickness) October 29, 2023
QB P.J. Walker - At times Walker looks like a seasoned veteran who had been in some close games. Then he would toss a third-down pass into the turf or turn the ball over. After fumbling in the first stanza, early in Quarter 2 he overthrew a wide-open Njoku into the arms of cornerback Riq Wooten which killed a great drive as the Browns were down by 10. Tied 17-17 in the third quarter facing a third-and-five from Seattle’s nine-yard line, Walker threw a back shoulder fade which should have been thrown to WR Amari Cooper’s far outside shoulder but instead was tossed to his near shoulder to which CB Tre Browns simply reached the pass and batted it away.
A key third down play early in the fourth quarter ended up with WR Elijah Moore going nine yards as he hit Moore full speed. Five plays later with a third-and-four, Walker threw the ball into the turf instead of RB Jerome Ford’s waiting arms which killed a 10-play drive. With 31 ticks left in the game, he threw it right to Woolen who luckily dropped the gift. The final pass was also into the dirt. Walker had a very good ground game today with six rushes for 27 yards and made two crucial first downs. His passing stats are 15 completions on 31 attempts for 248 yards, sacked three times, one TD pass, two picks, a lost fumble, plus a 59.6 QB rating.
DE Myles Garrett - Was the invisible man in the first half largely due to double team blocks from either the tight end or running back chipping the first step, then being handed off to either OT Charles Cross or G Anthony Bradford. Then, Boom! His single sack/fumble with 5:46 left in the game on a Seahawks third-and-11 busted open the opportunity that Cleveland just may win the game and ignited every Browns sports bar. Had just two tackles.
I’m not at all saying the play design wasn’t good. That players weren’t open. I just don’t get how you trust PJ in that situation when running the ball was working so well. https://t.co/ArGfqMUxAy— Zach D (@ZachNoah52) October 29, 2023
Play calling - Cleveland got inside the 10 and began a series by passing when all game they had churned up the soft middle of the Seahawks’ defense. Then they ran and scored on a Kareem Hunt scamper. These reverses and jet sweeps are a loss of yardage mostly, so why keep running them? Several pass plays gained decent yardage and the play-calling worked for the most part between the 30s. It was when the offense could sniff the end zone that the run game came to a sketching halt despite moving it well. The worst was in the final drive and trying to run out the clock, which is usually done with the run, right? Except Walker dropped back to pass only to have the ball skip off a defender’s helmet and become an interception. Why were the Browns throwing the ball? Any incompletion would stop the clock whereas running keeps the clock moving. Anyone?
CB Cameron Mitchell - Is a really good tackler on special teams especially on punt returns, but the dude had a pick-six with 1:27 left in the third quarter that went right into both hands. The difference in the game? The rookie finished with two tackles, both on special teams.
DT Maurice Hurst - Hurst had dropped back into coverage if you can believe that, then tipped the pass and caught it with a non-big man move with 6:53 left in the third at Seattle’s 39-yard line. It led to a field goal. Had two tackles.
WR Amari Cooper - The entire first half was when Cooper was most active whereas in the second half, there were very few balls thrown his way. His 22-yard reception in the final seconds of the first quarter set Cleveland up at their own 47. He did catch a 24-yarder in the second quarter which set up the Hunt touchdown run. Finished with 89 yards on just six catches with 11 targets on too many overthrown passes.
In this game, who did you miss most?
QB Deshaun Watson
RT Jack Conklin
RB Nick Chubb