Sunday, October 23, 2011
Wrap-up: Browns 6, Seahawks 3
By Mike Sando
Thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 6-3 road defeat to the Cleveland Browns in Week 7:
What it means: The Seahawks took a huge step backward offensively with Charlie Whitehurst running an offense that was missing center Max Unger and running back Marshawn Lynch. Whitehurst didn't do enough to maintain whatever momentum he had generated in helping get Seattle over the top against the New York Giants two weeks ago. In fact, he made it nearly impossible for anyone to reasonably call for him to remain the starter. Tarvaris Jackson, who missed this game to injury, seemed like a viable alternative by comparison. This was an ugly defeat for Seattle and one the team can blame squarely on its offense.
What I liked: Red Bryant blocked two field-goal attempts. Leon Washington provided an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown, negated only by a questionable penalty for an illegal block in the back. The plays from Bryant and Washington were precisely what Seattle needed to stay competitive despite the horrible showing on offense. Strong safety Kam Chancellor continued to add a physical presence in the secondary, blitzing effectively and making players pay for carrying the ball downfield. He lifted Montario Hardesty off the ground and planted him on his back late in the game as Seattle held the Browns a field-goal attempt. Linebacker David Hawthorne played his best game of the season, making big hits and collecting an interception in the red zone. Defensive end Chris Clemons was disruptive, pressuring Browns quarterback Colt McCoy and roughing him up.
What I didn't like: Whitehurst held the ball too long and made poor decisions at critical times. Tight end Anthony McCoy dropped multiple passes. Ben Obomanu dropped one late in the game when Seattle needed to rally. Bryant lost his cool late in the game, delivering an after-the-play head butt that led to his ejection and allowed the Browns to run out the clock. This was also a horribly officiated game, I thought. Mike Carey's crew applied differing standards for pass-interference penalties, allowing the Browns to get away with hooking Sidney Rice around the waist, only to call them for such a penalty late in the game. The call negating Washington's return seemed touchy and inconsistent with the way Carey's crew allowed contact in the back during the 49ers-Lions game last week.
Injuries of note: The Seahawks lost cornerback Walter Thurmond to an ankle injury. Running back Marshawn Lynch injured his back during warmups and did not play. Lynch's absence affected the game plan and put more pressure on Whitehurst to deliver.
What's next: The Seahawks are home against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8.