Defense pushes Seahawks past Browns; at 5-1 for only third time
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Seattle Seahawks‘ latest trip to FirstEnergy Stadium was shaping up to be as forgettable as the last one, a 6-3 defeat in 2011 with Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback.
The Seahawks fell behind 20-6 early in the second quarter Sunday and lost tight end Will Dissly to an Achilles injury. That will hurt if the prognosis for Dissly is as bad as it looks like it may be.
This will feel good, though: Seattle storming back for a 32-28 victory over the Cleveland Browns thanks to three combined touchdowns from Russell Wilson and four takeaways from the defense as well as a blocked punt. The last takeaway was an interception by K.J. Wright on a Baker Mayfield pass that bounced off the hands of his intended target, ending the Browns’ final drive.
The Seahawks are 5-1 for only the third time in franchise history. The last time: 2013, when they finished the regular season 13-3 and won Super Bowl XLVIII.
QB breakdown: Wilson has set such a high standard while getting off to the best start of his career that his performance Sunday, as good as it was, almost seems typical by now. He completed 23 of 33 passes for 295 yards with two passing touchdowns and a rating of 117.6. He ran for 31 yards and another TD on nine carries. On one of his two TD throws to Jaron Brown, Wilson stood in the pocket and took a massive hit before delivering a pin-point ball in the end zone. He entered Sunday with a league-best 126.3 passer rating and has been above 100 in all six of his games. He’s now at 14 passing touchdowns with no interceptions, six scores away from Peyton Manning’s record for most TDs to begin a season before throwing a pick. That’s MVP stuff.
Buy/sell on a breakout performance: At 29 years old and in his seventh NFL season, we’re probably past the point of Jaron Brown breaking out. But his performance Sunday — three catches for 29 yards and two touchdowns — is a reminder that he can be a productive member of Seattle’s passing game. That hasn’t always seemed like a given this season with Brown disappearing for stretches. He’s had an eventful few months that included being released on cut-down day, then brought back a few days later on a new contract that reduced his base salary from $2.75 million to $1 million. He earned all of that money Sunday.
Troubling trend: You can’t pass definitive judgment on a draft pick less than a season-and-a half in, but the Seahawks’ decision to pass on Nick Chubb in favor of Rashaad Penny with the 27th overall pick last year is not looking like a good one. How’s this for irony: Part of the reason the Seahawks went with Penny was they felt he was the more durable player and better pass-catcher than Chubb. Well, Chubb ran for 122 yard and two touchdowns on 20 carries and caught five passes for 17 yards on Sunday (he lost a fumble on one of those catches). Penny, meanwhile, missed his third game of the season with a hamstring injury — his fifth missed game out of a possible 22 for his career. Watching Chubb play well with Penny on the sideline would have been a lot harder for the Seahawks to stomach had they lost.
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