CLEVELAND – A recap of the Seahawks’ 6-3 loss to the Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Red Bryant. The performance of the Seahawks’ 323-pound defensive end ran the gamut – physically and emotionally. Bryant set a club record by blocking not one, but two field goals – the first of his four-year career. He split a sack with nickel back Kennard Cox and hit Browns QB Colt McCoy two other times. He deflected a pass. He had four tackles and was a disruptive and relentless presence that set up many others for his teammates.
Bryant also was ejected late in the fourth quarter after head-butting Browns tight end Alex Smith.
In the locker room, Bryant shared the credit for his blocks with teammates, and also shouldered full responsibility for the personal foul that was so out of character.
Bryant on the blocks: “ ‘Heater’ (David Hawthorne) did a great job of pushing. Raheem (Brock) did a great job hitting the tackle. (Anthony) Hargrove did a great job of getting up on his guy. Everybody did a great job. They made it possible for me to slide through there.”
His teammates must have done all that, and more, because a 6-foot-4, 323-pound man does not “slide” through a crack. It takes something closer to a crevasse.
Bryant on his ejection, which gave the Browns a first down on a third-and-7 play: “I lost my composure. I push a guy and get kicked out of the game. You never know what’s going to happen if we give the ball back to our offense. It was just a dumb move on my part. I take full responsibility for it.”
Bryant also got in one last shot at Smith, offering, “He was talking (trash) the whole game. He was taking cheap shots at me. That’s what guys do when they can’t block you. He did a great job of getting in my head. I should play smarter than that.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Special teams: Phil Dawson’s 53-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. It provided the margin of victory. It also was his second 50-plus kick of the game, as the Browns’ veteran kicker hit a 52-yarder in the second quarter. It was the first time in his career that Dawson had two 50-yarders in a game.
Offense: Sidney Rice’s contorted catch of a 38-yard pass from Charlie Whitehurst in the third quarter. Not for what it was – which was the longest offensive play of the game, by 19 yards; but for what it could have been – a touchdown. Rice was wide open along the sideline, but had to stop, retreat and twist his torso to make the catch. His momentum carried him out bounds at the Browns’ 9-yard line, rather than into the end zone.
“I was right there on the sideline waiting on it,” Rice said. “I caught it and turned and tried to scoot up for a couple more yards, as much as I could get.”
Defense: Free safety Earl Thomas’ flying deflection of a deep pass from McCoy to Greg Little near the Seahawks’ goal line in the second quarter. Again, not so much for what it did in the moment, but the bigger picture. Cornerback Walter Thurmond, who was covering Little on the play broke his fibula and will miss the rest of the season. It’s significant, squared, because Thurmond was starting on the left side after Marcus Trufant was placed on injured reserve last Monday with a disc problem in his back. With Thurmond out, rookie Richard Sherman took over.
One that wasn’t: Leon Washington’s 81-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter. The Seahawks’ return specialist did run from the Seahawks’ 19-yard line into the end zone, but the score was nullified because Cox was penalized for a push in the back. So Washington got credit for a 36-yard return on a play the Seahawks desperately needed – one that would have given them the victory.
“I looked back and I saw the flag, I should have felt a little better than that,” Washington said in the hallway outside the Seahawks’ locker room. “You get opportunities like that to help your team win a football game, you’re disappointed. … I haven’t seen the (play) yet. I’ll be interested to see it, to see what happened on the play.”
In addition to the loss of Thurmond, the Seahawks played without Marshawn Lynch after the team’s leading rusher got back spasms during pre-game warm-ups.
The Seahawks also played without quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral), center Max Unger (foot) and tight the Zach Miller (neck/head).
Strong safety Kam Chancellor injured a knee, but returned and made a lift-and-slam tackle of Browns’ running back Montario Hardesty late in the fourth quarter.
Speaking of Chancellor, he had a sack among his eight tackles and also broke up a pass.
Hawthorne had a game-high 11 tackles, including a sack, and also intercepted a pass. He now has 40 tackles to regain the lead in his quest be the team’s leading tackler for the third consecutive season.
Defensive end Chris Clemons had two sacks, upping his team-leading total to six.
The Browns had huge edges in time of possession (42:56 to 17:04), third-down conversions (12 of 24 to 2 of 12), total plays (84 to 50) and total yards (298 to 137).
Whitehurst’s passer rating in his first start of the season was 35.0. He was 12 of 30 for 97 yards and threw an interception.
Doug Baldwin did not catch a pass, but continues to lead the team in receptions (20) and receiving yards (330).
Jon Ryan averaged 50.1 yards on seven punts, with a net average of 42.4 and a long of 67 yards.
Washington was the team’s leading rusher (39 yards) and receiver (four catches).
YOU DON’T SAY
“We lost, so we’re going to take it hard. Yeah, (the defense) played, but we feel like we can bring even more. You’ve got to give the Browns some credit, but I’m proud of my guys, too.” – Bryant