Jamal Lewis runs for 4 TD’s; no sacks allowed all day for Browns!
The Browns fell behind early, but came on late to win a close game over a good opponent. The Seahawks may not be a Superbowl contender this year, but they came in with a 4-3 record, good enough for first in the weak NFC West. The Browns had trouble stopping Seattle’s passing attack, as Hasslebeck picked the Browns apart to the tune of 318 yards. Everytime the Browns had Seattle in a third and 5 it seemed Bobby Engram was always open. Well, judging by his 14 catches and 139 yards I guess he was.
This game nearly went into the loss column for two reasons. First, the Browns stubborn refusal to rush more than 3 defenders. On Seattle’s game tying drive in the fourth quarter, the Browns sent only three rushers everytime. It might as well have been a 2 man rush, because nose tackle Shaun Smith seemed to take every other play off, staying at the line of scrimmage and trying to bat the ball down. Had it not been for a replay reversal of a Hasslebeck scramble, the Browns probably lose that game because they couldn’t get any pressure on the QB.
The second reason the Browns nearly lost this game was dropped passes. There were at least six balls dropped by Browns receivers. Braylon Edwards had the most violations, including a drive killer in the fourth quarter, and a dropped TD pass that eventually was overcome by a Lewis TD run. Winslow also dropped a TD on that drive, but stayed focused and set up the game tying score with a nice catch and run to the 1 yard line. Winslow finished with 125 yards on 11 catches. Edwards had an off game, failing to reach the end zone while grabbing 5 balls for 67 yards.
Derek Anderson played superbly. He was Pro-Bowl good. Though he didn’t throw a TD pass, he made the plays he needed to. He made smart decisions with the ball, and even made a few plays with his feet. Anderson was 29 of 48 for 364 yards. He had one pick, but that was a fantastic play by a linebacker. He needed to make those plays, because aside from short yardage, the running game was not going anywhere. Lewis did make a huge play in overtime, taking a screen pass 34 yards to set up the game winning FG.
The game ball should most certainly go to the offensive line. They kept the Seahawks defense, which it should be noted is one of the best at getting to the QB, off Derek Anderson all day. 48 pass attempts without a sack is unreal. The announcers made a point that rookie tackle Joe Thomas hasn’t given up a sack all year. I find that nearly impossible to believe. I can’t remember specifically a sack he has given up, but I find it hard to believe he didn’t give one up in that opener against the Steelers. Regardless, he has been the player the Browns needed. He and Steinbach have solidified the left side, and turned it into a strength in the running game.
Last point- I loved the decisions Romeo Crennel made in this game. On the game tying drive in the 4th quarter, Crennel had a choice to go for a first down or try a field goal. The field goal would have made little sense to me, and I’m glad that Romeo had the guts to put the game on the line. The two point conversion attempts were both the right call. Even though one of them failed. The only criticism is of the defensive play-calling, which I know Crennel was not doing. But being a defensive guy, Crennel needed to tell Todd Grantham to rush more than 3 men.
It was a great win for this team. Three in a row, and a 5-3 record heading into the rematch with the Steelers. Go Browns!!