Cleveland Browns 6, Seattle Seahawks 3
You want to know what the worst part about watching football on the West Coast is? It’s not the 10 a.m. games that the Seahawks have a hard time waking up for, although that’s the catalyst for the worst part.
No, the worst part is having to drink so much so early to blot some truly horrible football out of the mind, being wasted by noon with a full day of other games to watch, to stew over the missed plays, the bad calls, and the pure bile inflicted burning that comes from watching your team blow up at 10 in the morning.
And Sunday, October 23, was another day for it, ripe with opportunities that were missed worse than a deep throw by Charlie Fucking Whitehurst.
Yes, Whitehurst has earned his middle name again. It’s how he was referred to in various texts, emails, and yells at my house on Sunday. After showing positive steps against the New York Giants as a third quarter sub for an injured Tarvaris Jackson, Whitehurst took more negative steps as the starter against Cleveland.
All you fans chanting Charlie, kindly go stick your heads in a vat of acid now please. Thank you.
I tried hard not to get my hopes up but it’s hard not to with a big win on the road. The bye week only built the suspense. What would the Seahawks get from a full week to prepare for a Browns team that, honestly, was on the same level as Seattle? What would Whitehurst do with his starting chance, something I and many others felt he was screwed out of when Seattle signed Jackson and Pete Carroll named him the starter immediately?
Well, now we know. As much as Whitehurst showed in preseason and against the Giants, he showed absolutely nothing against the Browns.
Choosing a play of the game is actually difficult, with so many fiascos to choose from, and only the occasional diamond shining through. I want to go with the Sidney Rice catch down the sideline but he fell untouched out of bounds instead of scoring, so no, I won’t. I would go with the Leon Washington punt return for a touchdown but that was called back for a phantom block in the back, so no, not that one either.
Play of the Game:
For this one, I’m going with an early play, one that if this game were a movie would have foreshadowed all the crap to come.
In the first series, Seahawks receiver Ben Obomanu split the Browns safety and cornerback with a double move that left him streaking along the hash mark wide open. Whitehurst saw it and launched a wounded duck that was so bad, Obomanu had to slow down and come back to have a chance at it. The cornerback, who was five yards behind Obomanu, turned and batted the ball down, causing NFL Network analyst Jim L. Mora—yes, that same Mora who coached Seattle to a 5-11 season in 2009—to say Obomanu was well covered.
That play proved a few things all at once. One, Mora is still a fucking idiot. Two, Whitehurst has no arm and no accuracy and three, shots of bourbon are not good for breakfast.
The Good: (Yes, there were a few good things the Seahawks did.)
1. The Defense: The defense was clearly the star for Seattle and it’s a good thing too.
Cleveland’s offense had the ball for over 42 minutes, running 84 plays compared to Seattle’s 17 minutes and 50 plays. With just those stats, the score should have been more like 30-3.
2. Kam Chancellor: The strong safety for Seattle is a huge hitter and great in coverage, punishing running backs and wide receivers everywhere on the field. He finished with seven tackles, every one of them going to require some ice after the game to ease the bruising.
In particular, if you can find the tackle he made on Cleveland running back Hardesty at the 4:14 mark of the fourth quarter, watch it. It’s the reason I’m going to be looking for a Chancellor jersey this week to replace my Tatupu one.
3. Red Bryant: Bryant had an excellent game overall. He blocked two field goals and was basically unblockable by anyone wearing a Browns uniform. He showed again how important he is to the Seattle defensive line by helping to hold those 84 plays to an average of 3.5 yards per play.
1. Marshawn Lynch: The star running back for Seattle was a pregame scratch. He apparently locked his back up during pregame warm ups and was unable to loosen things up. Not having Lynch hurt Seattle’s running game, taking away the hard running inside.
2. No Huddle: After working so well against the Giants, Seattle’s no huddle offense only succeeded in causing Seattle problems as the first drive flamed out with repeated penalties and miscues.
3. Huddle: If there was anything worse for Seattle’s offense than the no huddle, it was huddling. Hell, Seattle’s offense would have been better off staying in Seattle.
1. Red Bryant: Yes, Bryant had a hell of a good ball game, until the final 1:18 of the game. Seattle’s defense had stopped the Browns on third down and looked to get the ball back with a few seconds left to try something when Bryant got flagged and ejected, rightfully, for head butting a Browns player after the play was done. This gave Cleveland a first down and they were able to run out the clock.
2. Penalties: This was a flag fest with yellow coming in bunches all throughout the game.
Worst of all was the timing of the penalties, such as the phantom block in the back on Washington’s punt return touchdown.
At one point, the Seahawks and the Browns had combined for 35 yards of total offense and 35 yards in penalties. Talk about an offensive shoot out.
Right or wrong, it just showed that Seattle is still making the simple mistakes while not being able to recover from them.
3. Doug Baldwin: Going from an undrafted rookie to leading the team in receptions put Baldwin on the map for the Seahawks. He has been a feel good story as well as a shining example of the Pete Carroll school of competition.
Against Cleveland, Baldwin didn’t just not compete, he disappeared completely. His one catch was called back for offensive pass interference!
3. Whitehurst: Yes, it’s getting old to be harping on him but it’s gotten old debating Charlie Whitehurst as well. I’m sick to death of hearing about how they should be starting Whitehurst.
Personally, I think Carroll and John Schneider got screwed in the Whitehurst deal in the first place and any hopes I had of him improving were gone by the second quarter against Cleveland. Jackson, like it or not, is a better quarterback that Whitehurst.
People, the Seattle QB went 12-for-30 for 97 yards while throwing an interception and losing a fumble! This after a bye week to prepare for the Cleveland Browns! We’re not talking about the Baltimore Ravens here, so stop with the Charlie chants already!
In fact, to continue with that thought, I think the only thing holding this team back right now is youth and a quarterback.
The defense is showing its abilities and while it has holes, the defense is not the reason Seattle lost. If anything, the defense was what kept Seattle close in the first place.
It’s time to cut ties with Whitehurst and look at a future quarterback in Seattle. Granted, this won’t happen until the end of the season but anyone thinking that Whitehurst should be considered probably still thinks Mora is a good coach.
Seattle comes home next week to face a resurgent Cincinnati Bengals team on October 30. If Whitehurst starts, it will be Halloween a day early.
Photo Credit: Joel Hawksley/The Seattle Times