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Dawson kicks Browns to 6-3 win over Seahawks
By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer Monday, Oct 24, 2011

CLEVELAND (AP)—Browns kicker Phil Dawson(notes) emerged from the trainer’s room following one of the most memorable games of his career clutching an ice bag.

He was sore.

“Old age,” Dawson cracked, using a joke to brush off discussing a possible injury. “When you get to be my age, everything hurts.”

Luckily for the Browns, his right foot was more than fine.

Dawson kicked field goals of 52 and 53 yards between having two batted down by Seattle defensive end Red Bryant(notes) and Cleveland’s defense kept the Seahawks under wraps and out of the end zone Sunday during a 6-3 win, moving the Browns to .500 in coach Pat Shurmur’s first season.

It wasn’t a work of art, but Dawson, the sole survivor from the Browns’ 1999 expansion team, knows any win is a good win.

“That’s the prettiest 2-for-4 day we’ll ever have,” he said.

The Seahawks (2-4) gained just 137 yards of offense and had the ball for only 17 minutes, but came away feeling they should have won.

“I don’t want to disrespect Cleveland or anything,” said Seattle wide receiver Mike Williams. “They played a good game, but we are better.”

The Browns (3-3) failed to score a touchdown and only got inside Seattle’s 20 once, but Dawson bailed them out by making two field goals beyond 50 yards for the first time.

“In an NFL game,” Dawson quickly pointed out. “We’ll take this one. We’re probably not going to brag about it in 15 years, but we’ll take the win.”

Seattle came in without starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson(notes) and then lost running back Marshawn Lynch(notes) in pregame warmups to back spasms.

Making matters worse, Seattle was penalized eight times, and its biggest play was called back by a penalty as Leon Washington’s(notes) 81-yard punt return for a TD in the third quarter was nullified by a blocking-in-the-back infraction—one of several mistakes that annoyed coach Pete Carroll.

“It was a very difficult loss,” said Carroll, who also had some issues with referee Mike’s Carey’s crew. “The guys took it hard. It was really close. The margin of error became a factor that amplified every call and every play. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get enough going to get the win.”

Carroll didn’t blame the officials, but he wants to take a closer look at a few calls.

“When a game is this close, a call can make a difference,” Carroll said. “Whether they did or not, we’ll see the film and take a look. In this game, those calls are magnified. I kind of hope they’re right, to tell you the truth. I hope they made the right choices because it’s pretty hard to live with if they didn’t.”

Dawson’s 53-yard field goal with 11:18 left gave the Browns a 6-3 lead, and the 36-year-old was set to give Cleveland a six-point lead before his 24-yarder with 3:05 left was knocked down by Bryant, who stormed through the line to get his hand on the attempt. In the first quarter, Bryant blocked Dawson’s 48-yarder.

As bad as they had played, the Seahawks had one last chance, but couldn’t move the ball as Charlie Whitehurst(notes) had four incompletions and had a pass dropped on the Seahawks’ final possession.

In the final minute, a frustrated Bryant was ejected for head-butting Cleveland tight end Alex Smith.

“Dumb move on my part,” Bryant said. “I take full responsibility for it. I’m supposed to be a leader. I lost my composure. You never know what could have happened if we got the ball back on offense. He (Smith) was talking the whole game. He was taking cheap shots at me. That’s what guys do when they can’t block you.”

The Seahawks’ only points came on a 20-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka(notes) in the third quarter. Other than that, their offense was abysmal.

“We never got going,” Carroll said.

The victory was forgettable on so many levels, but the Browns will gladly take it.

Earlier in the week, team president Mike Holmgren, who took over in Cleveland after 10 seasons in Seattle, defended Shurmur’s early performance and pleaded patience from Browns fans. Shurmur’s West Coast offense remains a work in progress, but quarterback Colt McCoy(notes) managed the game, made a few plays with his feet and protected Cleveland’s slim lead in the final minutes.

The Browns also had to overcome injuries. Peyton Hillis(notes) didn’t play because of a strained hamstring and wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi(notes) and tight Benjamin Watson(notes) sustained concussions. Also, right guard Shawn Lauvao(notes) injured his knee in the second half and will undergo an MRI on Monday.

“It’s about winning,” said Shurmur. “Our guys found a way. I’d like to think that’s going to be the mark of the team we have.”

Seattle’s chances took a big hit before kickoff, when Lynch, the team’s leading rusher and top offensive weapon, had his back tighten. He remained on the sideline and at one point appeared ready to enter the game.

“He’s had an ongoing thing with his back since he arrived with us,” Carroll said. “It came up right before game time and he couldn’t get loose. We tried to work with him the whole game and keep him going. He was about ready to take a shot at going after it, but he had sat too long.”

NOTES: Browns RB Montario Hardesty(notes) started for Hillis and had 33 carries for 95 yards. Newly signed Chris Ogbonnaya(notes) had a team-leading five catches, three for first downs. … Carroll said Seahawks starting CB Walter Thurmond(notes) broke his leg and is done for the season. S Kam Chancellor(notes) injured his knee. … The 137 yards were the fewest given up by the Browns since 1993. … Cleveland’s time of possession was its most since 1976.

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