With a key opportunity to advance to 5-2 on the season, the Cleveland Browns missed a golden opportunity and folded down the stretch against the Seattle Seahawks. They lost the game 20-24. Head coach Kevin Stefanski and quarterback PJ Walker were having their best game of the season for the majority of the game, but both sides of the football ran out of gas in crunch time.
The Browns have now fallen to 4-3 on the season as the 1-7 Arizona Cardinals are set to come to town in Week 9.
There was a great deal of good in this game to take away! The run game got going, the offense sustained drives with frequency, and the defense locked down Geno Smith and company for the majority of the game. However, there were some bad and ugly in this game as well.
What was good? What was bad? And what was downright ugly from this loss to the Seahawks?
The good: Kevin Stefanski for 90 percent of the game
Kevin Stefanski has been spinning gold with PJ Walker the past three weeks against the Niners, Colts, and Seahawks respectively. His game against Seattle might have been the best game he has ever called as the head coach of the Browns.
Cleveland’s screen game is one of the best in the league, the run game nuance has taken off as they are finally finding success on the ground again, and Walker was even making some big-time throws when the Browns needed it. There is a strong reason to feel good about the long-term outlook of the Cleveland offense.
Even the third down pass that ended in an interception. That’s a decision to agree with 90 percent of the time. You are on the road against a favored team and they tried to win the game. However, a lack of understanding of the personnel to trust hurt them in the end.
Stefanski was in his bag and a big reason the Browns held a lead and dominated the second half. But that 10 percent might haunt him.
The bad: P.J. Walker's costly turnovers
Five turnovers in three games from PJ Walker. The Browns are finding themselves in games and doing the best they can without their starting quarterback. Sitting at 2-2 in this stretch, the Browns have found a way to tread water.
And they are doing that in spite of Walker. The veteran quarterback has to find a way to protect the football. Sure, the interception at the two-minute mark was a freak play, but a strip sack in the first quarter proved costly as well.
Walker found success with both his arms and his legs against the Seahawks, playing his best game as a Brown. But you cannot overlook the turnovers. Especially the one when Seattle was on the ropes.
The ugly: Both sides of the ball collapse in crunch time
Listen, the interception and decision to throw was a collapse. There is no doubt about that. But at the end of the day, the Seahawks still had to drive 57 yards to find the endzone. And the Cleveland defense folded like a lawn chair in crunch time for the second straight week.
They have given up 12 plays of over 20 yards in the last two weeks, and even forcing a field goal would have given the Browns a chance to win the game in overtime. Instead, Seattle cut through them like a hot knife through butter and slammed the door shut on any hopes of stealing a win on the road.
Jim Schwartz and his unit have to get it together after two straight weeks of subpar play. They have the Arizona Cardinals and Joshua Dobbs this week, then back-to-back games against AFC North opponents.
The clock is ticking before a critical stretch of games.
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