MMQB: Browns 33, Seahawks 30

MMQB: Browns 33, Seahawks 30

"Fourth and one-and-a-half feet from the Cleveland 44 in overtime. Seattle lines up with three wide receivers (!) and hands the ball off to Maurice Morris who can only manage to gain one foot behind the left side of the Seahawks offensive line. I turned to my son before the snap and said, "If they can't make this, they don't deserve to win.'"

Cleveland Browns 33 Seattle Seahawks 30 (OT)
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

Play Of The Day:  Fourth and one-and-a-half feet from the Cleveland 44-yard-line in overtime.  Seattle lines up with three wide receivers (!) and hands the ball off to Maurice Morris who can only manage to gain one foot behind the left side of the Seahawks offensive line.  I turned to my son before the snap and sai, "If they can't make this, they don't deserve to win."  When the play was over my son looked up at me and said "I guess they don't deserve to win, huh?"  "They certainly don't," was my reply.  Meanwhile in Minnesota, a certain ex-Seahawk helped a rookie running back run for an NFL record 296 yards. 

Handouts to the Standouts:  Nate Burleson ripped off a Seahawk record 94 yard punt return in the second quarter to spot the Seahawks a 21-6 lead.  Burleson also was a key contributor in the passing game, snagging 4 passes for 59 yards.

Bobby Engram caught 14 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown and was Matt Hasselbeck's go to receiver all game.  The Browns frequently tried to cover the slot man with a linebacker, and Engram made them pay for it every time.

Darryl Tapp snagged an ill-advised Derek Anderson short pass in the first quarter for an interception despite a broken finger. 

Marcus Trufant broke up a two-point conversion the third quarter that would have tied the game and, ultimately, have given the Browns a non-overtime victory.

Things That Made Me Go, "Blech":  The run blocking was atrocious yet again, with each and every member of the offensive line taking turns getting knocked backwards off of the line during runs.  This unit is starting to make the 2006 Arizona Cardinals line look like the 1992 Dallas Cowboys front five. 

Shaun Alexander needs to realize that in 2007 the only time he makes decent yardage is when he's running downhill.  Shaun no longer has the quickness to come to a complete stop and leave the defenders in the dust and needs to start using the Broncos one cut and go method of running.  Especially with the offensive line being unable to seal off the cutback lanes like they could in 2005.  Alexander has now gone six straight games without scoring a touchdown.

John Marshall's defensive game plan completely eliminated the effectiveness of the Seattle LB corps by blitzing them repeatedly after Cleveland clearly established that they could pickup the blitz.  Lofa Tatupu was wasted on covering Kellen Winslow Jr which constantly left the short checkdown pass to running backs in the middle of the field wide open.  The Browns took advantage of this repeatedly in the second half and Marshall made no adjustment to it.

Offense:  Kudos to Matt Hasselbeck who appears to have adjusted to the idea that opposing teams will be content to rush three or four and drop the rest into coverage.  Matt took his time in the pocket, went through his progressions and only forced the ball into tight coverage a few times, and only once did it lead to a turnover.  Matt finished the game 30 for 47 for 318 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. 

As mentioned in the "Blech" section of the article the running game was horrendous from top to bottom.  There is simply no way that the Seahawks can expect to win a game in January without being able to consistently rush the ball effectively. 

Yet despite this lack of a running game, the Seahawks offense did manage to control the ball and put together some nice long drives.  Seattle had four drives of ten plays or more that led to 13 points.  This is classic West Coast football, and if the Seahawks can make up for their lack of running game via the short pass, they may yet be able to muster enough wins to limp into the post-season.

Defense:  Derek Anderson dropped back to pass 48 times on Sunday and not once did the Seattle defense manage to sack him, despite frequent blitzes.  The blitzes did have the net effect of giving up huge yardage to check down receivers time and time again in the second half of the game, which would ultimately allow the Browns to come from behind and win the game.  Seattle appeared completely unwilling or incapable of adjusting to this play.  The Seattle secondary did not give up a touchdown pass, including a great goal line stand during which the Browns attempt the three consecutive passes.

The run defense on the other hand was stout – except on the goalline when it counted the most.  Jamal Lewis was held to just 37 yards on 20 carries but he scored 4 touchdowns in short yardage situations. 

Special TeamsJosh Brown was, once again, money from the field converting all three of his field goal attempts, from 39, 26 and 22 yards.  Ryan Plackemeier had a less that stellar afternoon although he was only called on to punt twice and both times he appeared to have been directed to keep the ball away from Browns returner Josh Cribbs.  The Seahawks coverage team struggled a bit on kick returns, allowing Cribbs to rack up a 26 yard average on 6 kickoffs but avoided yielding any huge returns.

The Golden Microphone Award:  Just when I think the Golden Microphone award has run its course, we're blessed with the Tim Ryan – Sam Rosen booth combo.  Ah, now this is exactly what the Golden Mic is all about.  Between constantly calling out the wrong names (e.g. calling Kellen Winslow Braylon Edwards on a replay) and flat out blowing calls (Ryan talking about how Niko Koutouvides was "blown up" on a kick return while the replay he's using to illustrate this clearly shows the exact opposite) the entire broadcast was a plethora of gaffes.

But my absolute favorite moment came when Sam Rosen was reading a promo for "The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XVIII", a show which has been on FOX for 19 seasons, and whose main character's catchphrase of "D'oh" is so ubiquitous that it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary seven years ago.  The venerable Mr. Rosen reads "Halloween isn't over until Homer screams dee-oh."  Congrats Sam, not only are you a lousy announcer, but you may, in fact, be the single most out-of-touch person in America.  You earned your Golden Microphone this week and are clearly a front runner for our year-end award.

Summary:  The Seahawks gave away a chance for a road win and a two game lead in the ridiculously soft NFC West through a combination of poor defensive game planning and a horrifically poor running game.  This is a team that needs to start game planning for the team that they have instead of the team that they wish they were.

Next Week:  Monday Night vs. San Francisco. Bad football plus Tony Kornheiser. Whoopee!

Dylan is a die-hard Seahawks fan trapped in Eagles Country and firmly believes that "Live At Leeds" is the single greatest live performance since a deaf Ludwig Van debuted his final symphony in Vienna in 1824.  You can e-mail Dylan at NJSeahawksFan@gmail.com .

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