Browns Defense Stellar

Despite inept offense, Browns defense plays another solid game

CLEVELAND—The bad news is the Browns didn't score a touchdown, but the good news is the Seahawks didn't either.

Phil Dawson's two long field goals held up in a 6-3 win to even the Browns record at 3-3.

The Browns seventh ranked defense held the Seahawks to no touchdowns and just a field goal. The Seahawks had scored 36 points against the Giants in their last game and had been productive since going to the no huddle offense.

"My goodness, when you hold a team in the NFL to three points, that's outstanding," Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. "That shows the commitment by the players, coaches and the work they put it. You saw a lot of guys battling."

The Browns defense gave up 137 total yards and held the Seahawks to nine first downs. Seattle's leading rusher, Marshawn Lynch, hurt his back in pregame and didn't play.

"At the end of the day it's about winning," Shurmur said. "You only need to have one more point than the opponent and we had three more."

The Browns defense forced four three-and-outs with three sacks, a fumble and an interception. Most notably, the Browns held the Seahawks to 2-of-12 on third down.

Joe Haden's return at cornerback was a big help.

"Joe battled and did a terrific job," Shurmur said.

Shurmur said that the coaches felt that Haden showed enough in practice Friday to play effectively. Haden had five tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass break up.

"Communication was the biggest thing," Haden said. "We were all on the same page."

Despite the play of the defense throughout the game, the game was still in doubt late in the third quarter with the Browns clinging to a 3-0 lead. Whitehurst found Sidney Rice wide open for a 38-yard gain to the Browns' 9-yard line. After a face mask on Ahtyba Rubin that gave the Seahawks a first down on the Browns' 2-yard line, three stops forced the Seahawks to kick a short 20-yard field goal to tie the game at 3.

T.J. Ward broke up a third-down pass in the end zone intended for Cameron Morrah.

"We knew we had to lock down," Ward said. "That was pretty much the game. We needed to make a play and I wanted that to be me. We were looking for a shutout."

Ward led the defense with six tackles, a sack, forced fumble and a pass broken up.

Haden agreed.

"We knew we had to do it," he said. "As a defense, we really thought they couldn't pass on us. No matter what the score was, as long as they were out of field goal range, we felt they weren't going to score on us."

Ward had a big play in the second quarter that led to their first score. He strip-sacked Whitehurst and D'Qwell Jackson recovered with the Browns recovering on their 47.

"We called a blitz from the right side," Ward said. "They let me go free. We needed a strip sack."

The Browns sacked Whitehurst three times and hurried him throughout the game with five.

"We felt we could get pressure," Shurmur said. "The front four did a good job of getting pressure. All quarterbacks in the NFL make errant throws, but when they're under pressure there are more than usual."

Jabaal Sheard said it was part of the game plan.

"It's something we wanted to do as a defensive line,"  Sheard said. "We had (Whitehurst) rattled and that's what we wanted to do."

Sheard combined with Rubin for a sack and Chris Gocong picked up the other.  Whitehurst was just 12-of-30 for 97 yards with one interception and a rating of just 35.0.

"Our defense won the game today," Colt McCoy said. "They did a tremendous job."

Ward agreed.

"We played a complete team game on defense."


Montario's Day: RB Montario Hardesty started in place of Hillis and carried 33 times for 95 yards with a long of 15 yards. He also caught passes two passes for 27 yards.

"Montario did a good job," Shurmur said. "Did he have any drops? No. Good job, Montario."

Hardesty wanted to show he was up for the task.

"I was hard on myself last week," Hardesty said. "I made some mistakes and wanted to play well running, catching and blocking."

Chris Ogbonnaya played on third downs after signing this week. He caught a short pass and picked up 17 yards on third-and-8 in the second quarter. He tied for the team lead with five receptions for 43 yards. He also had three carries for 15 yards.

"He's been on campus for only a couple days and did a good job," Shurmur said.

With Hillis out, the Browns finished the game with four starters on offense not playing in Hillis, Mohamed Massaquoi, Ben Watson and Shawn Lauvao.

Record Phil: K Phil Dawson kicked two field goals from more than 50 yards (53, 52)for the first time in one game in his career. He had two field goals blocked, but Shurmur said it wasn't his fault.

The Browns first scoring opportunity was a 48-yard field goal that was blocked. Dawson then hit a 52-yard field goal after the Seahawks jumped offside on fourth-and-2 when the Browns were punting.

Later, with the Browns clinging to a 6-3 lead, Dawson lined up for a 24-yard attempt that was blocked.

"We had some leakage up the middle and on the right side," Shurmur said.

Shurmur was asked if he hesitated about kicking a field goal with the blocks.

"No hesitation," he said. "Phil's a stud. What a great player. I'm sure if the blocking was there, he'd make those kicks. I have a strong appreciation for him."

Dawson will take the win.

"It was the prettiest two-for-four day that we'll ever have, so it is nice to help your team win a game, even though it was an ugly game," he said. "When your number is called, you go out there and try to do the best that you can."

Time Domination: The Browns had the ball 42:56 to just 17:04 to the Seahawks.

Lynch Out: RB Marshawn Lynch suffered a back injury just before the game and did not play. RB Leon Washington and RB Justin Forsett replaced him. Washington rushed for 39 yards and Forsett had 23.

Haden Back; Starts: CB Joe Haden was active and started at LCB after missing the Raiders game with a sprained knee. He had five tackles and a pass break up.

Cribbs Covers: WR/KR Josh Cribbs was on the coverage team on the opening kickoff. Cribbs was in on the tackle after each of the Browns' scores.

"It felt good to be back out there," Cribbs said.

Hillis, Fujita Out: RB Peyton Hillis missed his second game of the season. He sat out the Dolphins game with strep throat and the Seahawks' game with a hamstring injury. LB Scott Fujita missed with a concussion and was replaced by LB Kaluka Maiava.

Sack Attack: LB Chris Gocong sacked QB Charlie Whitehurst on the Seahawks' first series. DL Ahtyba Rubin and DL Jabaal Sheard combined for a sack of Whitehurst also in the first quarter. DB T.J. Ward sacked Whitehurst in the second quarter for the Browns third of the game. Whitehurst fumbled and LB D'Qwell Jackson recovered at the Browns' 47.

Shank Punt: P Brad Maynard had a nine-yard punt just before the half. The Browns were trying to pin the Seahawks back and get the ball back, but after getting the ball back, they started at their own 27, but weren't able to get into field goal position before halftime. Maynard finished with five punts for a 38.6 average and a long of 51 yards.

Injury Update: DB Ray Ventrone re-injured his hamstring. OL Shawn Lauvao hurt his knee and was replaced by OL John Greco. WR Mohamed Massaquoi suffered a head injury in the second quarter and did not play the rest of the game. He had one reception for 15 yards. TE Ben Watson also suffered a head injury in the third quarter and he did not return. He had one catch for five yards.

Brown Out: CB Sheldon Brown intercepted a pass from QB Charlie Whitehurst intended for WR Sidney Rice. It appeared Brown shoved Rice to get in position to make the play, but no penalty was called.

Baby Steps: The Browns didn't pick up their first first down until 3:55 left in the first quarter on an 11-yard pass from QB Colt McCoy to RB Montario Hardesty.

First Quarter Blues: The Browns did not score in the first quarter and have now just scored three points all season to their opponents' 34. The Browns had a total of 40 yards in the first quarter.

No Hands: DE Jayme Mitchell had a pass thrown right into his hands, which he dropped on a pass by QB Charlie Whitehurst.

Holmgren's Old Home:  President Mike Holmgren spent 10 years as the Seahawks head coach.

Carey's Crew: Referee Mike Carey's crew has the reputation of calling a lot of penalties and they called 15 in the game total, including several key penalties. The Seahawks had four-straight penalties on their first possession and were third-and-31. The fourth was holding and the Browns declined it, so officially they had just three. Carey called a personal foul after a sack on McCoy by S Kam Chancellor which gave the Browns a first down instead of forcing a punt. The Seahawks jumped offside when the Browns were punting on fourth-and-two to give the Browns a first down. One of the biggest calls of the game was on an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown by KR Leon Washington, which was called back for an illegal block by Kennard Cox. An unsportsmanlike penalty on Red Bryant gave the Browns a first down to end the game after the Browns failed to convert on third-and-7 with 1:05 to play in the game.

Inactives: LB Scott Fujita, RB Peyton Hillis, WR Carlton Mitchell, DB Eric Hagg, OL Steve Vallos, OL Artis Hicks and QB Thaddeus Lewis. For the Seahawks: QB Tavaris Jackson, TE Zach Miller, WR Kris Durham, CB Bryan Maxwell, C Max Unger OT Jarriel King and DT Al Woods.

Honorary Captains: Former Browns KR Gerald "Ice Cube" McNeil and KR Dino Hall were the honorary captains. Browns captains for the game were DB Mike Adams, K Phil Dawson and QB Colt McCoy.

The OBR Top Stories