Cleveland - Solid defensive efforts were on the menu Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium, with the game being decided on the legs of the kickers.
Rian Lindell kicked a 52-yard field goal with three-seconds remaining in the game to lift the visiting Seattle Seahawks to a 9-6 victory over the Browns.
In what was an extremely hard fought contest between two teams that struggled offensively, following a Browns field goal that tied the game at 6-6, the Seahawks had one last opportunity to win the game.
Seattle return specialist Charlie Rogers returned the ensuing kickoff 49-yards to the Seattle 48-yard line. Seattle moved the ball to the Browns 35-yard line, then kicked the game winner against a determined Browns team.
An improved Browns defense, playing with aggressiveness and enthusiasm kept the team in the game and played well enough to win. The problem Sunday was that the offense didn't receive the message that the game was this Sunday.
In the first quarter of the game, the Browns offense resembled that of the preseason offense. The offense moved the ball reasonably well in the early going and it appeared that the Browns would be effective against the depleted Seahawks secondary.
Taking possession from the Cleveland 23-yard line, Tim Couch connected on a 28-yard pass to Kevin Johnson, taking the ball down to the Seattle 49-yard line.
A short gain by running back James Jackson and two incomplete passes later; the Browns were forced to punt.
Strong-safety Earl Little set-up the Browns initial scoring opportunity of the day, intercepting a Matt Hasselbeck pass intended for Ricky Watters at the Seattle 47-yard line. Little returned the ball to the Seattle 38-yard line and the Browns were in business.
Behind the running of Jackson the Browns drove to the Seattle, where the drive ran out of gas. The possession ended with Phil Dawson missing a 37-yard field goal wide to the right.
The opinionated fate of the Browns from the fans could be heard throughout the crowd at Cleveland Browns Stadium after the failed attempt. The cries for a replacement were evident.
A Cleveland Browns team that has been offensively challenged could not afford to leave points on the field.
Sunday afternoon would be no different.
Behind the short-passing game of Hasselbeck and running of Watters, the Seahawks were moving the ball again. The Cleveland defense tightened-up and stopped the drive at the Cleveland 25-yard line.
Not to be outdone, Seattle field-goal kicker Rian Lindell missed a field-goal attempt from 42-yards out and the game was still deadlocked at 0-0 in the first quarter.
The Browns got on the scoreboard at the 11:10 mark of the first quarter following a 12-play 31-yard drive that ended with a 48-yard Dawson field goal.
The Seahawks, while inconsistent offensively were able to move the football, the Browns defense would bend but not break, forcing Seattle into four field goal attempts on the afternoon.
Inconsistency and missed opportunity marred the Browns throughout the game. Couch and his receivers misfired on numerous occasions, once causing Couch to react angrily on the field. The offensive line played reasonably well, the running game showed some life, but not on a consistent basis.
Despite themselves offensively, the Browns were in a game, late in the fourth quarter, due to a defensive effort that had the fans in the stands and players on the sidelines enthused throughout the game.
The Browns defense recorded five-sacks of Hasselbeck and numerous other pressures. The defensive secondary led by cornerback Corey Fuller played extremely well and harassed the Seahawks receivers all day.
The team deserved better, the defense deserved better, but on this day in Cleveland, a sighting of the future was at hand.
The 0-1 Browns travel to Pittsburgh to battle the rival Steelers, Sunday September 16th and 8:00 p.m. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN.Notes:
Rookie defensive tackle Gerard Warren registered his first sack in the NFL and five tackles.
Linebacker Jamir Miller recorded two sacks.
Rookie wide receiver Quincy Morgan caught three-passes for 46-yards, including a 17-yard reception on the Browns final scoring drive, late in the game.
Led by Jamel White's 52-yards rushing, the Browns tallied 90-yards on the ground for the day, surpassing the 67-yards per game they averaged in the 2000 season.
Seattle won the time-of-possession battle 30:08 to 29:52
The Browns converted 8-of-17 third down conversion attempts for a 47% success ratio. Far better than the 28.8% success ratio in the 2000 season.