Here are some thoughts following Browns 33-30 win over the Seahawks in Cleveland Browns Stadium. This was a meaningful victory for the Browns. Here's are the keys to their victory:
- The offensive line of the Browns did an extraordinary job of keeping the aggressive Seattle pass rush off of quarterback Derek Anderson. Primarily, the Cleveland offensive line manned well, with the help of the tight-ends and backs, Anderson was left vertical for the vast majority of the afternoon.
- Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski continues to put the Cleveland offensive playmakers in a position to make plays. Chudzinski's game-planning accounted for the constant Seattle blitzing and was geared to getting the ball out of Anderson's hands quickly. It worked well. Anderson recognized the blitz schemes and generally attacked the weakness exposed by the blitz.
- Anderson took advantage of a weakness in the Seattle defense, the inability to cover an athletic tight-end. Kellen Winslow quickly became a primary weapon in the passing game, as the Seahawks secondary did an admirable job on wide receiver Braylon Edwards.
- While Jamal Lewis was relatively ineffective rushing the football, the Browns handed him the rock just enough to keep the Seattle defense thinking. Lewis' success near the goal line, resulting in a career-best four touchdown runs for the veteran, brought a sense of accomplishment to an offensive line which has not had great success punching the ball into the end-zone on the ground this season.
- Despite giving up 30 points to a good Seattle team, the Browns defense did have moments of excellent play. Over the past two weeks, the Cleveland defense has stepped up the intensity. While the stats are not showing an overall defensive improvement, opposing runners have been slowed and Cleveland's inside linebackers are making more plays. Opposing running backs are not consistently running through tackles and the Browns are playing much better sideline-to-sideline defense.
- Defensive lineman Shaun Smith continues to play some very good football. While being adequate at the defensive end position, Smith has displayed an ability to get a push while lining up on the interior of the defensive line. This has been a much needed plus for the Cleveland defense. By far, the mix of Smith, Robaire Smith and Orpheus Roye gives the team their best look.
And some disappointing notes coming from the Browns victory –
- The Browns defensive backs continue to loosely play the receivers and rarely, if ever, play the ball. Showing tight man and backing 10-yards off into a soft zone is only effective if the scheme or talent allows the player(s) to aggressively make plays on the football, which this team does not do well.
- A lack of a pass rush has made an average defensive team appear to be one of the worst in the league. The team cannot disguise a blitz effectively, gets minimal or no push from the nose tackles, and has outside linebackers who can be walked too far outside. As long as those things happen, the Browns are going to continue to struggle against the pass.
- Yes, Braylon Edwards dropped a couple passes on well-thrown balls from Anderson and this is a cause for concern. Edwards has had issues keeping his focus and the drops could be a result of the third-year receiver going through a period of lapse.
- Despite rushing for four touchdowns, the lack of a rushing attack is concerning. The Seahawks blitzed often and opportunities to gain yardage should have been achieved. With tough road games against the Steelers and Ravens coming up on the schedule, the Cleveland rushing game must show better.