Cleveland Browns week 6 instant reactions: Mistakes give Seahawks the game

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 23: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns looks to pass during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 23: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns looks to pass during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns came into this week with a high sense of urgency. That urgency showed as the Browns faced the Seahawks. Here are some instant reactions.

The Cleveland Browns looked to set the tone early with a 74-yard kick off return by Dontrell Hillard. Not only did it set the Browns up early, but it also set the offense up for an easy score.

Early the game was all offense. The Browns scored. The Seattle Seahawks scored. The Browns scored. Defenses took a while to show up at the game. Fortunately for the Browns, AFC sack leader Myles Garrett showed up to put an end to the early scoring.

On offense, the Browns made some changes that helped out quarterback Baker Mayfield. First, they changed their pass protection to keep everything in front of him. The offensive line was washing the defense down the line. They were also short setting to keep Baker comfortable and his eyes down the field.

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Second, the Browns committed to the run game. Nick Chubb showed why he deserves to be in the best back in the NFL conversation. At the end of the first quarter, Chubb had 5 carries for 67 yards and one touchdown.

The Browns defense struggled early. Penalties once again hurt the Browns has a late hit by Larry Ogunjobi set the Seahawks up for a field goal. The Browns once again were hindered by poor tackling. Steve Wilks’ defense needs to be more disciplined in all areas.

Special teams were up and down this week. Although the kick-off team excelled early, the first punt attempt for Jamie Gillan was blocked. Placekicker Austin Seibert missed an extra point. Returners performed well, kickers not so much.

The Odell Beckham Jr. saga continued. Baker with his newfound protection began looking to Beckham more. Beckham has some good catches. He had some bad drops. Regardless it looks like Baker and Beckham are still not on the same page. The chemistry between these two players needs to improve if the Browns are to be successful.

The head scratching play calls and clock management continues for head coach Freddie Kitchens. Toward the end of the first half, the Browns were in the red zone with just over a minute left in the half.

The Browns inexplicably stopped running the ball to run down the clock. Instead, they went hurry up and threw the ball. True to tune, Baker threw a bad pass which was tipped and intercepted by Seattle. True to form, the Seahawks took the ball down the field and scored. This, once again, was the turning point in the game. After that play, the Seahawks had all the momentum. The Browns seemed defeated and played with what seemed like a dark cloud over their heads.

The Seahawks then got the ball to start the second half. Instead of being two scores up going into the half, the Seahawks went into halftime down two points. This was a 13 point swing. The Browns also went into the half with all three-time outs. This is why fans are down on Freddie Kitchens. His clock management “skills” are seriously hurting this team.

Myles Garrett came up big in this game. When the Browns needed a play, Garrett was there to make a sack, get a key pressure or create havoc on the defensive side of the ball. He has grown this season in terms of discipline and cutting down on penalties. He played the pass rush and the run with much-improved technique.

Turnovers hurt the Browns tremendously. The Browns had three turnovers early into the second half. Two of those turnovers occurred in field goal range. One occurred in the red zone. The Browns were giving away the ball in an area where they should be putting points on the board. Browns played with fire all game long.

Turnovers were mitigated by the wide receivers. The Browns receivers were on the wrong end of poorly thrown passes. The receivers did their best to catch the ball. But all they did was tip the ball into the air for an easy Seahawk interception. Not all these turnovers are on Baker Mayfield.

Baker Mayfield gave Browns fans a scare when he was injured on a first down run. He got up holding his left hip. Two plays later, Mayfield went down to one knee when throwing a pass. After the series, he went into the locker room for evaluation. To Browns fans delight he came back into the game but he was clearly limping for the rest of the game.

At one point in the game, the announcers quoted Beckham as saying, “its us against everybody – the Seahawks, the refs, everybody!” What Beckham forgot to add was that they also have to beat their head coach. Freddie Kitchens made some inexplicably asinine calls all game but particularly on the goal line.

Sadly, officiating became an issue in the game. There was a crackback call that clearly wasn’t. There was an intentional grounding that was somehow not called in favor of a questionable horse collar call. The officials were clearly awful the whole game. The Browns will be getting an apology next week from the NFL officiating office.

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In the end, this loss is on Freddie Kitchens. His poor play calling in the red zone combined with poor clock management throughout the entire game was more than the players could overcome.