The Cleveland Browns were this close to improving to 4-2, but in the end they dropped a heartbreaker to the Seattle Seahawks 24-17.
After giving up 14 points right off the bat, and 17 in the first half, the Cleveland defense settled in and really put the clamps on the Seahawks. With Deshaun Watson out again, and P.J. Walker making his ninth-career NFL start, the defense was tasked to lead the charge, and it did just that until the final drive of the game.
After the first two offensive drives for Seattle, it looked like a long afternoon in the Emerald City. However, the defense stood their ground and allowed just 10 points the rest of the way, unfortunately, seven of those came when the game was on the line.
Once the Seahawks kicked a field goal to make it 17-7, they had the following sequence until the game-winning touchdown from Geno Smith to rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba; punt-punt-interception-punt-interception-punt-punt.
The defense buckled down but needed just one more stop. Myles Garrett said, "you got to fight the whole 60 minutes."
The secondary had its hands full with the likes of Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, and while they got theirs, they didn't have explosive games. Lockett finished with eight catches for 81 yards and was seemingly always open in the early goings.
Metcalf finished with five grabs for 67 yards and likely would have had slightly more and even a score had it not been for Martin Emerson jumping a Metcalf route to pick off Smith right before the half.
Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome also had pass breakups in the contest. Cleveland was able to pick Smith off twice, but the second came from an unlikely source; defensive lineman Maurice Hurst.
Hurst was able to pop the ball up in the air with his big paw and stuck with it to watch the ball fall right into his arms.
The defensive line wasn't able to get to Smith all that often, as he got the ball out quickly, but Garrett was able to sack him, the lone one for the Browns.
On the game-winning drive, Smith completed four-of-five passes for 57 yards including the nine-yard score to Njigba. He connected with Lockett, Metcalf, and tight end Noah Fant on the drive.
On the play in which Njigba caught a short pass, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz sent rookie Cameron Mitchell to blitz Smith, giving his rookie target plenty of room to stay away from Juan Thornhill and race to the pylon.
There is a small, yet vocal portion of Browns' Twitter (X) that is under the impression that Schwartz deserves credit when the team wins and not head coach Kevin Stefanski, who was in his bag in terms of play-calling n Sunday. So does that mean Schwartz deserves the blame for this loss?
At the end of the day, the Browns lost a game in which they controlled their own destiny. It didn't work out in their favor this time, but the season is far from over. Come out next week and take care of visting Arizona and all things will be forgiven.
Final Grade: C - The defense bounced back in a major way after surrendering 14 quick points, but when the game mattered most, the unit simply folded and looked like anything but the league's best defense.