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Originally published September 18, 2011 at 7:50 PM | Page modified September 18, 2011 at 7:50 PM

Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner finds himself a target

Browner had three passes completed against him on one third-quarter drive alone, capped by the 2-yard touchdown catch he gave up to Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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PITTSBURGH — Cornerback Brandon Browner finished Sunday's game with seven tackles, tied for second-most for the Seahawks.

That wasn't a good thing, though. It was more a sign that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger spent a good chunk of the final three quarters throwing in Browner's direction.

Browner had three passes completed against him on one third-quarter drive alone, capped by the 2-yard touchdown catch he gave up to Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace.

"He needs to grow from this," coach Pete Carroll said of Browner. "See what it was that was happening."

Browner was one of the breakthrough players at Seattle's training camp, earning the starting job ahead of Walter Thurmond. A 6-foot-4 cornerback from Oregon State, Browner played the previous four seasons in the Canadian Football League.

He plays press coverage exclusively, but Pittsburgh's speedy receivers sometimes kept him from getting his hands on them. About midway through the second quarter, it became clear Roethlisberger was looking for Browner, believing there would be an open receiver in the area.

What will Browner learn from this game?

"I've got to watch film," he said. "See how it looks from that perspective. I'll have a better answer for you then. Everything is just so new right now. I know it was a tough one. I know that much."

Carroll was clear to point out that the two biggest plays against Browner came when he was expecting help over the top from free safety Earl Thomas.

The first was a pass-interference penalty against Browner, who was trying to reel in Wallace on the Steelers' first possession. The penalty cost the Seahawks 39 yards, though they didn't give up a touchdown.

The other big play was a 53-yard, third-quarter reception by Wallace, who made an incredible diving grab.

"Earl needs to help him there," Carroll said.

That was just one part of Seattle's defensive struggles in Pittsburgh.

The Seahawks didn't force a single punt in the first half, their only stop coming on fourth-and-goal at the 1 when Thomas tackled Rashard Mendenhall for no gain. That was about the only bright spot for a defense whose biggest strength last week became its undoing in Pittsburgh.

In Week 1, Seattle allowed San Francisco to convert only one of 12 third-down opportunities. In Pittsburgh, the Steelers converted 8 of 15.

As good as Roethlisberger was overall — and he was pretty impressive, completing 73.3 percent of his passes — he was incredible on third down, completing 9 of 13 attempts for 171 yards and eight first downs.

"We didn't heat it up like you need to to get to the quarterback," Carroll said. "We didn't cover them well enough, either. It was both ends of it."

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