Seahawks Blog

Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

October 22, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Keys to the game: Seahawks at Browns

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Three keys to Seahawks victory

sea-mark-1-rgb.jpg 1. Step on the gas.
Seattle's offense started moving once it stopped huddling, and with Tarvaris Jackson unlikely to play because of a strained pectoral muscle, it's up to backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst to keep the offense moving. He led three scoring drives in the second half of Seattle's victory at New York two weeks ago, and he'll try and pick up where he left off if he starts this game as most expect.

sea-mark-1-rgb.jpg 2. Stop the run.
That has been the strength of Seattle's defense this season, allowing a league-low 3.1 yards per carry. The Browns average 81.6 yards rushing, fewer than every team but the Jets and Titans, and if Cleveland can't establish the run that puts the onus on an overworked Browns passing game. The Browns have attempted 106 passes in the past two games, losing both, and they haven't scored a rushing touchdown the past three games.

sea-mark-1-rgb.jpg 3. Run, don't walk.
The Seahawks success in the no huddle shouldn't override the fact that Seattle's ground game has been gaining traction. Seattle rushed for a season-high 145 yards two weeks ago. Marshawn Lynch gained 98 of those yards, his most in any regular-season start for Seattle. The Browns defense has yet to hold an opponent to fewer than 100 yards rushing in any game this season.

Three keys to Browns victory

Browns mascot 50.jpg 1. Pressure the passer.
Seattle has given up 20 sacks this season, second-most in the league. "I'm most displeased about getting the quarterback sacked as much as we have," said Tom Cable, Seattle's offensive line coach. "And it seems to come in spurts." With Whitehurst making his first start this season, there are going to be differences in the cadence and calls, which could help kickstart a Browns pass rush that has had as many as five sacks in only one game this season.

Browns mascot 50.jpg 2. Protect the ball.
Turnovers are what Seattle coach Pete Carroll considers the most important factor in a football game, and the Browns have not committed more than one turnover in any single game this season. The Seahawks forced five turnovers their last game at New York after forcing just two in the first four games combined. Cleveland's best bet is to turn this game into a slog, which means holding onto the ball at all costs.

Browns mascot 50.jpg 3. Return to sender.
The game features two of the games most explosive returners in Seattle's Leon Washington and Cleveland's Josh Cribbs. Each ranks in the top 10 in yards per punt return. The Browns have scored more than 20 points only once this season, which means they could use all the scoring help they can get, and Cribbs is the best bet to provide some extra punch.

Matchup microscope

Seahawks DE Chris Clemons vs. Browns LT Joe Thomas.
Thomas is a cornerstone of Cleveland's offense, a player the Browns have already locked up to a long-term extension. Clemons is a quick-twitch pass rusher who has shown he can get an offense out of rhythm almost entirely on his own. He has four sacks in the past four games and a total of 15 in his 21 regular-season starts for the Seahawks.

Series history

The Seahawks are 2-1 against Cleveland since the franchise was reactivated in 1999. They have not played Cleveland since 2007 when Seattle lost in overtime. Seattle is 1-3 coming out of its bye over the previous four seasons, and last year's victory at Chicago was the Seahawks' only win in that time.

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" ... it seems to come in spurts." Of course it does.  Posted on October 22, 2011 at 12:22 PM by nmhawk. Jump to comment
Citing what the Seahawks have done after the bye over the past four years is not relevant. Seahawks are undefeated after the bye under Coach Carroll.  Posted on October 22, 2011 at 10:30 AM by tompage. Jump to comment

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