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CLEVELAND — Ah, those bungling Browns.
Cleveland had so many chances to bounce back with a statement victory.
But First Energy Stadium was not the place for that on Sunday as the Browns stung themselves as much as Russell Wilson took full advantage to lead the Seahawks to a wild 32-28 victory.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield committed four turnovers – three interceptions and a lost fumble – to provide the biggest clue for how Cleveland (2-4) squandered a 20-6 lead.
Other hints: Cleveland was flagged 9 times for 83 yards. Wilson passed for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns without a pick. And Chris Carson’s 124-yard rushing game for the Seahawks (5-1) trumped the 122-yard outing that Nick Chubb posted for the Browns.
Yes, the more disciplined team won, even though the Seahawks incredibly had more penalties than the Browns. The Seahawks, though, didn’t compound matters by routinely coughing the ball up.
The result was sealed with 2:41 remaining when Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright intercepted a pass in the flat intended for Dontrell Hilliard, abruptly ending Cleveland’s last chance of a drive.
Three other things we learned from Seattle’s comeback win:
1. The Browns still can’t be trusted near the goal line: Cleveland blew an opportunity to potentially take a two-possession lead into halftime when, leading 20-12, Mayfield’s pass from the Seattle 10-yard line was deflected and intercepted by safety Tedric Thompson with 1:29 left in the second quarter. The Seahawks converted that turnover into an 88-yard TD drive that cut the lead to 2 points at intermission. It was even worse in the fourth quarter when Browns coach Freddie Kitchens called for two consecutive passes on third and fourth down from the 1. When a penalty on fourth provided a reprieve, Kitchens threw the challenge flag – the call on the field stood – just as Chubb crossed into the end zone. Then Chubb was stuffed on the play that counted. Yikes.
2. The injury rash inflicting the Seahawks offense claimed another victim: Tight end Will Dissly didn’t return after suffering an Achilles injury in the second quarter. A long-term setback would short-circuit the steady progress (23 catches, 4 TDs) that the converted defensive lineman has had as a reliable option for Wilson. On Sunday, it forced another adjustment for a unit playing without two injured starting offensive linemen, left tackle Duane Brown (biceps) and right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring).
3. Mayfield found another way to mimic Wilson: After Seattle’s quarterback turned a dropback into a 16-yard sprint up the middle for the first Seahawks touchdown, Mayfield returned the favor on the next Browns drive. He saw a gaping hole in the middle of the field as he scanned receiving options, then bolted to the end zone for a 10-yard TD. While this type of scrambling improvisation has become a signature for Wilson, it hasn’t been Mayfield’s M.O. The score on Sunday marked Mayfield’s first career rushing touchdown.