If you’re the sort of person who is an eternal optimist, the first half of the Browns-Seahawks game in Cleveland was a defensive feast to be celebrated.
If you’re the sort of person who sees the glass as half empty (or the kind of person who appreciates offenses with even a little attractiveness to them), you would probably say that the two teams are setting the game of football back with their efforts. It is 3-0 Browns at the half, a lead that feels almost insurmountable given how poorly the Seahawks have done on offense.
Charlie Whitehurst is 6-of-14 for 47 yards passing and he fumbled on a sack by T.J. Ward. Justin Forsett and Leon Washington have run 10 times for 37 yards in place of Marshawn Lynch, who hurt his back during pregame warmups. The offensive line has allowed three sacks and, generally, the Seahawks have looked about as ugly on offense as any team has looked to this point in the season.
Whitehurst’s fumble set up the only Browns score of the half as Cleveland took over near midfield and moved the ball far enough to get Phil Dawson in position for a 53-yard field goal. For those who didn’t do all that well in math, that’s not a very long drive and it would have ended after three plays if not for a neutral zone infraction by the Seahawks on the Browns punt. Dawson’s field goal was nearly blocked by Red Bryant, who did block an earlier Dawson field goal try set up by a penalty.
Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor was flagged for a highly questionable roughing the passer penalty while sacking Colt McCoy. Chancellor looked like he made a fairly textbook tackle, but drew a 15-yarder for his hit. Former NFL officiating czar Mike Periera said it was a good call because he led with the head, but there was little about the hit that didn’t look like something we were taught to do in our Pop Warner days.
McCoy continued to raise doubts about his ability to move a team down the field with 87 yards on 9-of-18 passing in the first half. He’s missed several open targets and has almost no touch when he throws anything beyond the shortest of passes. Montario Hardesty had 43 yards on 15 carries and the Browns line gave up three sacks of their own in the first 30 minutes.
It’s a good day for anyone who took the under. Everybody else is probably better served with one of the NFL’s other Week Seven offerings.