P.J. Walker and the Cleveland Browns had a chance to seal the win late Sunday afternoon in Seattle.
Yet when faced with a short third down in the fourth quarter at Lumen Field, Walker did the one thing he couldn’t do.
Instead of playing it safe, Walker tried to force the ball into Amari Cooper on a quick slant near midfield on a third-and-3 just ahead of the two minute warning. While Cooper was surrounded by three Seahawks defenders when Walker made the throw, the ball never made it there. Instead, the ball was batted up off the helmet of safety Jamal Adams and intercepted by Julian Love some 20 yards down the field. That set up Seattle’s winning touchdown and gave it the 24-20 win.
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The Browns did not need to throw the ball there at all. They held a 20-17 lead at the time, and easily could have ran the ball to get the first down. It’s not like the clock was an issue, either, as it was going to stop after the play regardless for the two minute warning.
But they made the mistake, and the Seahawks capitalized. Geno Smith found Jaxon Smith-Njigba for a 9-yard touchdown with just 38 seconds left to put them up by four. The Seahawks then shut down the Browns one last time to seal the win, which pushed them to 5-2.
Smith finished 23-of-37 passing for 254 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Seahawks took a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter, too, after a short Jake Bobo run and a 12-yard touchdown catch from Tyler Lockett, who finished with 81 yards on eight catches. Kenneth Walker III had 66 rushing yards on eight carries, too.
P.J. Walker — who was starting in place of Deshaun Watson, who is still dealing with a shoulder injury — went 15-of-31 for 248 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in the loss. His first interception came early in the second quarter after he had led a drive into the red zone. Kareem Hunt had 55 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, and Cooper had 89 yards on six catches.
The Browns are now 4-3 this season. They'll host the Arizona Cardinals next week. It's unclear if Walker or Watson will start in that matchup.