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BRANDON GUSTAFSON

What They Said: Seahawks on late pick, last-minute win over Browns

Oct 29, 2023, 6:18 PM | Updated: Oct 30, 2023, 12:21 am

Seattle Seahawks Jamal Adams Pete Carroll...

Pete Carroll hugs Jamal Adams of the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 29, 2023. (Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

(Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

It took a last-minute touchdown drive after a late interception, but the Seattle Seahawks were able to come away with a 24-20 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday to move to 5-2 and into first place in the NFC West.

Recap: Seahawks win | Big Plays | Instant Reaction | Stats | Standings

Here’s a bit of what key Seahawks players as well as head coach Pete Carroll said about the win and some of the game’s biggest moments.

Love’s interception with help from Adams

With the Browns looking to put the game away late in the fourth quarter, Browns quarterback P.J. Walker stepped back to pass on thrd-and-3 with 2:04 to go.

Safety Jamal Adams was blitzing on the play, and while he didn’t get to Walker for the sack or get a hand on the ball, he did deflect the pass with his head. After the ball hung in the air for a few seconds, it landed in the arms of fellow safety Julian Love.

“Oh my gosh, that was in the air for forever. I was wondering initially how it got up there,” Love said.

Carroll, Adams and Love all credited defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt for the play call on that play, and Love credited Adams with setting that pick up.

“He was like a prime Ronaldo right there. That play was all credit to (Adams),” Love said about the header. “… If he’s not pressuring the way he is, that play never happens and who knows what at the end of the game. ”

“Thankfully Jamal Adams is coming in headfirst to get the ball,” he later said.

Added Carroll, “(Adams) figured out how to leave his feet and get contact on the ball … For Julian to come up and make a big play, we stole the opportunity away from them with that play.”

Jordyn Brooks, Boye Mafe emerging as keys to Seahawks’ defense

While Love said Adams’ play was like soccer star Ronaldo, Adams himself referenced another superstar of the other game called football: Messi. He later said he was just happy to help the team come away with the win.

“I was coming on a blitz … Had to make something happen. Obviously we needed to make something happen,” Adams said, later adding, “Just grateful, man … I just want to do whatever I can to help the team win.”

That interception set up the Seattle Seahawks’ offense with a short field, and Geno Smith and Co. promptly marched down the field and scored the go-ahead touchdown.

“It was in the air for a long time, I’m just glad we came down with it,” Adams said. “Switched the game, flipped the field and our offense went down and put a (heck) of a drive together to score.”

The Seattle Seahawks’ last TD drive

The Seahawks started the game great on offense, scoring 17 points on their first three drives. But over their next eight drives, Seattle had just 126 yards and two interceptions while failing to score.

That was until Smith and the offense got another chance with under 2 minutes to go.

After a few completions got Seattle in the red zone, Smith found Jaxon Smith-Njigba on a bubble screen, and the rookie got a big block and found the end zone.

“They blitzed the slot and Jaxon had an adjustment on his route that he did a great job of seeing that,” Smith said. “I was able to get the ball to him in space – he’s a really dynamic player in space … Big for (Smith-Njigba), big for the team. Big to pull that win out. ”

“JSN” said the Seahawks work on those 2-minute drills a lot, and that despite some earlier offensive struggles, he knew they’d come through.

He credited receiver DK Metcalf with the key block on his score.

“It’s his touchdown just as much as it’s mine,” Smith-Njigba said. “We have to click on all cylinders to be the best … and he preaches that.”

Carroll, who is known for stressing the importance of finishing games, was thrilled with how Smith and the offense got the job done late.

“We started so well. We looked so good starting out and we couldn’t just find the rhythm of it and that’s because they’re good. They’re really good,” he said of the Browns. “… The finishing execution that gets you the win, we take great pride in that.”

Smith credited receiver Tyler Lockett and veteran offensive lineman Jason Peters, who made his team debut Sunday after spending a prolonged period on the practice squad, for talking to the offense and getting their mentality right.

“It takes a ton of resiliency and a bunch of guys fighting to the end and believing,” Smith said.

“He figured out a way to get us started beautifully and we looked great, and then when it came down to it and we had to have it, he took us downfield and we score,” Carroll said of Smith’s day. “There’s some stuff in between … He’s got plays to play better … I love the way he’s playing and the way he’s leading us.”

Smith completed 23 of 37 passes for 254 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He gave his assessment of his performance after the game.

“Take away two plays, three plays and we’re talking about a really good game. But obviously you can’t eliminate those. Those things happen,” he said. “That’s something I’ve been trying to get better at … Our team is such a scrappy team, we find ways to win no matter what. If I can play up to my capabilities, up to my standard, who knows what we can be. Because we’re one of the best teams in football if we play right.”

Smith credited Cleveland’s defense, which entered the day 10th in points allowed and first in yards allowed, for making plays, especially on his two interceptions.

“They just made some great plays … This is the NFL and one of the best defenses in football … When you have those types of battles, it’s gonna be back and forth,” Smith said.

Seattle’s defense has played much better over the last few weeks, and the interception set up Smith’s go-ahead touchdown pass to JSN. He said it was big to reward the defense’s play with his last-minute touchdown.

“Our defense is playing lights-out football and we’ve got to continue to reward those guys because they’re really one of the better defenses in football, and we have a chance every week when we have that kind of defense,” he said. “We know once we get out to a lead and we score points, they’re gonna be able to pass rush … If we can be consistent and continue to put up points, we’re gonna be pretty good.”

Adams used the word “grit” to describe how Smith finished the game.

“Just grit. Perseverance. And just the finish. That’s what we preach over here. We’re never out of it until … the time clicks off,” Adams said.

Troubles with the screen

The Browns moved the ball well while being led by Walker, the team’s No. 2 quarterback, and the screen game was a big reason why.

Love said the Browns have maybe the best offensive line in football along with great skill players.

“We knew what was going to happen but they were able to execute. They had some new good looks out there, and that’s a good football team,” he said. “… That’s just a building block. It’s great to get a win after them executing so many screens the way they did. Now we have to learn and progress.”

When asked what the Seahawks saw in the Browns’ screen game, linebacker Jordyn Brooks was blunt.

“That’s the problem, we wasn’t seeing it. They did a good job running the screens today,” he said. “… That’s one area we have to get better at.”

Carroll was disappointed by Seattle’s inability to stop many of the Browns’ screens.

“They just out-executed us, so we’ve got to do a lot better there,” he said.

Seattle in first place

The Seahawks still got the win despite those screen issues, and they’re now in first place in the NFC West after the San Francisco 49ers lost Sunday to the Cincinnati Bengals.

“We understand what it means to win in this league and that’s the goal that we set, to win the NFC West … That was said to me early when I signed,” Love said. “… It’s a long season and it’s good to be sitting at the top right now, but there’s a lot of division games and a lot of games left.”

Added the head coach: “About halfway through (the season), we’re in pretty good shape. And we’re still growing … We just need to keep growing.”

More on the Seattle Seahawks

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Brock & Salk discuss Frank Clark’s return to Seahawks, his likely role
Seattle Seahawks’ Carroll: Why Clark is back, impact of rookies recently

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What They Said: Seahawks on late pick, last-minute win over Browns