The Browns’ defense might have spent the flight back to Cleveland licking its wounds between dozing off early Tuesday morning, but that was about all the time they had to dwell on what happened in Santa Clara.
The reason for such a short timeframe? Russell Wilson is coming to town.
The Seattle Seahawks’ star quarterback is in the midst of a blemish-free season, carrying a 12-0 TD-INT ratio and a league-best 126.3 passer rating into Week 6. He’s tied for seventh in the NFL in passing yards with 1,409, doing so while quarterbacking an offense that also ranks 12th in the NFL in rushing yards per game (122.6).
After playing against the likes of Jared Goff, Lamar Jackson and Jimmy Garoppolo in the last three weeks, it is without question Wilson is the best quarterback the Browns will have faced so far.
"Electric. Fun to watch,” Browns safety Damarious Randall said Wednesday. “Hell of a quarterback. He is talented. Very, very talented."
Talented, indeed. Wilson is leading the conversation in the NFL at this moment for Most Valuable Player, and he’s coming to face a Browns defense that surrendered 446 total yards, including 275 yards on the ground. Their No. 1 objective, stopping the run, was not achieved Monday night.
They’ll have to do so Sunday if they want to contain Wilson, who is as dangerous with his arm as he is with his feet, rushing for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 27 attempts. That’s the equivalent of a solid day from Nick Chubb, only it’s coming from a quarterback who has also displayed tremendous accuracy.
“I do not know Russell personally, but I would venture to say that he is very competitive,” head coach Freddie Kitchens said Wednesday. “He is probably a relentless worker in and out of the classroom, and then he has an exceptional skill set. He can throw the ball from any angle, throw it on the run and throw it from the from the pocket. Can avoid the rush is probably what separates him more than anything. His ability to escape and get out of pressure situations and still be able to look down the field and throw the ball because that is where all of their plays come.”
Check out photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Seahawks Sunday by team photographer Matt Starkey
Seattle’s offense starts with Wilson, of course, but carries the potential to hurt you in a variety of areas. Chris Carson exists as the physical lead back, and Rashaad Penny is a scat back with the potential to wreak havoc in space in both the run and pass games. Tyler Lockett has developed into a reliable, big-play target at receiver and runs in a group that lacks big names elsewhere, unless you’re a fan of the NFL Draft, in which the Seahawks plucked big-bodied receiver D.K. Metcalf (who is off to a strong start as a rookie).
The difference-making group for Seattle has been the tight ends, thanks to the rise of former Washington Husky Will Dissly and the return of Luke Willson. Dissly has nearly matched the production of Metcalf, catching 23 passes for 262 yards and four touchdowns in just five games.
The general takeaway: The Seahawks can find more than one avenue to offensive success. But it all starts with Wilson, who the Browns will have to do their best to contain Sunday if they hope to return to .500 at 3-3 after six games heading into the bye week.
“We have done it before. After every loss we have, we came back harder,” Chubb said. “That is what I expect this team to do every time. Hopefully, we can stack some wins, but I know when we do face adversity, we bounce back harder.”